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Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie

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 tensions between east and west rose during the Cold War, East Germany committed $millions to the creation of the Berlin Wall in the early 1960s, an eleven-foot-high barrier that would evolve through the years to consist of seventy-nine miles of fencing, 300 watchtowers, 250 guard dog runs, twenty bunkers, and was operated around the clock by guards who shot to kill. Over the next twenty-eight years, at least ten thousand people attempted to smash through it, swim across it, tunnel under it, or fly over it, desperate to escape the repressive totalitarian East German regime for the freedom of the West.

In November 1989, the East German leadership buckled in the face of a civil revolt that culminated in half a million East Berliners demanding an end to the ban on free movement. The world’s media flocked to capture the moment which, perhaps more than any other, signalled the end of the Cold War. The wall was opened, and then torn down, stone by stone. Checkpoint Charlie, the epicentre of global conflict for nearly three decades, was the location of the greatest jubilation as crowds flowed across the border.

As the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Wall approaches in 2019, Iain MacGregor captures the mistrust, oppression, paranoia, and fear that gripped Berlin throughout this period. Checkpoint Charlie is about the nerve-wracking confrontation between the West and USSR, highlighting such important global figures as JFK, Nikita Khrushchev, Reagan, Gorbachev and other leaders of the period. He also includes 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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Genre: Humanities / History / Regional & National History / European History

On Sale: 24th October 2019

Price: £20

ISBN-13: 9781472130563


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
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
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
Checkpoint Charlie is emblematic of both the tension and romance of the pivot between a third World War and peace. Ian MacGregor captures brilliantly and comprehensively both the danger and exhilaration that I and other reporters, soldiers, and people experienced intersecting with the wall, and the fears and the eventual hope that flowed through it - a must read for anyone who wants to understand the Europe we have inherited
Jon Snow