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Publisher's Summary

A former Wall Street Journal editor and the current president and CEO of the Atlantic Council, Frederick Kempe draws on recently released documents and personal interviews to re-create the powder keg that was 1961 Berlin. In Cold War Berlin, the United States and the Soviet Union stand nose to nose, with the possibility of nuclear war just one misstep away.

©2011 Frederick Kempe (P)2011 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

I am scared in retrospect

I was living in Berlin as an American military dependent during the time period that this book examines. I was horrified to learn how close we came, those of us living in West Berlin and going about our daily lives, to being vaporized by the Russians. I must have sensed the anxiety because I remember vividly asking my father on a regular basis "If we went to war with the Russians, who would win?" I remember the question. I do not remember the answer. My father was the commanding officer of AFN Berlin, the American Forces Network radio station at the time. We had no TV. We only had the radio. I remember all the circumstances described in the book. I was largely unaware of the context. Indeed, I was in East Berlin on a "tour" with my sister and a Swedish cousin who was visiting, one week before the wall went up. I was actually in Sweden visiting relatives with my parents the day the wall went up on August 13, 1961. I remember vividly the trek thru the Eastern Germany and the Checkpoint like a Hitchcock movie. We hurried back to West Berlin as my two younger brothers were still in the city in the care of a babysitter. My father is no longer alive to discuss these events with me so I only have the memories of the time and the conversations we had about those events. I found this book to be so insightful albeit terrifying. It is so frightening to learn after the fact how close to the front line we were living (for 5 years!) unaware of the danger we were in. Berlin, its charm and its drama had such an effect on all of the Americans that lived through those days that we have "found" each other and formed a group, a collective it you will. The experience defines us like no other experience has. Mr. Kempe did an outstanding job bringing those days to life again.... in all their triumph and fear. Reading the book I felt in a way that family secrets were being revealed. Enjoyed this book immensely and have recommended it hi

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Eye opening

What did you love best about Berlin 1961?

I was a young child during this time, and didn't know about this. I had heard bits and pieces but nothing as detailed as this.

What did you like best about this story?

The history facts.

Have you listened to any of Paul Hecht’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, was just amazed that I had never heard the history stated in this way

Any additional comments?

No

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Practical information we can use today

Would you consider the audio edition of Berlin 1961 to be better than the print version?

They are both good.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Berlin 1961?

Everything was memorable.

Have you listened to any of Paul Hecht’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. This compares well with his other performances. I wish Paul Hecht could read all books.

If you could rename Berlin 1961, what would you call it?

I wouldn't rename this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • philip
  • bronx, NY, United States
  • 04-06-17

First rate history of often overlooked crisis

I give this book a 5 because it sustained an exciting narrative until the final scene. After going over every detail of the building cris over several months the author skips through the climatic showdown rather breezily. The epilogue reveals the authors neocon preferences for how Kennedy should have handled Berlin. Not a neocon myself but respect his points, worthy of debate. Highly recommend this book.

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  • Story

Important history well told

Any additional comments?

Easy to follow and well narrated. A story full of interesting insight with just enough relevant detail to fill up the canvas. A gut-wrenching tale of how close we came to nuclear war. A war prevented in spite of the foibles of men, skewed perceptions of the other, and the chance of history. The wall was an afterthought that came about due to its own momentum. A band-aid that held throughout the Cold War.

  • Overall
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  • Story

Superb in every way

A very well written, and equally well read, telling of the behind-the-scenes facts during a dangerously fascinating time in world history

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  • Yechiam
  • WASHINGTON, DC, US
  • 02-13-17

A good history lesson.

Important reading at present when the world is in the hands of lunatics. Audible is pure pleasure

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. R. D. Cox
  • 03-22-16

the truth hurts<br />

the book interspersed the dry timeline of political events with the emotional human side well