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"This is easily the
best book on the fall of the Berlin Wall."
, CNN GPS Book of the Week
"Sarotte is a superb
historian. She's ferociously intelligent, but what really separates her from
her colleagues is her acute sensitivity to human drama."
"A blow-by-blow account of the birth of modern Germany on November 9th
1989, when, at an otherwise dull press conference in East Berlin, a government
spokesman said that a new law permitting East Germans more freedom to travel
would go into effect immediately. It changed Europe forever."
—Economist Best Books of2014
"This is history writing at its very best, full of drama and pathos, yet
immaculately researched and elegantly written."
—BBC History Magazine 2014 Books of the Year
challenges our narrative of the Soviet Union's collapse, 25 years after the Wall's fall. Sarotte deftly balances individual human agency and contingency with larger political forces to show that the Berlin Wall coming down was neither inevitable nor the result of global power shifts alone."—Zócalo Public Square 10 Best Books of 2014
"Sarotte has produced a skillful, scrupulously documented, nuanced
reconstruction of how a series of mistakes by East German leaders and
officials...turned what was meant to be a carefully managed process of
controlled opening...into the world's most celebrated festival of popular
"A fast-paced, fascinating account of the final weeks, days and hours of
"Sarotte's lively and engaging book scrupulously details the events of
November 9, 1989, when the world watched in shock as the Berlin Wall came
"[A]n authoritative and fast-moving account of the events that led up to
the collapse of East Germany."
—FinancialTimes, Best Books of2014: History
"Brief, intense, and gripping.... Sarotte's effort is magnificent....
This is history at its best."
—Winnipeg Free Press
"The book that will haunt Vladimir Putin as long as he's in power."
—Washington Post's Post Everything Blog
"Sarotte's wonderfully written book--backed up with reams of research
and interviews--explains the factors that led to one of the most important
moments in the twentieth century."
"An inspiring and often thrilling account."
—Booklist, starred review
"This gripping, important account of a long-misinterpreted event is one
of the most surprising books about the Cold War."
"A rigorous sifting of evidence surrounding the final toppling of the
sclerotic East German state. With extensive use of Stasi files, Sarotte finds
that accident, rather than planning, caused the collapse of the Berlin Wall....
[T]his account amply conveys the universal amazement and excitement of the
is a riveting and important account of the political chaos in East Germany that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Mary Elise Sarotte is a distinguished historian with a playwright's eye who gives us fresh insights and telling anecdotes about one of the most important nights of the late twentieth century."—Tom Brokaw
"Sarotte runs a fine-tooth comb through the archives and gathers an impressive range of stories from the ordinary people at the heart of these extraordinary events. She is keen to dispel the kind of convenient 'hindsight bias' which claims that the peaceful fall of the Wall was inevitable or engineered by bigger forces than human beings who wanted a different life."
—Wall Street Journal
"The most definitive account to date of the events that led to the demise of the German Democratic Republic, the reunification of Germany, and the end of the Cold War."