A thrilling Cold War narrative of superpower showdowns, media suppression, and two escape tunnels beneath the Berlin Wall
In the summer of 1962, the year after the rise of the Berlin Wall, a group of young West Germans risked prison, Stasi torture, and even death to liberate friends, lovers, and strangers in East Berlin by digging tunnels under the Wall. Then two U.S. television networks heard about the secret projects and raced to be first to document them from the inside. NBC and CBS funded two separate tunnels in return for the right to film the escapes, planning spectacular prime-time specials. President John F. Kennedy, however, was wary of anything that might spark a confrontation with the Soviets, having said, “A wall is better than a war,” and even confessing to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, “We don’t care about East Berlin.” JFK approved unprecedented maneuvers to quash both documentaries, testing the limits of a free press in an era of escalating nuclear tensions.
As Greg Mitchell’s riveting narrative unfolds, we meet extraordinary characters: the legendary cyclist who became East Germany’s top target for arrest; the Stasi informer who betrays the “CBS tunnel”; the American student who aided the escapes; an engineer who would later help build the tunnel under the English channel; the young East Berliner who fled with her baby, then married one of the tunnelers. Capturing the chilling reach of the Stasi secret police, U.S. networks prepared to “pay for play” yet willing to cave to official pressure, a White House eager to suppress historic coverage, and the subversive power of ordinary people in dire circumstances, The Tunnels is breaking history, a propulsive read whose themes still reverberate.
From the Hardcover edition.
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The Tunnels is a fantastic and very interesting account of the escape tunnels that were built underground the Berlin Wall in Berlin, Germany. We also are educated about the films, the propaganda, and the news that were squelched by John F.…Read Review
The Tunnels is designed in a "Time Stamped" sort of way. Each entry is dated with great information. It's read in a way that is much more like a diary than a memoir or novel. If you like point-blank facts rather than a compelling…Read Review
The Tunnels is a fascinating glimpse into Cold War history. I've always been interested in modern history -- especially modern military history. When I saw the synopsis for The Tunnels I knew I had to…Read Review