Synopses & Reviews
'Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!' This declamation by president Ronald Reagan when visiting Berlin in 1987 is widely cited as the clarion call that brought the Cold War to an end, The West had won, so this version of events goes, because the West had stood firm. American and westen European resoluteness had brought an evil empire to its knees.
Michael Meyer, in this extraordinarily compelling account of the revolutions that roiled Eastern Europe in 1989, begs to differ. Drawing together breathtakingly vivid, on the ground accounts of the rise of Solidarity in Poland, the stealth opening of the Hungarian border, the Velvet Revolution in Prague, and the collapse of the infamous wall in Berlin, Meyer shows that western intransigence was only one of the many factors that provoked such world-shaking change.
More important, Meyer contends, were the stands taken by individuals in the thick of the struggle, leaders such as poet and playwright Vaclav Havel in Prague, Lech Walesa, the quietl determined reform prime minister inBudapest Miklos Nemeth, and the manwho realized his empire was already lost and decided, with courageand intelligence, t let it goin peace, Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.
Michael Meyer captures these heady days in all their rich drama and unpredictability. In doing so he provides not just a thrilling chronicle of perhaps the most important year of the 20th century but also a crucial refutation of American mythology and a misunderstanding of history that was deliberately eployed to lead the United States into some of the intractable conflicts it faces today.
A riveting, eyewitness account of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War from the Newsweek Bureau Chief in that region at the time.
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, many still believe it was the words of President Ronald Regan, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!,” that brought the Cold War to an end. Michael Meyer disagrees, and in this extraordinarily compelling account, explains why.
Drawing together breathtakingly vivid, on-the-ground accounts of the rise of Solidarity in Poland, the stealth opening of the Hungarian border, the Velvet Revolution in Prague, and the collapse of the infamous wall in Berlin, Meyer shows how American intransigence contributed little to achieving such world-shaking change. In his reporting from the frontlines of the revolution in Eastern Europe between 1988 and 1992, he interviewed a wide range of local leaders, including Václav Havel and Lech Walesa. Meyer’s descriptions of the way their brave stands were decisive in bringing democracy to Eastern Europe provide a crucial refutation of a misunderstanding of history that has been deliberately employed to help push the United States into the intractable conflicts it faces today.
About the Author
Michael Meyerandnbsp;is currently andnbsp;Director of Communications for the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Between 1988 and 1992, he was andlt;iandgt;Newsweekandlt;/iandgt;'s Bureau Chief for andlt;ST1:COUNTRY-REGIONandgt;Germanyandlt;/ST1:COUNTRY-REGIONandgt;, Central Europe and the Balkans, writing more than twenty cover stories on the break-up of communist andlt;st1:placeandgt;Europeandlt;/ST1:PLACEandgt; and German unification. He is the winner of two Overseas Press Club Awards andandnbsp;appears regularly as a commentator for MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, C-Span, NPR and other broadcast network. He previously worked at the andlt;iandgt;Washington Postandlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;Congressional Quarterlyandlt;/iandgt;. He is the author of the andlt;iandgt;Alexander Complexandlt;/iandgt; (Times Books, 1989), an examination of the psychology of American empire builders.andnbsp; He lives in New York City.