The Berlin Wall by Frederick Taylor
A World Divided, 1961-1989

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Synopsis

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.

 

About Frederick Taylor

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Frederick Taylor studied history and modern languages at Oxford and did postgraduate work at Sussex University. He edited and translated the The Goebbels Diaries,and is the author of the bestsellers Dresden and The Berlin Wall.
 
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 514 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Berlin Wall

Kirkus Reviews

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A history of "a uniquely squalid, violent—and, as we now know, ultimately futile—episode in the post-war world."

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of The Berlin Wall: A World Divi...

Publishers Weekly

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Walls, like those of Hadrian and Maginot, do not have a good reputation, and Taylor (Dresden ) has written a superb narrative of the rise and fall of the monstrou

Apr 09 2007 | Read Full Review of The Berlin Wall: A World Divi...

The New York Times

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After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the government of the soon-to-be-former German Democratic Republic pulled off a breathtakingly cynical stunt.

Jun 06 2007 | Read Full Review of The Berlin Wall: A World Divi...

The Guardian

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The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989 by Frederick Taylor Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop Frederick Taylor follows the wa...

Nov 15 2009 | Read Full Review of The Berlin Wall: A World Divi...

Publishers Weekly

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Walls, too, are more than merely bricks and mortar (or, in the 100-mile-long Berlin version's case, anti-vehicle crash obstacles, unclimbable barriers, barbed-wire fences, self-activating searchlights and heavily armed border guards), and one of Taylor's major themes is the Berlin Wall's signific...

Apr 09 2007 | Read Full Review of The Berlin Wall: A World Divi...

BC Books

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Frederick Taylor presents a well-researched and authoritative, but highly readable history of a Cold War icon.

Oct 16 2007 | Read Full Review of The Berlin Wall: A World Divi...

BC Books

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It might have been tempting for Taylor to end with jubilant Berliners dancing on territory where only hours earlier they would have risked being shot.

Oct 16 2007 | Read Full Review of The Berlin Wall: A World Divi...

BC Books

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Nearly two decades since its demise, the Berlin Wall has largely faded from our thoughts.

Oct 16 2007 | Read Full Review of The Berlin Wall: A World Divi...

Book Reporter

In April 1983 my wife and I stood silently on an observation platform at the edge of West Berlin and looked across at the Berlin Wall with its watchtowers, searchlight installations and barbed wire.

Dec 22 2010 | Read Full Review of The Berlin Wall: A World Divi...

Huffington Post

Weiss and Tatiana's project, in one respect, is really one and the same: to pin down the history of the city before it emerges into full-blown chaos.

Dec 30 2011 | Read Full Review of The Berlin Wall: A World Divi...

AARP

The buzz words—Berlin access crisis, Checkpoint Charlie, the Cold War, the Berlin Wall—don't carry the zing they used to.

| Read Full Review of The Berlin Wall: A World Divi...

Spectator Book Club

But the far bigger story, missed often because it is so glaringly obvious, not the one we want to be told, and frankly rather boring, is that the new Germany has been, and is, an astonishing success.

Dec 05 2009 | Read Full Review of The Berlin Wall: A World Divi...

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