Friday, December 9, 2016

The Tunnels

The Tunnels:
Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill
By Greg Mitchell
Crown 2016

I am fascinated by history. The broad strokes and the minutiae. I am especially intrigued by the way the conflicts of the Twentieth Century are viewed. One of the most interesting areas to me is how the conquerors divvy up their spoils and the long-term effects of those decisions and negotiations. This book scratched all of these itches and added a personal touch that is absent from most history books.

As the Cold War raged on, the Soviets placed a crude fence then a concrete wall on the line that separated the East from the West; separating families and friends and accelerating the already tense situation.

Mr. Mitchell lays out the background then weaves a deeply human story surrounding the efforts of those stuck in the Totalitarian East to escape to Freedom. If that wasn't enough, television personalities from competing networks are racing to show the world the great lengths that people will go to to tunnel under the wall; and to profit from the story.

Wait, there's more. The Kennedy Administration believes that showing the tunnels and tunnelers will ratchet up the tension and it tries to quash the network's stories. The author gives us a rare peek into the crude attempts at the censorship of Presidential Administrations.

I enjoyed this book immensely. The anecdotes and personal stories of the tunnelers set against the background of Geopolitics and the attempts to tell the story are marvelous.
The book can be purchased here.
After reading the book if you would like to see the NBC documentary that finally did air, you can find it here.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.