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Gerard DeGrootThe real story, minus the comic book hero, is more complicated—and interesting. Reagan still plays a role, but as diplomat, not Rambo. His contribution came in accommodation; his willingness to talk to Gorbachev gave the Soviet leader the confidence to break molds. Gorbachev, furthermore, did not tear down the wall; he merely suggested that change would be tolerated. The events themselves were played out by a cast of thousands in Budapest, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw and Bucharest…Meyer recounts momentous events in an accessible, engaging and intensely dramatic way. I had occasionally to remind myself that I was reading nonfiction; history is seldom written with such verve. The book is a two-for-one deal: a fine piece of analysis and a fascinating personal memoir. Added as a bonus are some poignant lessons: Dialogue often beats force, and heroes are sometimes quiet.
—The Washington Post