Berlin Journal, 1989-1990

Overview

“Makes us appreciate something of what it felt like for Germans East and West as the world ended.” —Anthony Bailey, New York Times Book Review
Shock waves from the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 continue to pulse through German society. As the difficult process of reunification continues, it is worth recalling the revolutionary moment when immense crowds took to the streets of Leipzig and Berlin under the banner “We Are the People” and brought down one of the world’s most oppressive dictatorships. ...

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Overview

“Makes us appreciate something of what it felt like for Germans East and West as the world ended.” —Anthony Bailey, New York Times Book Review
Shock waves from the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 continue to pulse through German society. As the difficult process of reunification continues, it is worth recalling the revolutionary moment when immense crowds took to the streets of Leipzig and Berlin under the banner “We Are the People” and brought down one of the world’s most oppressive dictatorships. Robert Darnton’s eyewitness account of those historic days “is direct and vivid. His prose conveys the immediacy of the drama.” He gives us a memorable cast of characters, from two experts on the repair of broken-down Trabis to the environmental councilor for the polluted city of Bitterfeld, and Isaak Behar, a Jew who managed to survive the Holocaust while hiding in wartime Berlin. With wit and insight Darnton takes us behind the scenes to meet “ordinary people grappling with great change, humanizing history.”

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
These firsthand but uneven reports from respected scholar Darnton describe the momentous events (public demonstrations, the crumbling of the Berlin Wall) that led to Germany's reunification. (July)
Library Journal
Well-known historian Darnton ( The Great Cat Massacre , LJ 12/1/83) was spending an academic year in Berlin when he decided to temporarily set aside his 18th-century historical research in order to monitor closely the momentous events taking place around him. The result is this journal which, aside from being a chronology of the months before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, delves deeply into the mindset of the soon-to-be-liberated East Germans. Despite the obvious cultural and linguistic similarities shared by the two Germanies, the author discovers remarkable differences as well. The strength of this book, as of John Borneman's similar account After the Wall ( LJ 2/15/91), is in its immediacy and its portrayal of revolutionary events through the eyes of those most af fected by them, the East Germans.-- Ian Wallace, Agriculture Canada Lib., St.-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec
Booknews
Historian Darnton was in Berlin during the auspicious events of two years ago. His "journal" is more accurately a collection of essays, portraits, interviews, and analyses. A bibliography should have been included. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393310184
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/1992
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 340
  • Lexile: 1180L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Darnton is the Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and the director of the University Library at Harvard University. His honors include a MacArthur Prize, the National Humanities Medal, and election to the French Legion of Honor. He is the author of The Great Cat Massacre and The Forbidden Bestsellers of Pre-Revolutionary France, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

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