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A narrative account of the Berlin Wall's demise in 1989. Through first-person interviews, in The Wall people recount how East and West confronted each other for nearly 30 years.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780750930550
ISBN-10: 0750930551
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 127mm x 10mm)
Pages: 416
Imprint: Sutton Publishing Ltd
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Publish Date: 18-Jul-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » This book, sub-titled 'The People's Story', explores the multiple meanings of the Berlin Wall, and its significance for those whose lives were immediately affected by its erection. In some detail, the author also examines the internal politics which formed the context to the Wall's creation, maintenance and eventual destruction. What is most pleasing about the author's approach to the topic is that he does not attempt to harmonise the various narratives. His epigraph is taken from Herman Hesse's Demian, and refers to 'a mixture of nonsense and chaos, madness and dreams'. Unlike many commentators on the collapse of the Soviet ideology, Hilton tries to understand what that system offered to those who supported it. The very real bravery and optimism of the East Germans who approved of the Wall, because they felt it provided the opportunity to create a society uncontaminated by capitalist exploitation of labour, is acknowledged and transmitted in the pages of this book. Yet the painful separation of families, the deaths of the aspiring escapees, and the disillusionment of those who came to understand their virtual imprisonment and isolation from the world, is chronicled with equal fairness. Proceeding at a leisurely pace, The Wall begins with an analysis of the situation in Germany, and specifically of Berlin, after World War II. It focuses, in particular, on the aims of the American, British, French and Soviet occupiers of that city, its division into Four Zones and the escalating tension which culminated in Kennedy's confrontation with Khrushchev. The Vienna Summit of 1961 signalled the imminence of armed conflict which might well have involved the use of nuclear weapons. In Berlin, people began to move from East to West at a rate of several thousand a week. In August, heightened activity around the Brandenburg Gate pointed to the tightening of the border. The Wall went up and there it remained until Gorbachev, virtually overnight, demolished the entire edifice of state control and gestured for the future to shape itself. Hilton encompasses the entire aberration of The Wall in this substantial volume. Recommended. (Kirkus UK)

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