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Walls come tumbling down.,
This review is from: The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989 (Paperback)
This is a good, solid and at times moving account of the history of the wall that divided German from German. The first 150 or so pages are quite slow, as Mr Taylor builds up a picture of the division of Germany and the history of Berlin as a whole. However, once the wall is erected, the pace quickens and the stories of escapes, escapees and victims emerge. One can only imagine what it must have been like - separated from family via an artificial wall that kept mother from son and lover from lover. To be fair, Mr Taylor points out the reasoning behind the wall - the brain drain from the East - and one almost has a degree of sympathy for those who decided upon its creation. Almost. The deaths of the likes of Peter Fechter, slowly bleeding to death at the foot of the wall, soon eradicate any feeling of sympathy we may have. The one drawback from this readable account is the lack of a voice from the Stasi or from people working on the 'other side' - the East German border guards, weary conscripts or enthusiastic idealists alike.
As a footnote it was nice to read of the East German punks in the book, as the German punk scene is still alive and kicking. Funnily enough, punks from the West side of Germany now have nothing but admiration for their Eastern punk brothers, from the time when the wall was up, as they had to create music and clothes from the scraps available to them, living as they were under a totalitarian regime. I should add that I was refused admission to East Berlin when the wall was up, due to my studded leather jacket bearing the names of German punk bands (Slime, Razzia and Die Toten Hosen) - I was deemed subversive and had to go back to Kreuzberg, where all the other deadbeats were hanging out!