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Rocking the Wall. Bruce Springsteen: The Berlin Concert That Changed the World (Americans in Berlin) by [Kirschbaum, Erik]
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Rocking the Wall. Bruce Springsteen: The Berlin Concert That Changed the World (Americans in Berlin) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Review

""A glorious example of the influence that rock 'n' roll can have on people who are hungry and ready for change." --Michelle Martin, journalist, "The Washington Post

""What was intended by East Berlin's hard-line leadership as a pacifier for their people, Kirschbaum argues, had the opposite effect and turned into a powerful agent for change." --Derek Scally," "Berlin correspondent," The Irish Times

""Inside this book is as clear a statement of the power of this music as anyone, ever, has come up with. Dave Marsh, music critic, "Rolling Stone"

""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, author, "What Liberal Media?"

""A glorious example of the influence that rock n roll can have on people who are hungry and ready for change." Michelle Martin, journalist, "The Washington Post"

""In telling the back story of how the concert came to be, "Rocking the Wall" also offers a fascinating historical snapshot of East German Communist cultural officials scrambling to contain the brewing political restlessness all around them." Vanessa Fuhrmans, reporter, "The Wall Street Journal
"

""What was intended by East Berlin s hard-line leadership as a pacifier for their people, Kirschbaum argues, had the opposite effect and turned into a powerful agent for change." Derek Scally," "Berlin correspondent," The Irish Times"

""It was cultural forces, not merely political or military ones, that won the Cold War for the West, and which may yet spring more oppressive regimes from the tyranny of the old and joyless. Young East Germans wanted their rock and roll." Tris McCall, music critic, "The Star-Ledger"

About the Author

Erik Kirschbaum, a native of New York City and long-time Springsteen fan, has lived in Germany for more than twenty-five years. He is a correspondent for the Reuters international news agency and a non-fiction author, and is based in Berlin since 1993. He has written about entertainment, politics, sports, economics, renewable energy as well as disasters, earthquakes and climate change in nearly thirty countries in Europe and North America. He is also 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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 8587 KB
  • Print Length: 169 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1935902822
  • Publisher: Berlinica Publishing LLC; 1 edition (18 Jun. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DH8J580
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #515,828 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Live Aid 1985, Woodstock 1969, the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show 1964 – more than just musical performances. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band East Berlin July 19 1988?
The author thinks so. He was not there but he interviewed the organisers and many people who attended and who still remember that evening. He also spoke at length to Bruce Springsteen’s manager, Jon Landau. He did not get to talk to the man himself, or any of the band.
It was some occasion, for sure. Western rock stars rarely came east and none with the stature of Springsteen. 300,000 came to see him. He played for 4 hours. Springsteen was and is a great performer and he did not disappoint. It is easy to see why this performance has long lived in the memory. Did it cause the the Wall to fall?
The author certainly thinks so and he cites a handful of cultural commentators who agree. He makes much of a speech that the Boss made about bringing down barriers. The speech actually consisted of two sentences which most people could not hear. It was audible to Egon Krenz [East Germany’s last leader], and it did not bother him. Realistically the fact that the East German government approved the concert indicates how much was changing. Moreover, the concert did nothing to dampen the feeling that change had to come. For sure – a glittering event in a year of immense change. It is not surprising that those who were there cannot forget it. It confirms just what a great performer Springsteen is. Bruce remembers July 19 fondly as one of his best concerts. I can't accept Erik's pleas, however. It was a sign of changing times. It did not change the world.
The book is short and there is a fair bit of repetition, too. There are numerous hyperlinks to Youtube videos, though not of the concert itself. There are a few photos of the event, though, and of his interviewees.
The history of the fall of the Eastern States is skimpily told. It really is one for fans of Springsteen - including myself.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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This is an absolute must read for the millions of Springsteen fans, and as importantly, for those students of post WW II politics and history.

The narrative reads like a suspense novel, from the the geopolitics of Central American communism, to the once secret Stasi files, to the East German dictionary definition of "rock and roll", to the young Fraulein dancing in a dream-like state on stage with Bruce in 1988.

Kirschbaum provides intimate details, through first-hand accounts, into the lives of ordinary East Germans, and insight into the minds of the government elite, via a well crafted, and extraordinary well researched chronicle of events in Cold War Europe.

We feel the pain, and joy of the protagonists, and know that Springsteen had a vision for his visit, which, as is his, style, "to always do things for the greater good", provide hope, when there may not seem to be any, empower the masses through the magic of music, and to always believe that change can occur; and in this story, the change that occurred ultimately had a profound impact on the current world order.

July 19, 1988...remember the date!

G. Joseph
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Maybe it's a bit difficult to express in 20 words why I loved this book. It's wonderful, but I like everything of Springsteen, after reading this book I think he really did something great for a lot of people
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