The appearance of a hastily constructed barbed wire entanglement through the heart of Berlin during the night of 12-13 August 1961 was both dramatic and unexpected. Within days, it had started to metamorphose into a structure that would come to symbolise the brutal insanity of the Cold War: the Berlin Wall. A city of almost four million was cut ruthlessly in two, unleashing a potentially catastrophic East-West crisis and plunging the entire world for the first time into the fear of imminent missile-borne apocalypse. This threat would vanish only when the very people the Wall had been built to imprison breached it on the historic night of 9 November 1989. The Berlin Wall is the definitive account of a divided city and its people.
©2009 Frederick Taylor (P)2011 Audible Ltd
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I remember where I was when I heard The Wall was coming down. Do you? It was unbelievable - I still get goose-bumps when I see the footage; David Hasselhoff in the light-bulb jacket excluded.
Even more unbelievable then The Wall coming down, was it going up at all in the first place!!! I was born about 10 years later, and as a child I never really gave it any thought. I knew there was “a wall in Germany” but that was about it. When I was a teenager and learned it was built in 1961 I was astounded! That’s “modern times” I thought to myself, and how do you split up a major city with roads, and telephone lines, and trains, and a connected infrastructure!!! It’s so preposterous, yet it happened!!
And of course, who can forget Reagan’s famous commanding speech: TEAR. DOWN. THIS. WALL. Almost 25 years later it’s still powerful!
I am a bit disappointed with this book because I found it rather complicated to follow. I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but it goes into so much “political chess” that I lost track of who was who, who worked in what government department, what agency was in charge of what... and the alphabet soup of titles!!!!... forget it! I am more interested in things like the escapes attempts and how they were orchestrated, the culture and the climate of the city when The Wall was up and what daily life was like in the GDR from the perspective of the citizens, not the politicians.
The first third of the book was all about the history of Germany - interesting, but I could have skipped all of that. Overall I think I would have preferred something a little more concise; the book was too heavy on names and dates for me. If you want detail, you’ll love this book but I don’t need to know that this happened on the morning of July 3 1942 and that happened on June 8 1959 and this happened on January 6 1960 etc etc etc I am not going to remember ANY of those dates! I want a rundown of what happened, not the nitty-gritty of the exact moment in time a document was signed. Sure it’s all important information, but for me it’s too much detail.
I’m roughly 80% done with this book, and then I am going to read “Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall” by Anna Funder when I am done. I think it will give me a little more of what I am looking for... I hope!
History worth knowing
It's a work of non-fiction. The question is inappropriate.
No. His attempts to apply fake (and poorly executed) English, German and Russian accents to the quoted passages detracted mightily from the book. It's a piece of non-fiction, not a community theater stage play.
It's a work of non-fiction. This question is inappropriate.
The author has done an excellent job of telling the story of the Berlin Wall, providing considerable background that I was unaware of, even though I was born in Berlin in 1954. I expected the book to start in 1960 or thereabouts, but to my surprise it started long before then. The historical context added greatly to the story. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know about Berlin, its politics, WW2, the Cold War, East Germany's many deceptions, and the contributions of key historical figures. Kudos to Mr. Taylor ... and thanks!
I found this a very interesting and well narrated history of the Berlin Wall which did a good job of capturing the state of the world at the time and the global significance of Berlin. I did feel however that the book could have been made a bit tighter by not repeating quite as many stories of escapes which became slightly less interesting as more and more were discussed.
A worthy listen.
A big story
It covered all facets and not just personal or diplomatic but intertwined the stories to give a really complete future. So you learned about the effect of the Wall on people like many histories but also how it was planned and then executed At first I wasn't sure about the narrator, but as I went along his narration really helped the story along.
The compelling stupidity about the Cold War.
It didn't really have a "character".
He helps focus the events.
No, it was all very sad.
"Lots of content skillfully weaved together."
I thought this audiobook was amazing. I loved it. The book gives a lots of detail about the build up the wall's being built - Ulbricht's rise to power and so on. I also appreciated the many personal storys - Hagen Koch and Conrad Schumann for example.
I do, however, agree with the previous reviewer of this title that the accents get on your nerves a bit, especially in the beginning, but, actually, as the book went on, I began to accept them, appreciate them even.
Highly reccommended, by me anyway.
"Ultimately a little disapointing......"
Having now read and listened to this book I would make the following observations:
1. It is probably a bit longer than it needs/should be and therefore feels overlong and laborious at times
2. It is frequently ruined by the comical German, Russian and American accents. Unnecessary and very irritating
The Berlin wall is one of the most significant political and social man-made structures of the last century and deserves a book that tells it's tale with more passion and pace
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