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.
"Makes a dark chapter "enjoyable""
A hundred years ago, many theorists believed - just as they did at the beginning of our 21st century - that the world had reached a state of economic perfection, a never-before-seen human interdependence that would lead to universal growth and prosperity. Then, as now, the German mark was one of the most trusted currencies in the world. Yet the early years of the Weimar Republic in Germany witnessed the most calamitous meltdown of a developed economy in modern times.
"Highly recommended story of German hyperinflation"
In Exorcising Hitler, Frederick Taylor tells the story of Germany's year zero and what came after. Despite almost total destruction, a combination of conservatism, enterprise and pragmatism in relation to former Nazis enabled the economic miracle of the 1950s. And we see how it was only when the '60s generation (the children of the Nazi era) began to question their parents with increasing violence that Germany began to awake from its sleep cure.
"Into a conquered nation"
On the 75th anniversary of the Coventry bombing, acclaimed historian Frederick Taylor brilliantly details this momentous act and analyzes its impact on World War II and the moral quandaries it still engenders about the nature of warfare.
At 9.51pm on Tuesday, 13 February 1945, Dresden's air-raid sirens sounded as they had done many times in the previous five years - until then most always a false alarm. No searchlights probed the skies above the unprotected target city; the guns had mostly been moved East to counter the Russian advance. By the next morning, 796 RAF Lancasters and 311 USAAF Flying Fortresses had dropped more than 4,500 tons of high explosives and incendiary devices.
"Gripping and balanced account of Dresden raids"