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viii, 340 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 309-326) and index.
"Checkpoint Charlie is the story of the men and women - from both sides of the Cold War's political divide - who lived, served on, or escaped through the Berlin Wall during its life span (13th August 1961 - 9th November 1989). This physical monstrosity created by the East German communist state was to divide one of the most beautiful and by 1961, ruined cities of the world; dividing families, friends and lovers. Its creation, and its sudden collapse twenty-seven years later, were the key moments of the Cold War. Checkpoint Charlie was the one place in a paranoid continent where East faced West across one hundred yards of No Man's Land. Where soldiers served, spies watched through trained binoculars, escapees fled, politicians made speeches, people died and, mothers wept. The Wall was seen by many as permanent as the Himalayas. Across the Wall's almost three decades of existence, over two hundred people died trying to escape through it to the West, and these are just the recorded deaths. Many more who attempted and failed to break to freedom, would later die of their wounds in an East German hospital or prison. Historian Iain MacGregor travels to America, Britain, Germany and France to talk to the many people the Berlin Wall affected and who found themselves at the gates of Checkpoint Charlie - either on the Allied, or Soviet side. He interviews soldiers, politicians, journalists, spies, policemen, refugees and escapees to build a picture of what life was like in the city that was universally seen as the "hot spot" of the Cold War for four decades"-- Provided by publisher.
Prologue: October -- Island in the Communist stream -- The spook in Berlin -- In a mousetrap now -- Split asunder -- A new border to patrol -- Who blinks first? -- Elvis is dead -- Let them come to Berlin! -- The secret army -- Searching for a grain of truth -- Catch me if you can! -- A soldier's death -- The singing Jew of Checkpoint Charlie -- Chimes of freedom -- At the edge of control -- The last escape -- A family in Berlin -- The memo that ended the Cold War -- The flood -- Lights, cameras, action! -- Aftermath -- Goodbye Checkpoint Charlie -- Epilogue: four memories.
Cold War, the Berlin Wall, and the most dangerous place on earth
Online version: MacGregor, Iain, Checkpoint Charlie New York : Scribner, 2019. 9781982100056 (DLC) 2019024839
9781982100056 (electronic book)