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Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill
Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill | Greg Mitchell
14 posts | 3 read | 12 to read
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."
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Texreader
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Pickpick

An extraordinarily important book so we do not forget those who died for freedom, and those who risked their lives to dig tunnels. The epilogue is disturbing: there is a growing nostalgia for east Germany, that it wasn‘t so bad. Americans showed practically no interest in the anniversary of the fall of the wall. And the book divulges the beginnings of our abhorrent government practice of surveilling citizens (ironic?) and controlling the press. ⬇️

Texreader Slow in the chapters about the way American media succumbed to intervention by the president to “stop the presses,” it took a long time and willpower to stick through lots of detail. But it pays off in the end about lessons learned. And don‘t skip the epilogue. #readingeurope2020 #germany 4d
Librarybelle Sounds good! 4d
Eggs Yes-current ‘nostalgia‘ toward E. Germany would be abhorrent to those who lived through this horror. That‘s akin to saying the Holocaust ‘wasn‘t that bad‘. Germany and Russia were terrorist totalitarians - 💔 Heartbreaking. Nice review 👏🏻👏🏻 4d
Suet624 Great review! 4d
Crazeedi @Texreader so very true, many have forgotten the horrors of socialist regimes, its sad this isn't taught to our children anymore 4d
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Texreader
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Teenager Peter Fechter was shot and slowly bled to death trying to escape East Germany. The guards who shot him did not try to save him but waited till he died to retrieve the body. This was the eulogy at his funeral, summing up the communist state‘s explanation that no one was free to determine their own path. 😟

Megabooks 😢😢 2mo
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Texreader
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The conflict between East and West Germany and the Berlin Wall heightened fears of nuclear war. This excerpt from the tagged books note the poor attitude top officials had about protecting the world from nuclear war.

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Texreader
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And so President JFK set the precedent and spying on America‘s “free” press began.

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Texreader
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1. 64, probably a record for me!
2. To finish #LitsyAtoZ, which I did way ahead of schedule
3. Tagged. It‘s so good, but sad
4. Christmas time with family

25 points
Plus 1 for the post? (Help me here y‘all; I‘m new to the games)

#wintergames #tmskellington #christmastime @crimson613 @clwojick @StayCurious

Clwojick You‘ve got the scores correct! 25 for the game, and 1 additional for the participation. ♥️ 2mo
Texreader @Clwojick Thanks!! 2mo
Crimson613 26pts :D nice! I heard about the atoz challenge a lot, I'm thinking of joining next time xD who is tagged by? also that book you tagged for this post sounds so good! 2mo
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Texreader
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The more things change, the more they stay the same. Apparently president Kennedy didn‘t like bad press about the Bay of Pigs fiasco, a bad economy, and his failure to deal adequately with race discrimination. In one speech, he asked the public to consider the importance of increasing restraints on the “irresponsible” media. Whoa, I had no idea...but I guess it is the nature of the powerful to want to “power-protect.”

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Texreader
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Happy Thanksgiving fellow Littens! This dismal quote from the tagged book is a reminder of how much we should be grateful for, not the least of which that the wall came down, and forever serves as an example why walls are disastrous and dehumanizing.

Megabooks Can someone tell the president that? 2mo
GingerAntics @Megabooks I‘m pretty sure the president already doesn‘t see certain people as humans, like anyone whose bank account doesn‘t have at least 7 figures. 🙄 I really think this book should be required reading, just from the quotes @Texreader has posted. 2mo
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Texreader
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Honestly! Walls do not work! You can make them taller and thicker but it will never be enough.

Ok I‘ll try to quit spamming Litsy with quotes tonight, but this book is just so quotable!

GingerAntics Sounds like a book a few people need to read around here. 2mo
charl08 I've been listening to a podcast about a group that built a tunnel from the west to rescue family and friends. Amazing. Will add this one to the pile. 2mo
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Texreader
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Heartbreaking.

Liftin was the second to die trying to escape East Berlin within one week of the wall going up, but the first of many to be fatally shot.

This book holds no punches back from Kennedy‘s administration, which did little to nothing when the wall was threatened and started going up.

An unputdownable book and I‘m only on page 9!

GingerAntics Wow. This is amazingly important information to have, especially with what some folks want these days. 2mo
Texreader @GingerAntics I‘m afraid some might read it as an instruction manual: how to reward those “protecting the border” from undesirables. 😟 2mo
RachelO 😞 Sounds like a tough read. I‘m interested to see how you go with it. 2mo
GingerAntics There is always that risk, isn‘t there? 2mo
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Texreader
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Supremely accurate reference to Orwell!

“Few in East Berlin imagined that any sort of wall—or “anti-Fascist protection barrier,” as East German leader Walter Ulbricht dubbed it (proving he had read his Orwell)—could last for years.”

JoScho Hey lady, tracking says your holiday recipe swap was delivered. Did you get it? 2mo
Texreader @JoScho Yes! Just got home from out of town today late afternoon so I haven‘t opened it yet but it looks so exciting!! 2mo
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Texreader
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A sad East German joke. 😟

GingerAntics Oh wow, that terrible, but remarkably fitting. That‘s sad. 2mo
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Texreader
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Ebook on sale. I couldn‘t resist this one. Very high ratings.

Crazeedi Looks very good! 2mo
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Nitpickyabouttrains
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Pickpick

A lot of this book was the specific story of American news networks covering a tunneling operation. I loved the parts about the wall and the tunneling operations and digging, though.

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LibSciGirl
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Just got this book from Blogging for Books. Excited to check it out.