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 split 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 that stood 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.
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.
Rarely does history wind up its dramas so neatly, with the same actor reciting both prologue and epilogue, and Frederick Taylor quite rightly savors the coincidence in The Berlin Wall, his gripping, impassioned history of the cold war s most malevolent symbol … Mr. Taylor, the author of Dresden, does a great service in carefully separating myth from reality, symbol from substance as he traces the history of the wall from its beginnings in August 1961 as a hastily thrown-down barbed-wire barrier to its final form: 30 miles of concrete, with 300 watchtowers manned by soldiers with orders to shoot to kill.