When the Wall Came Down

When the Wall Came Down : The Berlin Wall and the Fall of Soviet Communism

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Now in paperback, current events get in-depth treatment in this exciting series produced in collaboration with the New York Times. First-person narratives by the world-renowned newspaper's award-winning journalists tell the stories behind the headlines. This compelling account carries readers back to Berlin, Germany, in 1989, on the night that the Berlin Wall fell. From the moment his East German assistant bursts into his West Berlin office to tell him that the wall is open, Serge Schmemann is in the thick of things, taking readers along with him as he witnesses the celebration when the wall is opened and the dramatic changes that follow. From this unique perspective, readers learn about the Berlin Wall, its construction, and what it symbolized to the world.show more

Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 127 pages
  • 188 x 238 x 10mm | 399.16g
  • Kingfisher
  • Boston, MA, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0753461536
  • 9780753461532
  • 998,253

Review quote

VOYA, October 2007 "[A] very valuable account of the end of the Cold War in Germany" Publishers Weekly This compelling account of the Berlin Wall's demise and the subsequent fall of the Eastern Bloc launches a new line of New York Times books, and is written by the chief correspondent who covered these events. Schmemann instantly draws in readers by opening on November 9, 1989 (the day the wall fell). The immediacy of his first-person narrative, combined with carefully chosen details, bring to life the events leading up to the building of the wall in 1961 and its destruction 28 years later. Some of the most revealing details come from Schmemann's own experience, such as how his American passport allowed him to cross through Checkpoint Charlie while East Germans were legally (and physically) prohibited from entering West Germany, or how in 1992 when the files of East Germany's secret police were opened, one of the author's West Berlin sources was revealed as a Soviet spy. Readers will come away with a clear understanding of how WWII's Yalta Agreement and the cold war contributed to East Berlin erecting the wall and how Gorbachev's reforms acted as a catalyst for East Germans to bring the wall down. Archival and often poignant photographs from the Times supplement the text, along with a concluding section with Times articles (including the role East German teens played in the protests), maps of Europe's changing borders, a timeline and a list of further reading. This standout debut should captivate readers' interest in one of the most climactic events of the late 20th century. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. Jean Boreen, Ph.D. - Children's Literature This is a well-written look at the fall of the Berlin Wall, the events leading up to it, and the realities a united Germany faced after the wall's demise. The book is set up in eight chapters followed by related sections. The first chapter begins with the author's memory of the day the wall came down and is followed by chapters that re-examine the history of Germany from the point at which it tried to become a world power in the 1870s through two world wars and a cold war, and ending with Germany today and the challenges it has faced culturally, socially, and economically because of reunification. Schmemann also includes a dozen articles, mainly by him when he was bureau chief for "The New York Times" and a time line of the rise and fall of the wall and the politics surrounding it. Photographs throughout the text are well chosen and show the human aspect of the decades-long engagement. 2006, Kingfisher/Houghton Mifflin, Ages 12 to 16. Steven Kral - VOYA Correspondent Schmemann received a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Germany's reunification. He describes the rise and defeat of the Nazis and the events that made Berlin and Germany a focal point for the Cold War. He then describes life in divided Germany and the events that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany. A writer with a unique perspective, Schmemann creates an informative and quite readable account. The volume is well illustrated with black-and-white photos. Although he projects a slightly pro-West slant, Schmemann does not shrink from describing the challenges, both economic and social, that the reunified Germany faced. The majority of the book is what can be described asSchmemann's memoir of his time as a correspondent. Larger events are linked to those memories. It tends to humanize the events and make them more accessible to the reader. Schmemann also includes a section of reprints of newspaper articles. These are linked to the first section and allow the reader to compare the objective, journalistic report with Schmemann's perspective. Although this section also includes reports from China, Romania, and Czechoslovakia, Schmemann's focus is on Germany. It makes the book less valuable as a general history of the fall of the Soviet Union, but it is nonetheless a very valuable history of the end of the Cold War in Germany. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Kingfisher/Houghton Mifflin, 128p.; Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Biblio. Further Reading., Ages 12 to 18. VOYA Schmemann was a correspondent in Germany for the New York Times and received a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Germany's reunification. He describes the rise and defeat of the Nazis, the events that made Berlin and Germany a focal point for the Cold War, life in divided Germany, and the events that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany. A writer with a unique perspective, Schmemann creates an informative and very readable book. The volume is well illustrated with many color photos. Although the book has a slightly pro-West slant, Schmemann does not shrink from describing the challenges that the reunified Germany faced, both economic and social. The majority of the book is whatcan be described as Schmemann's memoir of his time as a correspondent. Larger occurrences are linked to his personal memories. This juxtaposition tends to humanize the events and make them more accessible to the reader. Schmemann also includes a section of newspaper article reprints. These are linked to the first section and allow the reader to compare the objective, journalistic report with Schmemann's perspective. This section also includes reports from China, Romania, and Czechoslovakia, but Schmemann's focus is on Germany. It makes the book less valuable as a general history of the fall of the Soviet Union, but a very valuable account of the end of the Cold War in Germany. School Library Journal Gr 6 Up-Schmemann recounts the fall of the Berlin Wall from his perspective as a reporter who covered the story for the New York Times. The first section of the book opens with his impressions of the November 9, 1989, night when the Wall was opened. He then explains how war, inflation, and depression contributed to Hitler's rise and the Second World War. He also discusses how the postwar partition of Germany and Cold War tensions led to the construction of the Wall. He credits Mikhail Gorbachev for the reforms that brought it down and ended the Cold War and concludes by examining the joys and difficulties of German reunification. The second section is a compilation of New York Times articles about the Berlin Wall, the Cold War, and German reunification, with original publication dates ranging from 1955 to 1990. The articles are cross-referenced in the text so that students can easily locate those that are relevant to each time period and topic. Well-chosen black-and-white and color photographs and maps of the city and region supplement the text. Suggestions for further reading list additional New York Times articles by subject. This book offers more complete coverage than Jeremy Smith's The Fall of the Berlin Wall (World Almanac Library, 2004), and Schmemann's personal perspective and the numerous articles will help readers understand the intensity of feeling that surrounded this event.-Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.show more

About Serge Schmemann

Serge Schmemann served as Bonn bureau chief for The New York Times from 1987 to 1991 and won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the reunification of Germany. Mr. Schmemann currently lives in Paris, France, where he is editorial page editor for The International Herald Tribune.show more

Rating details

59 ratings
3.83 out of 5 stars
5 29% (17)
4 31% (18)
3 36% (21)
2 5% (3)
1 0% (0)
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