“You couldn’t be more alone”

Non-Fiction, Politics / Economics, Social Studies / Cultural Studies

In their election districts, they are kings. In Berlin though, they are often just benchwarmers of little renown. And yet, the 709 members of the Bundestag, Germany’s Federal Parliament, constitute the backbone of our democracy.
Who are these 221 women and 488 men? How do they work? How do they form their opinions? How do they manage the balancing act between their districts, where most of their families live, and Berlin, the metropolis of loneliness and temptations? How are they coping with the increasing aggression in the world? How do they work through the daily pressures? How do they balance party loyalty with freedom of conscience? How do the female representatives deal with the atmosphere of sexualized masculine dominance?
Peter Dausend and Horand Knaup have documented political developments for decades now. The trust that they have established with the representatives is the basis for the conversations behind this book, the first large-scale reportage on the inner workings of our power structure. Several dozen politicians, some under the condition of anonymity, provide deep insights into their daily lives, as well as the constraints, fears and secrets that they live with.


  • The dark side of power: pressure, fear, addiction, hatred - loneliness
  • The first intimate portrait of the people who determine our policies
  • For the first time ever, several dozen representatives, staff members and relatives have opened up about their experiences in lengthy interviews, providing very personal accounts about their lives in the political sphere
Peter Dausend

Peter Dausend, born in Saarbrücken in 1963, has worked as the capital city correspondent and columnist for the weekly newspaper Die Zeit since 2008. Prior to this position, he worked for Die Welt and was an Arthur F. Burns Fellow at the Anchorage Daily News in Anchorage, Alaska.

Horand Knaup

Horand Knaup, born in 1959, moved to Bonn in 1995 for the Badische Zeitung. In 1998, he took a new position with Spiegel and worked for many years as a writer in the capital office. For five years, he was a Spiegel Africa correspondent based out of Nairobi. Since 2017, he has worked as a freelance journalist and author.

“You couldn’t be more alone”

In their election districts, they are kings. In Berlin though, they are often just benchwarmers of little renown. And yet, the 709 members of the Bundestag, Germany’s Federal Parliament, constitute the backbone of our democracy.
Who are these 221 women and 488 men? How do they work? How do they form their opinions? How do they manage the balancing act between their districts, where most of their families live, and Berlin, the metropolis of loneliness and temptations? How are they coping with the increasing aggression in the world? How do they work through the daily pressures? How do they balance party loyalty with freedom of conscience? How do the female representatives deal with the atmosphere of sexualized masculine dominance?
Peter Dausend and Horand Knaup have documented political developments for decades now. The trust that they have established with the representatives is the basis for the conversations behind this book, the first large-scale reportage on the inner workings of our power structure. Several dozen politicians, some under the condition of anonymity, provide deep insights into their daily lives, as well as the constraints, fears and secrets that they live with.


  • The dark side of power: pressure, fear, addiction, hatred - loneliness
  • The first intimate portrait of the people who determine our policies
  • For the first time ever, several dozen representatives, staff members and relatives have opened up about their experiences in lengthy interviews, providing very personal accounts about their lives in the political sphere
Bibliographic Data
464 pages, ISBN: 978-3-423-28249-9
First published 2020