HISTORY

Checkpoint Charlie: The Cold War, The Berlin Wall, and the Most Dangerous Place On Earth

Scribner. Nov. 2019. 352p. ISBN 9781982100032. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781982100056. HIST
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The Berlin Wall divided Germany for 28 years, standing as the most potent symbol of the Cold War. Thirty years since its fall, little remains of the barrier, but its specter serves as a reminder of what happens when fear, mistrust, oppression, and paranoia dominate the relationships among countries. Editor and publisher MacGregor brilliantly captures the events that led to the creation of the wall and the people who successfully escaped East Germany. Fans of intrigue will delight in his accounts of the military personnel and journalists who regularly crossed Checkpoint Charlie, which was first set up in August 1961 and eventually became the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War. Checkpoint Charlie late became the place of a standoff between the Soviet Union and the United States in October 1961. In November 1989, East German leadership allowed free passage of its citizens into West Berlin for the first time in decade; MacGregor captures how other countries reacted, and the care taken to ensure that this volatile situation proceeded peacefully.
VERDICT A fascinating take on the importance of level-headed people and international agreements working together to manage tense geopolitical situations.

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