The Tunnels by Greg Mitchell

Sharon Hart

4 Stars

November 5, 2017

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 it.  Greg Mitchell addresses a historical (yet timely) episode of the Cold War in examining the varied effects of the Berlin Wall and the actions of the brave men and women who strove to rescue others from oppression.  Mitchell does a great job discussing the historical, political, and social ramifications of the Wall.  Through The Tunnels we also branch out into the larger aspect of the Cold War as Mitchell discusses the domino effect of nuclear war and mutually assured destruction.

Mitchell presents the history in an absorbing way while still focusing on individual people.  The image of one of the women escaping through the tunnels in her designer wedding dress is haunting and poignant.  How better to put a "face" on forgotten history than to give a name and a photo to remind us that real people struggled with these life threatening circumstances. 

The author also brings to light aspects of the Cold War and the Berlin Wall that is not readily taught in schools.  The Cuban Missile Crisis is discussed in school history courses (at least in mine it was), but I had no idea about the CBS or NBC film crews on the scene.  It's always disconcerting to think you know the story...only to find an entire chapter was missing.

I would recommend The Tunnels as an engaging read that brings to light an era of history that is quickly drifting out of the national consciousness.  Mitchell forces us to look at how walls did not work in the past...and won't work in the present.