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When the Wall Came Down: The Berlin Wall and the Fall of Communism (New York Times)by Serge Schmemann
Synopses & Reviews
Now in paperback, current events get in-depth treatment in this exciting series produced in collaboration with the New York Times. First-person narratives by the world-renowned newspaper's award-winning journalists tell the stories behind the headlines.
This compelling account carries readers back to Berlin, Germany, in 1989, on the night that the Berlin Wall fell. From the moment his East German assistant bursts into his West Berlin office to tell him that the wall is open, Serge Schmemann is in the thick of things, taking readers along with him as he witnesses the celebration when the wall is opened and the dramatic changes that follow. From this unique perspective, readers learn about the Berlin Wall, its construction, and what it symbolized to the world.
"This compelling account of the Berlin Wall's demise and the subsequent fall of the Eastern Bloc launches a new line of New York Times books, and is written by the chief correspondent who covered these events. Schmemann instantly draws in readers by opening on November 9, 1989 (the day the wall fell). The immediacy of his first-person narrative, combined with carefully chosen details, bring to life the events leading up to the building of the wall in 1961 and its destruction 28 years later. Some of the most revealing details come from Schmemann's own experience, such as how his American passport allowed him to cross through Checkpoint Charlie while East Germans were legally (and physically) prohibited from entering West Germany, or how in 1992 when the files of East Germany's secret police were opened, one of the author's West Berlin sources was revealed as a Soviet spy. Readers will come away with a clear understanding of how WWII's Yalta Agreement and the cold war contributed to East Berlin erecting the wall and how Gorbachev's reforms acted as a catalyst for East Germans to bring the wall down. Archival and often poignant photographs from the Times supplement the text, along with a concluding section with Times articles (including the role East German teens played in the protests), maps of Europe's changing borders, a timeline and a list of further reading. This standout debut should captivate readers' interest in one of the most climactic events of the late 20th century. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
This is history as only an eyewitness can tell it. In 1989, veteran journalist Serge Schmemann was in his hotel room when his assistant from East Germany burst in with some incredible news: the Berlin Wall was open. Serge jumped into the first cab he could find and raced to the wall in time to witness one of the great moments of European history.
Including articles from the archives of The New York Times, this gripping narrative tells the whole story, from the division of Germany after World War II, to life in the Communist East, to the massive protests that brought an end to the Eastern Bloc, and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
About the Author
Serge Schmemann served as Bonn bureau chief for The New York Times from 1987 to 1991 and won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the reunification of Germany. Mr. Schmemann currently lives in Paris, France, where he is editorial page editor for The International Herald Tribune.
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