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The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465064949, Hardcover)
On the night of November 9, 1989, massive crowds surged toward the Berlin Wall, drawn by an announcement that caught the world by surprise: East Germans could now move freely to the West. The Wallinfamous symbol of divided Cold War Europeseemed to be falling. But the opening of the gates that night was not planned by the East German ruling regimenor was it the result of a bargain between either Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
It was an accident.
In The Collapse, prize-winning historian Mary Elise Sarotte reveals how a perfect storm of decisions made by daring underground revolutionaries, disgruntled Stasi officers, and dictatorial party bosses sparked an unexpected series of events culminating in the chaotic fall of the Wall. With a novelist’s eye for character and detail, she brings to vivid life a story that sweeps across Budapest, Prague, Dresden, and Leipzig and up to the armed checkpoints in Berlin.
We meet the revolutionaries Roland Jahn, Aram Radomski, and Siggi Schefke, risking it all to smuggle the truth across the Iron Curtain; the hapless Politburo member Günter Schabowski, mistakenly suggesting that the Wall is open to a press conference full of foreign journalists, including NBC’s Tom Brokaw; and Stasi officer Harald Jäger, holding the fort at the crucial border crossing that night. Soon, Brokaw starts broadcasting live from Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, where the crowds are exulting in the euphoria of newfound freedomand the dictators are plotting to restore control.
Drawing on new archival sources and dozens of interviews, The Collapse offers the definitive account of the night that brought down the Berlin Wall.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:38 -0400)
"In The Collapse historian Mary Elise Sarotte shows that the opening of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, was not, as is commonly believed, the East German government's deliberate concession to outside influence. It was an accident. A carelessly worded memo written by mid-level bureaucrats, a bumbling press conference given by an inept member of the East German Politburo, the negligence of government leaders, the bravery of ordinary people in East and West Berlin--these combined to bring about the end of nearly forty years of oppression, fear, and enmity in divided Berlin. Drawing on evidence from archives in multiple countries and languages, along with dozens of interviews with key actors, The Collapse is the definitive account of the event that brought down the East German Politburo and came to represent the final collapse of the Cold War order"--
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