The Year that Changed the World by Michael Meyer
The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall

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Synopsis

ON THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL, MICHAEL MEYER PROVIDES A RIVETING EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF THE COLLAPSE OF COMMUNISM IN EASTERN EUROPE THAT BRILLIANTLY REWRITES OUR CONVENTIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THE COLD WAR CAME TO AN END AND HOLDS IMPORTANT LESSONS FOR AMERICA'S CURRENT GEOPOLITICAL CHALLENGES.

" Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" President Ronald Reagan's famous exhortation when visiting Berlin in 1987 has long been widely cited as the clarion call that brought the Cold War to an end. The United States won, so this version of history goes, because Ronald Reagan stood firm against the USSR; American resoluteness brought the evil empire to its knees.

Michael Meyer, who was there at the time as a Newsweek bureau chief, begs to differ.

In this extraordinarily compelling account of the revolutions that roiled Eastern Europe in 1989, he shows that American intransigence was only one of many factors that provoked world-shaking change. Meyer draws together breathtakingly vivid, on-the-ground accounts of the rise of the Solidarity movement in Poland, the stealth opening of the Hungarian border, the Velvet Revolution in Prague and the collapse of the infamous wall in Berlin. But the most important events, Meyer contends, occurred secretly, in the heroic stands taken by individuals in the thick of the struggle, leaders such as poet and playwright Vaclav Havel in Prague; the Baltic shipwright Lech Walesa; the quietly determined reform prime minister in Budapest, Miklos Nemeth; and the man who privately realized that his empire was already lost, and decided -- with courage and intelligence -- to let it go in peace,Soviet general secretary of the communist party, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Reporting for Newsweek from the frontlines in Eastern Europe, Meyer spoke to these players and countless others. Alongside their deliberate interventions were also the happenstance and human error of history that are always present when events accelerate to breakneck speed. Meyer captures these heady days in all of their rich drama and unpredictability. In doing so he provides not just a thrilling chronicle of the most important year of the twentieth century but also a crucial refutation of American political mythology and a triumphal misunderstanding of history that seduced the United States into many of the intractable conflicts it faces today. The Year That Changed the World will change not only how we see the past, but also our understanding of America's future.
 

About Michael Meyer

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Mike Meyer recently retired from a 40-year career as a professor of writing, amassing numerous teaching awards along the way from both his students and his colleagues. Many years ago, he was a college student in Germany. He has since visited Munich numerous times. He also was a professor at the University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East. In addition, he was a writing professor at the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix campus. The locales he writes about in both COVERT DREAMS and DEADLY EYES are real. He lives in the Southern California wine country with his wife, Kitty, and their two other cats.You can follow Mike on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelMeyersWritingLifeYou can listen to Mike read the first chapter of each of his books, watch trailers of each of his books, and listen to Mike talk about a wide variety of topics related to the characters, locales, and plots of his books on his Pinterest site:http://pinterest.com/temmike/#
 
Published September 3, 2009 by Scribner. 276 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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A journalist then posted to Germany and Central Europe delivers a coolheaded reconsideration of the revolutionary fervor that tore down the Iron Curtain in 1989.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Year that Changed the Wor...

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