John Marks The Wall

ISBN 13: 9780792722779

The Wall

2.61 avg rating
( 18 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780792722779: The Wall

A New York Times Notable Book

A compelling, intelligent thriller that "places the reader in the vortex of the Cold War endgame in Eastern Europe...captivating." (New York Times Book Review).

One historic evening in November, Berlin erupts in giddy celebration as the Wall between East and West crumbles after twenty-eight long years. The borders have shifted. The rules have changed. But in this extraordinary novel--which follows a cast of men and women, spies and journalists, lovers and brothers, each caught up in the last days of the Cold War--triumph is accompanied by terror and freedom is laced with danger. From revelry in Berlin to riots in Prague, uneasiness in Budapest to uprising in Romania, this beautifully crafted thriller takes us back to a cataclysmic moment that changed our understanding of the world--and of ourselves.

* Includes a Readers Guide inside, as well as an exclusive interview in which John Marks addresses the political and social significance of the Wall
* Author's literary and journalistic talents combine to create a thriller that's both exciting and enlightening--filled with the authentic atmosphere gained from his five years in Berlin
* A "history lesson through fiction," a la Cold Mountain, Los Alamos, Memoirs of a Geisha, or An Instance of the Fingerpost
* Includes a map of central Europe and chronology of historic Cold War events

"Insightful...gripping...[Marks] manages to capture perfectly the heady mixture of hope and fear surrounding the collapse of the East German government in 1989."--Chicago Tribune

"A former Berlin bureau chief for U.S. News & World Report, Marks handles his involved story line with assurance. An intelligent, memorable and thoroughly engaging debut."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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Review:

When was the last time you read a thriller with half a dozen major characters, all of whom you could believe in? John Marks pulls off this amazing trick in his first novel--and also manages to capture perfectly the heady mixture of hope and fear surrounding the collapse of the East German government in 1989. Captain Nester Cates, a 35-year-old African American intellectual and former radical who is now working for U.S. Army Intelligence is not the most popular man in West Berlin. Ridiculed by his military colleagues for his interest in obscure concepts such as democracy and German culture, Cates befriends another Army outcast named Stuart Glemnick--a complex, weak man with a shadowy past in the Middle East. Glemnick quickly gets Nester and several other key characters (including Glemnick's brother, a conflicted entomologist who sees everything in terms of bugs) into serious trouble by defecting to the East just a few hours before the Berlin Wall comes down. The cast also includes a wonderfully gutsy, naive young American journalist who stumbles into a career-making situation, and one of the scariest CIA spooks ever--Carlton Styles, who lost much of his face and mind to a terrorist bomber. Carlton is now convinced that the man who disfigured him is masquerading as the bug expert. Author Marks covered Eastern Europe for U.S. News & World Report, and scenes like the attack on demonstrators in Prague vibrate with authenticity that could only come from firsthand experience with Iron Curtain culture. --Dick Adler

About the Author:

John Marks has written for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal in addition to spending five years in Berlin for U.S. News & World Report. He holds an M.F.A. from Iowa.

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