The Fall of the Berlin Wall: The Revolutionary Legacy of 1989

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Overview

The fall of the Berlin Wall sent shock waves around the world. It was, quite literally, a world-changing event. Now, more than two decades after the Wall's collapse, this book brings together leading authorities who offer a fresh look at how leaders in four vital centers of world politics—the United States, the Soviet Union, Europe, and China—viewed the world in the aftermath of this momentous event. Jeffrey Engel contributes a chronological narrative of this tumultuous period, followed by substantive essays by Melvyn Leffler on the United States, Chen Jian on China, James Sheehan on Germany and Europe, and William Taubman and Svetlana Savranskaya on the Soviet Union. These historians reinterpret the meaning of 1989 in the context of global history in the late 20th and early 21st century and explore such questions as why communism failed in Europe, why China took a different route following the turmoil of Tiananmen Square, and why the peace of 1989 might well prove illusory.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A concise treatment encompassing a range of perspectives." —Modern Age

"Every two hundred years '89 produces revolutionary change. 1789 witnessed the French Revolution, as well as a generally revolutionary age in Europe and North America. These were noisy revolutions against monarchical autocracy. 1989 witnessed truly global revolution, this time against state socialist authoritarianism. Jeffrey Engel has assembled five superb essays that dissect the culmination (not always successful) of quick and quiet revolutions against communism. They bear careful attention on their twentieth anniversary."—Stanley N. Katz, Princeton University

"Marking the twentieth anniversary of the revolutions of 1989, Jeffrey Engel has brought together a terrific group of historians to revisit the political transformations that changed the world forever. By assessing the origins, meanings, and consequences of the end of the Cold War from the perspective of each of the major players — China, Europe, the Soviet Union, and the United States—the result is comparative, international history at its best. Required reading for anyone who wants to understand both the promise — and disappointments — of the fall of the Berlin Wall."—Francis J. Gavin, Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, University of Texas at Austin

"This small volume offers deep insights into the policies, ideas, and human decisions that brought the Cold War to a rapid and peaceful end. The authors trace the remarkable efforts at peaceful transformation in Europe, the brutal turn to repressive violence in China, and the rise of a simplistic and triumphal moralism in the United States. Better than any other book, this one explains how the end of the Cold War created the promises and opportunities of our present era. This is international history at its best — a valuable contribution for anyone interested in contemporary foreign policy."—Jeremi Suri, University of Wisconsin

"The Fall of the Berlin Wall, a collection edited by Jeffrey Engel [] compiles several national perspectives on these events . . . Chen Jian has a superb and up-to-date summary of [China's] choices in his contribution."—Foreign Affairs

"Provocative...capture[s] the essence of those heady days leading up to a new world order."—New Jersey Star-Ledger

"Engel and his contributors understandably look at 1989 from the standpoint of the time. His book 'reveals at once how little control policymakers held over the events of 1989, and yet at the time how their decisions . . . structured the world we inhabit today.'"—Los Angeles Times

"Perhaps the greatest strength of this volume is that it forces the reader to view 1989 not merely as the end of an historical era, but also as a period of transition that has significantly shaped the new millennium. The emergence of China as a world power, the further expansion and integration of the European Union, the newfound zeal for American democratization efforts abroad, and a return to frosty relations with Russia all constitute legacies of the wall's demise. These authors thus make clear that although the wall itself may be gone, it still casts a long shadow over the post-Cold War world of the twenty-first century."-H-Net

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195389104
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/22/2009
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey A. Engel is Associate Professor and Verlin and Howard Kruse '52 Founders Professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. He is the author of Cold War at 30,000 Feet: The Anglo-American Fight for Aviation Supremacy and the editor of Local Consequences of the Global Cold War and The China Diary of George H.W. Bush: The Making of a Global President.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: 1989: An Introduction to an International History, Jeffrey A. Engel
Chapter 2: The Transformation of Europe and the End of the Cold War, James J. Sheehan
Chapter 3: If a Wall Fell in Berlin and Moscow Hardly Noticed, Would it Still Make a Noise?, William Taubman and Svetlana Savranskaya
Chapter 4: Tiananmen and the Fall of the Berlin Wall: China's Path toward 1989 and Beyond, Chen Jian
Chapter 5: Dreams of Freedom; Temptations of Power, Melvyn P. Leffler
For Further Reading

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Next chapter at next res

    'Aria' can't post here.

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