257 Following

Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic

Currently reading

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
Nancy MacLean
Progress: 134/574 pages
Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy
Christopher L. Hayes
Progress: 17/304 pages
The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance
Northrop Frye
Progress: 43/200 pages
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
Arlie Russell Hochschild
Progress: 96/454 pages
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
Ibram X. Kendi
Progress: 22/750 pages
All the President's Men
Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward
Progress: 73/383 pages
Women's Gothic and Romantic Fiction: A Reference Guide (American Popular Culture)
Kay Mussell
Progress: 17/157 pages
The Looking-Glass Portrait
Linda Hilton
Really Neat Rocks: A casual introduction to the rocks & gems of Arizona and the lapidary arts
Linda Hilton
Progress: 61/61 pages
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Jon Krakauer

Reading progress update: I've read 34 out of 320 pages.

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

The Berlin Wall went up quickly, overnight on 13 August 1961.  At first it was mostly barbed wire with some concrete, and for the first several months it remained relatively porous, easy to slip through at various points.  But as the barrier was fortified, those who wanted to escape to the West had a more difficult time doing it. 


Though Berlin was a divided city inside a divided country, travel between the sectors had been relatively free until that August.  That freedom, however, had allowed thousands of East Berliners to permanently leave for the western sector, and many of them were skilled professionals.  Not only was the cold war heating up, but the space race and technology competition were ramping up, too, and the eastern bloc couldn't afford to keep losing its best and brightest.


Some of those best and brightest went to work on tunneling to get their families and friends and even paying "passengers" under the Wall.


One of the most fascinating features of this book is that Mitchell had so much access to first-hand source information.  As he writes in the prefatory "Note to Readers,"


It incorporates no invented dialogue.  Re-created scenes are not imagined but based in most cases on accounts of two or more participants.  Unless otherwise attributed, anything between quotation marks is either actual dialogue (as recalled by a witness, often in an interview with the author) or from a memoir or other book, letter, oral history, court record, interrogation, White House transcript, or other document cited in the Notes. . . . All of the names are real. . . . [N]early all of the central events and episodes in this narrative (and surely the most exciting sections) are based on lengthy original interviews with nearly all of the key tunnelers, and several of the couriers and escapees. . . .


Yes, I'm only 10% in, but I already highly, highly recommend this book as a testament to the indomitable human spirit.  Goodness knows we need it these days!