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BOOKS

The following books were either mentioned or reviewed on The Berlin Spectator.

Penny Bochum: ‘We are the People’

Germany has a phenomenon called ‘AfD’, an extremist right-wing party that has entered all sixteen state parliaments and the Berlin Bundestag. The British researcher Penny Bochum examines its rise in her new book.

In the United Kingdom, there is a lot of interest in regard to a party that calls itself ‘Alternative für Deutschland’ (AfD). But there was hardly any material in English, until Penny Bochum released her book ‘We Are the People’.

She is a political researcher and writer who is active in both Berlin and London. In Britain, she has worked for Labour MPs and contributed several publications including ‘Can Labour Win? The Hard Road to Power’. In the German capital, it was the Social Democratic Party’s parliamentary group at the Bundestag Penny Bochum cooperated with.

Read interview with Penny Bochum on The Berlin Spectator

Penny Bochum: ‘We are the People’, 8.33 Euro, via amazon.de

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VIEW AND/OR PURCHASE VIA AMAZON U.K.

Iain MacGregor: ‘Checkpoint Charlie’

Iain MacGregor with his book. Photo by Adrian Pope

Along with Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie symbolized the Cold War when it was going on. And it does today, more than 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ is also the title of Iain MacGregor’s new book.

The United States confronted the USSR at Checkpoint Charlie. In 1961, East Germany committed a billion Dollars to the creation of the Berlin Wall, an eleven-foot-high barrier that consisted of seventy-nine miles of fencing, 300 watchtowers, 250 guard dog runs, twenty bunkers, and was operated around the clock by guards who shot to kill.

In 1989, the East German leadership buckled in the face of a civil revolt that culminated in half a million East Berliners demanding an end to the ban on free movement. The world’s media flocked to capture the moment which, perhaps more than any other, signaled the end of the Cold War. Checkpoint Charlie had been the epicenter of global conflict for nearly three decades.

In his book ‘Checkpoint Charlie’, Iain MacGregor captures the mistrust, oppression, paranoia and fear that gripped the world throughout this period. Checkpoint Charlie is about the nerve-wracking confrontation between the West and USSR, highlighting such important global figures as Eisenhower, Stalin, JFK, Khrushchev, Mao Zedung, Nixon, Reagan, and other politicians of the period.

He also includes never-before-heard interviews with the men who built and dismantled the Berlin Wall, children who crossed it, relatives and friends who lost loved ones trying to escape over it, military policemen and soldiers who guarded the checkpoints, CIA, MI6, and Stasi operatives who oversaw operations across its borders, politicians whose ambitions shaped it and many more whose living memories contributed to the full story of Checkpoint Charlie.

Read interview with Iain MacGregor on The Berlin Spectator

Iain MacGregor: ‘Checkpoint Charlie via amazon.de, from 13.02 Euro
Iain MacGregor: ‘Checkponit Charlie’ AUDIO BOOK via amazon.de, from 40.93 Euro

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Antonio Reetz-Graudenz, Stephanie Niehoff:
‘Ein neuer Tunnel durch Berlin’

Berlin feiert 2020 die Fertigstellung eines seiner spektakulärsten Bauprojekte, nämlich die Verlängerung der U-Bahn-Linie 5 zwischen Alexanderplatz und Brandenburger Tor, mitten durch das Herz der Hauptstadt. Bereits vor 90 Jahren plante Ernst Reuter, damaliger Stadtrat für Verkehr, die vom Alexanderplatz in Richtung Osten führende U-Bahn-Linie E nach Westen zu erweitern.

Doch verhinderten die Weltwirtschaftskrise, die Nazi-Zeit und die deutsche Teilung die Realisierung dieses Vorhabens. Erst 1994 griff man die Pläne auf: Die nun U5 genannte Linie sollte bis zum damals im Bau befindlichen Hauptbahnhof verlängert werden. Zunächst entstand aber nur eine „Stummellinie“ zwischen Hauptbahnhof und Brandenburger Tor, die U55. Ab 2010 wurde dann die Schließung der Streckenlücke zwischen Alexanderplatz und Brandenburger Tor in Angriff genommen.

Der beste Aspekt? Der Bauleiter des enormen Projektes, Antonio Reetz-Graudenz, ist zugleich Fotograf. Er hatte während der Arbeiten stets seine Kamera dabei. Einhundertachtzig seiner umwerfenden Bilder landeten in diesem Buch.

Read The Berlin Spectator’s review of this photo book, in English.

Antonio Reetz-Graudenz, Stephanie Niehoff:
‘Ein neuer Tunnel durch Berlin’
, 20 Euro, via amazon.de

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