The Tunnels by Greg Mitchell audiobook

The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill

By Greg Mitchell
Read by John Lee

Random House Audio 9781101903858
11.99 Hours 1
Format : Digital Download (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9780735285859

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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Summary

Summary

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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

When you have read the last page of Greg Mitchell’s The Tunnels you will close the book—but not until then. ALAN FURST, author of A Hero of France and Night Soldiers
Eye-opening and an exhilarating read. Not knowing who made it out of the East, and who was arrested, or worse, kept me glued to this book until the last page. The involvement of the Stasi, two American TV networks and America's State Department contribute to the historical perspective of this important work. ANTONIO MENDEZ, co-author of Argo
This is not just an exciting escape narrative, but also an extraordinarily revealing political thriller, centering on ruthless government attempts to control what the public gets to see. Mitchell presents us with a radically changed perspective on one of the Cold War’s most dramatic episodes. His book is both priceless as history and just about impossible to beat for sheer narrative grip—a rare achievement. FREDERICK TAYLOR, author of The Berlin Wall and Dresden
Greg Mitchell is the best kind of historian, a true storyteller. The Tunnels is a gripping tale about heroic individuals defying an authoritarian state at a critical moment in the Cold War. A brilliantly told thriller—but all true. KAI BIRD, author of The Good Spy
Greg Mitchell has written a riveting story focusing on one of the most powerful documentaries ever broadcast on television, NBC’s The Tunnel. Those of us who saw it that December night in 1962 have never forgotten the experience. Now Mitchell, an exemplary journalist, goes beyond what the cameras saw, deep into the political dynamics of Cold War Berlin. John Le Carré couldn’t have done it better. BILL MOYERS
“Mitchell excels at describing the idealistic men and women who built the passageways that brought scores of refugees to safety, revealing the wall's symbolic importance and how it endured throughout the Cold War. He provides interviews with many important players who contribute to the fast-paced narrative. LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Enormously dramatic and extremely insightful. JOHN BATCHELOR, ABC RADIO
A compelling look at a wrenching chapter of the Cold War that chronicles the desperate flights for freedom beneath the streets of post-war Berlin and the costs that politics extracted in lives. BARRY MEIER, author of Missing Man
The Tunnels uncovers an unexplored underworld of Cold War intrigue. As nuclear tensions grip Berlin, a whole realm of heroes and villains, of plot and counterplot, unfolds beneath the surface of the city. True historical drama. RON ROSENBAUM, author of Explaining Hitler and The Shakespeare Wars  
“Every hour of my year in East Berlin—1963/64—the escape tunnels beneath our feet were being dug. This is their story: those who dug them, those who used them and those who betrayed them to the Stasi. Fascinating—and it is all true. FREDERICK FORSYTH, author of The Odessa File and Day of the Jackal
The Tunnels is one of the great untold stories of the Cold War. Brilliantly researched and told with great flair, Greg Mitchell’s non-fiction narrative reads like the best spy thriller, something Le Carré might have imagined. Easily the best book I’ve read all year. ALEX KERSHAW, author of Avenue of Spies
"A story with so much inherent drama it sounds far-fetched even for a Hollywood thriller...Mitchell tells a kaleidoscopic cold war story from 1962, recreating a world seemingly on the edge of a third world war. THE GUARDIAN
“Fascinating and deeply researched…Mitchell’s book provides a welcome reminder of the ingenuity and courage that people can display when politics and walls separate them from loved ones and a better life. But it’s also a testament to just how forcefully even ostensibly liberal administrations can suppress the media. CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
“Engaging… the book vividly describes the harrowing conditions under which strong young men based in West Berlin dug the tunnels… Mitchell’s interviews with the tunnelers, couriers and escapees put a human face on this dramatic experience…These are heart-racing tales, and Mitchell — author of several books on U.S. politics and history — narrates them with emotion and evocative detail... The political and media angles in The Tunnels are indeed intriguing... The intense drama and risks involved for the tunnelers and the escapees offer a compelling context for today’s refu­gee crisis. HOPE M. HARRISON, WASHINGTON POST
“Shows the trade-off behind the scenes at one of the most pivotal moments in the standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union… A fascinating and complex picture of the interplay between politics and media in the Cold War era. STEPHANIE KIRCHNER, WASHINGTON POST
"A terrific new book about a heretofore obscure episode regarding the wall in 1962. A must for all the JFK fans. CHARLES P. PIERCE, ESQUIRE
The author ably captures the dedication of the men and women trying to get family, friends, and complete strangers to freedom… A gripping page-turner that thrills like fiction. KIRKUS
Mitchell delivers a gripping, blow-by-blow account of one grueling dig and dramatic rescue…Mitchell’s tense, fascinating account reveals how the U.S. undermined a freedom struggle for the sake of diplomacy. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)
“Thrilling and meticulously documented…Mitchell masterfully guides the reader through a labyrinth of details, intertwining the narratives to show how the tunnelers, the NBC crew (led by correspondent Piers Anderton) and the politicians played their parts on the stage of history…A fitting tribute to the brave men and women who did all they could to tear down the Wall. DALLAS MORNING NEWS
The greatest strength of The Tunnels is in the details... Days after finishing the book I could not escape one of Mitchell’s images—of a hat with a small hole in it landing softly on the Western side of the border while its owner’s dead body fell back into the East, waiting for the guards to hurry it out of sight. For those who see walls as the answer to policy problems, this book serves as a stark reminder that barriers can never cut people off entirely but only succeed in driving them underground. NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Greg Mitchell

Author Bio: Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell is the award-winning author of numerous nonfiction books, including Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; The Campaign of the Century with Robert Jay Lifton, winner of the Goldsmith Book Prize and finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; The Beginning or the End; and Hiroshima in America, among others.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 11.99
Audience: Adult
Language: English