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"Inside this book is as clear a statement of the power of this music as anyone, ever, has come up with." - Dave Marsh
"An illuminating and impressively detailed examination of a frequently overlooked moment in the nexus of rock music and political liberation. I learned a great deal and enjoyed doing so." -Eric Alterman
Erik Kirschbaum, a native of New York City and long-time Springsteen fan, has lived in Germany for more than twenty-five years and in Berlin since 1993. He is a correspondent for the Reuters international news agency and has written about entertainment, politics, sports, economics, as well as disasters and climate change in nearly thirty countries. He is a devoted father of four, an enthusiastic cyclist, a solar power entrepreneur and an unabashed crusader for renewable energy. Rocking the Wall is his third book.
Berlinica offers English-language books from Berlin, German; fiction, non-fiction, travel guides, history, Jewish life, art and photography, as well as books about nightlife, cookbooks, and maps. It also offers documentaries and feature films on DVD, as well as music CDs. Berlinica caters to history buffs, Americans of German heritage, travelers, and artists and young people who love the cutting-edge city in the heart of Europe.
Berlinica's current titles are "A Tramp in Berlin. New Mark Twain Stories," by Mark Twain and Andreas Austilat, "Berlin! Berlin! Dispatches From the Weimar Republic," by Kurt Tucholsky, "Jews in Berlin," by Andreas Nachama, Julius H. Schoeps, and Hermann Simon, "Wings of Desire-Angels of Berlin," by Lothar Heinke, "The Berlin Wall Today," by Michael Cramer, "Wallflower, a Novel," by Holly-Jane Rahlens, "Berlin For Free," by Monica Maertens; "Berlin in the Cold War," by Thomas Flemming, "The Berlin Cookbook," by Rose Marie Donhauser, the music CD "Berlin-mon amour," by chanteuse Adrienne Haan, and two documentaries, "The Red Orchestra," by Stefan Roloff and "The Path to Nuclear Fission," by New York filmmaker Rosemarie Reed.
Posted August 30, 2013
Rocking the Wall: Bruce Springsteen: The Berlin Concert that Changed the World by Eric Kirschbaum is a non-fiction book about a 1988 Springsteen concert in East Berlin, Germany. Mr. Kirschbaum got the idea for the book in a taxi coming back from a 2002 Springsteen concert in Berlin, when the cab driver told him about the incredible night which changed the country.
This is a short book and a fast read. It is especially poignant for those of us who actually remember a place called East Berlin.
I call New Jersey my home state, it’s understandable that Bruce Springsteen is a mega star there, heck, I knew people who went to school with him. What’s amazing is that this local boy became a huge mega star not only in the country, but for a while was the biggest rock star on the planet.
The first few chapters give an overall, and quick, history of East Berlin and the oppression the people felt. The chapters set up the significance of Springsteen being allowed to play behind the Iron Curtain. While several people seem to take credit for this spectacular event, it seemed that they were all working parallel and the stars of society and history were simply aligned for this to take place.
At the same time that Springsteen’s promoters requested permission to play in East Berlin, the Free German Youth group came up with the same idea. Springsteen, a liberal singer who did not support the current American President (Reagan), was seen as a way to appease German youths into believing that change is around the corner (in a socialist, communist, repressive way). The concert was sold to the communist authorities as a fund raiser to Nicaragua. That connection almost ruined the concert and gave Springsteen the opportunity to say a short, but powerful anti-wall speech during his performance.
This is a well researched, interesting book about a fascinating slice of history. The author tries to say that Springsteen had a part in the revolution that took place later on to take down the Berlin Wall, whether he did or did not we’ll never know – but we’d like to think he might have.
Disclaimer: I got this book for free
Posted August 1, 2013
Kirschbaum draws you in with his enthusiastic and detailed description of a very interesting period of Germany's history. Art has always been an avenue for rebellion and the book illustrates how important rock and roll was to young East Germans who were desperate for change. The book is an enjoyable and quick read - you don't have to be a fan of Springsteen to appreciate the story. I recommend it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 30, 2013
I have to admit that I don't read as much as I should, but this book was off the hook and I couldn't put it down! I thoroughly enjoyed it because it shows what life was like in Communist East Germany before the Wall fell. I think that the Bruce Springsteen's concert could very well have played a significant role in the end of Communism in East Germany. The writer's ability to capture my attention and vividly tell his story was amazing; you almost can close your eyes and envision it all. I think this should be added to the required reading for college level history students as it would put this era into a different perspective for them so they could understand these historical events better. A must read for all music and history buffs!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 29, 2013
Fascinating Story - a 'must-read' for all Springsteen fans!!
This is a great book that really got me thinking about how the Cold War really ended. Why do people always assume that it takes takes and nuclear missiles to win wars...this time it was rock 'n' roll that helped end the Cold War. I think it's time to take a new look at all the factors that went into the collapse of the Berlin Wall and this book really opened my eyes about a lot of things. I couldn't stop reading this thing once I started and finished it in a day. Great story and well worth the money
Posted July 29, 2013
I had my doubts about the premise of this book when I started reading it. But Erik Kirschbaum builds a strong case with dozens of interviews of eyewitnesses who give convincing and in some case moving accounts of the biggest rock concert in the history of East Germany. The book shows how Springsteens's performance on July 19, 1988 had a profound impact on very many young people at a time when the momentum for change was building rapidly. Kirschbaum explains the momentous historical backdrop in a well-written and lively narrative that culminates in a superb description of Springsteen's thunderous 32-song marathon gig that may well have fuelled the course of history. Extensive interviews with Springsteen's manager and with the East German officials and helpers who organized the concert -- in a vain attempt to make East Germans think they were free -- give it a well-researched, fly-on-the-wall feel. This is a really good read, not just for Springsteen fans.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.