The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961-1989

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Harper Collins, 2006 - History - 486 pages
4 Reviews

On the morning of August 13, 1961, the residents of East Berlin found themselves cut off from family, friends and jobs in the West by a tangle of barbed wire that ruthlessly cut a city of four million in two. Within days the barbed-wire entanglement would undergo an extraordinary metamorphosis: it became an imposing 103-mile-long wall guarded by three hundred watchtowers. A physical manifestation of the struggle between Soviet Communism and American capitalism—totalitarianism and freedom—that would stand for nearly thirty years, the Berlin Wall was the high-risk fault line between East and West on which rested the fate of all humanity. Many brave people risked their lives to overcome this lethal barrier, and some paid the ultimate price.

In this captivating work, sure to be the definitive history on the subject, Frederick Taylor weaves together official history, archival materials and personal accounts to tell the complete story of the Wall's rise and fall, from the postwar political tensions that created a divided Berlin to the internal and external pressures that led to the Wall's demise. In addition, he explores the geopolitical ramifications as well as the impact the wall had on ordinary lives that is still felt today. For the first time the entire world faced the threat of imminent nuclear apocalypse, a fear that would be eased only when the very people the Wall had been built to imprison breached it on the historic night of November 9, 1989.

Gripping and authoritative, The Berlin Wall is the first comprehensive account of a divided city and its people in a time when the world seemed to stand permanently on the edge of destruction.

 

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User Review  - JesperCFS2 - LibraryThing

I really enjoyed reading this book. Taylor has a good 'flow' in his account and just the right dose - in my humble opinion - of personal remarks. If I had had the time I would have read it ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bke - LibraryThing

Not only covering the diplomatic and political background of the Wall, the author also interleaves personal stories of ordinary Berliners, creating dynamic history of what was an ugly scar on a city I ... Read full review

Contents

Marsh Town
3
Reds
18
It Must look Democratic
30
Blockade
50
Dissolve the People and Elect Another
65
The Crown Princes
91
Wag the Dog
112
Operation Rose
131
Wall Games
237
High Noon in the Friedrichstrasse
269
Breakouts
290
Ich Bin ein Berliner
334
The Surreal Cage
355
Endgame
380
The Wall Came Tumbling Down
404
The Theft of Hope
429

WIRE
167
Prisoners
186
That Bastard from Berlin
202
Notes
451
Bibliography
469
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About the author (2006)

Frederick Taylor studied history and modern languages at Oxford University and Sussex University. A Volkswagen Studentship award enabled him to research and travel widely in both parts of divided Germany at the height of the Cold War. Taylor is the author of Dresden and has edited and translated a number of works from German, including The Goebbels Diaries, 1939-1941. He is married with three children and lives in Cornwall, England.

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