1989 The Berlin Wall: My Part in its Downfall

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9781906413477: 1989 The Berlin Wall: My Part in its Downfall

It was an event that changed history, bringing the Cold War to a sudden, unexpected end. Peter Millar was in the middle of it, literally: caught in Checkpoint Charlie between bemused East German border guards and drunk western revellers prematurely celebrating the end of an era. For over a decade Millar had been living not just in East Berlin but also Warsaw and Moscow. In this engaging, garrulous, bibulous memoir we follow him on a journey into the heart of Cold War Europe. From the hitchhiking trip that helped him discover a secret path into a career in journalism, through the carousing bars of Fleet Street in the seventies, to the East Berlin corner pub with its eclectic cast of customers who taught him the truth about living on the wrong side of the Wall. We relive the night it all disintegrated, gain insight into the domino effect that swept through Eastern Europe in its aftermath and find out how the author felt as he opened the Stasi files and discovered which of his friends had - or had not - been spying on him.

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About the Author:

Peter Millar was born in Northern Ireland and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read French and Russian. He worked for Reuters news agency as the sole non-German correspondent in East Berlin in the early 1980s, also covering the Solidarity movement in Poland before moving to Warsaw, where he pressed the button to tell the world of the election of Mikhail Gorbachev, a defining moment in Soviet history. In 1985 he joined the Sunday Telegraph in the newly created role as Central Europe Correspondent - a title he invented to anticipate the dramatic changes about to overtake the continent - before moving to The Sunday Times, in early 1989, just in time to catch the climactic final stages of The Cold War. Millar was seized by the Volkspolizei on the streets of East Berlin during the demonstrations which accompanied Gorbachev's visit in October, interrogated by the Stasi and expelled from the country. Nonetheless he managed to get back by November 9, the dramatic night the Berlin Wall came down. These events form the background to his 2009 autobiographical book: 1989, The Berlin Wall (My Part in its Downfall), a title he freely admits much to the late Spike Milligan. He is a firm believer that there is humour (if occasionally dark) behind even the greatest historical events. In the 1990s Millar worked briefly with Robert Maxwell, as deputy editor of his ill-fated newspaper The European, a role he has since described as "like being aide-de-camp to Stalin." For the past decade Millar has concentrated on books, with two thrillers to his name and a third - The Black Madona - due out in the autumn of 2010. He is also author of All Gone to Look for America, a travel book reflecting his love of trains, history and good beer, crisscrossing the United States in a 10,000 mile journey on the now little used railways that were instrumental in turning most of a continent into a single nation. He is married with two grown-up sons, divides his time between the north Oxfordshire brewing village of Hook Norton and South London where he can often be found (often in a state of chronic despair and with fingernails chewed to the bone) following the vicissitudes inflicted by fate on his beloved Charlton Athletic.

Review:

'1989 The Berlin Wall is part autobiography, part history primer and part Fleet Street gossip column ... Millar cast aside the old chestnuts and set about reporting on the reality of life under communism. In bare Stalinist apartments, at hollow party events and over cool glasses of Volker the gravedigger-cum-hippie, the Stasi seductress "Helga the Honeypot", Kurtl the accordion player whose father had been killed at Stalingrad, and the petty smuggler Manne who has been separated from his parents by the Wall ... Energetic and passionate ...' * Sunday Times * 'The most entertaining read is Peter Millar's The Berlin Wall: My Part in its Downfall, a witty, wry, elegiac account of his time as a Reuters and Sunday Times correspondent in Berlin throughout most of the 1980s' * The Spectator * 'The best read is the irreverent and engaging account by Peter Millar, who writes for the Sunday Times among other papers. Fastidious readers who expect reporters to be a mere lens on events will be shocked at the amount of personal detail, including the sexual antics and drinking habits of his colleagues in what now seems a Juvenalian age of dissolute British journalism. He mentions his long-suffering wife and children rather too often, but the result is full of insights and on occasion delightfully funny. The author has a knack for befriending interesting people and tracking down important ones. He weaves their words with his clear-eyed reporting of events into a compelling narrative about the end of the cruel but bungling East German regime.' * The Economist *

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Book Description ARCADIA BOOKS, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. My wife sat at home in floods of tears, in front of the television, the uncomprehending toddlers tugging at her, asking Mummy, what s wrong? . If they d only known: I was hanging out on a busy street corner trying to coax three 19-year-old waitresses into a taxi to take them to the biggest party the world had seen in four decades. All over the planet people were celebrating but the predominant thing on my mind was, Damn, all this is happening 24 hours too early . The night was November 9th 1989, and the Berlin Wall was coming down. For perhaps the first time in a century the world was empathising with the Germans. Nobody had known it would. Least of all the intelligence agencies of the West, caught napping on the eve of their greatest victory as they would be again on September 9th, 2001, their greatest embarrassment. But then not even the men who gave the orders in east Berlin knew it would happen. Not even as they gave them. The fall of the Berlin Wall was the triumphant vindication of the cock-up theory of history. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9781906413477

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