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Checkpoint Charlie: The Cold War, the Berlin Wall and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth

Iain MacGregor

8 Reviews

Rated 0

European history

Published to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, CHECKPOINT CHARLIE is a vivid and poignant exploration of the history surrounding the Berlin Wall through the lens of interwoven first-person experiences.

'With a gripping narrative and vivid interviews with those on all sides whose lives were directly affected by that grim symbol of the East-West divide that poisoned Europe for almost half a century, [MacGregor] has made an important contribution to the history of our times' Jonathan Dimbleby

'Captures brilliantly and comprehensively both the danger and exhilaration that I and other reporters, soldiers, and people experienced intersecting with the wall - a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the Europe we have inherited' Jon Snow

A powerful, fascinating, and ground-breaking history of Checkpoint Charlie, the legendary and most important military gate on the border of East and West Berlin where the United States and her allies confronted the USSR during the Cold War.

As the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall approaches in 2019, Iain MacGregor captures the mistrust, oppression, paranoia, and fear that gripped the city throughout this period. CHECKPOINT CHARLIE is about the nerve-wracking confrontation between the West and the Soviet Union that contains never-before-heard interviews with the men who built and dismantled the Wall; lovers who crossed it; relatives and friends who lost family trying to escape over it; German, British, French, and Russian soldiers who guarded its checkpoints; CIA, MI6 and Stasi operatives who oversaw secret operations across its borders; politicians whose ambitions shaped it; journalists who recorded its story; and many more whose living memories contributed to the full story of Checkpoint Charlie. A brilliant work of historical journalism, CHECKPOINT CHARLIE is an invaluable record of this period.

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Praise for Checkpoint Charlie: The Cold War, the Berlin Wall and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth

  • This remarkable book about the Berlin Wall, which has been the subject of everything from diplomatic histories to spy thrillers, is different. Based on extensive, detailed interviews with people on both sides of the wall - soldiers and civilians, communists and anti-communists, spies, intellectuals and ordinary citizens - it offers a riveting panorama of everyday life as it was actually lived at ground zero of the cold war - William Taubman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era

  • Fascinating and original... the story not just of the Berlin Wall, but of the people on either side of it - Jeremy Bowen

  • With its wealth of eyewitness stories, this book proves how understanding the last Cold War is crucial for anyone who wants to understand the new one - Martin Sixsmith

  • As an aspiring student of modern history in the 1980s, the Berlin Wall and the monstrous regime at its heart, dominated my thinking. It is difficult to believe now - much like the Cold War itself - that we all thought the Wall was so immortal. As a writer of oral history, I have enjoyed MacGregor bringing the stories of the people who populated this barrier to life. We need to remember - Joshua Levine, bestselling author of Dunkirk

  • A peoples' history of the wall that is tense, exciting and moving, telling us the stories of the families the wall tore apart, the soldiers who faced one another across it, the spies and journalists who operated behind it, and the East Germans who risked everything to break through it to freedom - James Barr, author of Lords of the Desert

  • MacGregor compellingly portrays Berlin's overarching geo-political story, and brings it alive through the personal experiences of the individuals at its heart - Jonathan Fenby, author of The General

  • The fall of the Berlin Wall was a seismic event in the story of the 20th century. In Checkpoint Charlie, Iain Macregor re-creates the drama and meaning of that moment. With a gripping narrative and vivid interviews with those on all sides whose lives were directly affected by that grim symbol of the East-West divide that poisoned Europe for almost half a century, he has made an important contribution to the history of our times - Jonathan Dimbleby

  • A wonderful approach to the history of the Cold War, tackling the complex legacy of the Berlin Wall through the men and women who lived in its shadow. Weaving together personal testimonies, this book offers a valuable insight into history as it was lived, and shine an illuminating new light on an icon of the twentieth century - Duncan Barrett, New York Times bestselling author of GI Brides

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