Berlin wall book review on the

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Berlin wall book review on the

At its worst it is over extended, sloppy and a rag-bag of whatever the author felt was interesting with no consistent focus. With pages of text about half actually deals with the Berlin Wall and then only about a six or seven-year period around the wall's construction and then again the last few years down to But it is easy reading.


It's a lazy book. For example Taylor finishes his section on the Khrushchev-Kennedy show down over the Wall by describing it as a defeat for Communism. OK there is nothing wrong in principle in having a simplistic conclusion, particularly in a book that was just a high level history of the cold war looking at the events from the perspective of the Politburo and the Presidency.

But it is lazy in a book which just a few pages earlier was taking a more sophisticated 'wag the dog' approach showing how Walter Ulbricht, like Fidel Castro in Cuba, was, despite being in the junior position relative to the Soviet Union, was able to create and drive an issue that conformed to his agenda rather than Khruschev's.

Maybe I'm simply too critical in expecting a book written by a single author to be internally consistent.

Or indeed other eastern Bloc countries were described as relatively more liberal than East Germany, which in the context of one party Stalinist states is an unhelpful choice of words.

Would it have taken so long to mention that they practised Goulash Communism - a system geared to providing subsided foodstuffs and basic consumer goods to win the acquiescence of the population?

There is a consistent lack of context. Vienna as I remember from The Third Man was also divided among the four occupying powers for a time, but no comparison is made. The author does point out that the Soviets removed German factories and relocated them into Russia but doesn't point out that the British did exactly the same in their sector and that this was a recommendation of the Morgenthau plan.

A point arising from this that would have been relevant to his discussion of East German economic weakness was that in the western zones this created something like a blank slate that manufactures could take advantage of, but this effect does not seem to have occurred in the east.

The narrative is again effected in his discussion of the fall of the Wall because of a lack of context, here the actions of the Czechoslovak and Hungarian governments come out of the blue despite being part of wider developments tied up with Gorbachev's perestroika impulse, but that in turn was driven by not too dissimilar economic problems to those that beset East Germany.

Yes, as Taylor says, East Germany was borrowing heavily from the Capitalist world, but then so were all the other Eastern Block states actually I'm not sure about Albania, but they were aligned with China anyway.

In other words what is presented as a specifically East German problem was in fact a systemic crisis that brought down almost the whole of the Soviet Union and its sphere.

For me this is the heart of the problem. A book called the Berlin Wall to turns out not to be much about the Berlin Wall. There's just a sketchy introduction to the city existing divided between two states with people living on one side and going to work or school and so on on the other side.

The only problem mentioned is with the workers on the U and S-Bahn who were employed by the East and paid in East Marks.

Eventually the West Berlin authority agreed to subside those workers who lived in West Berlin to make up the value of their wages. But this situation can hardly have been unique.

Life in the East was cheaper and wages in the West were higher. It's hard to imagine that most people didn't take some advantage of this. Generally a city has a unified system of sewerage, waste processing, rubbish removal, utility supply, transportation - what happened to all these once the city was divided by the Wall?

The Berlin Wall: The Partitioning of Berlin

There is a mention of U-Bahn tunnels beginning blocked and sewers having stronger grills attached after escape attempts but what about the operation of those systems?Taylor’s book is a vivid, comprehensive account of how the Berlin Wall came about, of the repulsive or inspiring events which took place along it during its year life, and of its eventual fall in Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall [Anna Funder] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

“ Stasiland demonstrates that great, originalreporting is still possible.. . Berlin Mitte Walking Tour: Wall, Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag.

Start your 4-hour walking tour in either East Berlin or West Berlin. Your guide will begin with an overview of how Berlin was founded, and will continue explaining the long, complex and fascinating history of Germany’s capital city throughout your tour.

Between August 13, , when the Berlin Wall went up, and November 9, , when it came crashing down, 86 people died as a direct result of violence there. The count may include a couple of dozen more, depending on the criteria used, but it is clear that the Wall took fewer lives than one might suppose.

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall [Anna Funder] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

Berlin wall book review on the

“ Stasiland demonstrates that great, originalreporting is still possible A heartbreaking. The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer, pronounced [bɛʁˈliːnɐ ˈmaʊ̯ɐ] (listen)) was a guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from to Constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany), starting on 13 August , the Wall cut off (by land) West Berlin from virtually all of surrounding East Germany and East Berlin until.

East Side Gallery, Berlin - TripAdvisor