Title: "The Berlin Wall: a World Divided, 1961-1989"
Author: Frederick Taylor
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2006
Synopsis: "The Berlin Wall" provides a detailed history of the wall, all 103 miles of it. Starting with a brief history of the city of Berlin prior to the close of World War II, Taylor gives a history that includes the roles of the post-war forces of England, France, USSR and the U.S. in developing both the Cold War and the Wall. The geo-political forces that resulted in dismantling the Wall are thereby also developed and described. The detail, regarding not only events, but also personalities, makes this book particularly interesting and compelling.
Author's strengths: The work is very well researched and written. The author's style is easy to read, drawing the reader into the dramatic, and horrifying issues and situations.
Why did you choose this book? My husband, young daughter and I lived in East Berlin the summer of 1983 as a guest of the GDR. The worlds of East Berlin and West Berlin have long fascinated me. I read this book in order to deepen my understanding of the nature of communism as it was practiced in the GDR, its historical context, as well as the history of Berlin.
How did this book move you? During the time we lived there, my understanding of the situation of the GDR and East Berlin was on a very practical level. What is available to eat for dinner - as in what happen to the fruits and vegetables? How do we live in this culture - as in don't take any photographs of anything that would include the police, who are everywhere? The East Germans we knew were angry and resigned, but helpless. Reading Taylor's book deepened and broadened my understanding not only of the historical developments, but also of the plight of all the ordinary Germans who, when the line was drawn, were on the East side. A truly fascinating read!
Andrea Woodruff is the supervising librarian at the Lodi Public Library. Each week, a member of the library staff reviews a recent book release for Lodi Living. Reviews are archived at http://www.lodi.gov/library">http://www.lodi.gov/library.