Listen free for 30 days

Berlin 1961

Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth
Narrated by: Paul Hecht
Length: 20 hrs and 5 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

A former Wall Street Journal editor and the current president and CEO of the Atlantic Council, Frederick Kempe draws on recently released documents and personal interviews to re-create the powder keg that was 1961 Berlin. In Cold War Berlin, the United States and the Soviet Union stand nose to nose, with the possibility of nuclear war just one misstep away.

©2011 Frederick Kempe (P)2011 Recorded Books

More from the same

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

the truth hurts<br />

the book interspersed the dry timeline of political events with the emotional human side well

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for theenglishmajor
  • theenglishmajor
  • 26-06-11

I am scared in retrospect

I was living in Berlin as an American military dependent during the time period that this book examines. I was horrified to learn how close we came, those of us living in West Berlin and going about our daily lives, to being vaporized by the Russians. I must have sensed the anxiety because I remember vividly asking my father on a regular basis "If we went to war with the Russians, who would win?" I remember the question. I do not remember the answer. My father was the commanding officer of AFN Berlin, the American Forces Network radio station at the time. We had no TV. We only had the radio. I remember all the circumstances described in the book. I was largely unaware of the context. Indeed, I was in East Berlin on a "tour" with my sister and a Swedish cousin who was visiting, one week before the wall went up. I was actually in Sweden visiting relatives with my parents the day the wall went up on August 13, 1961. I remember vividly the trek thru the Eastern Germany and the Checkpoint like a Hitchcock movie. We hurried back to West Berlin as my two younger brothers were still in the city in the care of a babysitter. My father is no longer alive to discuss these events with me so I only have the memories of the time and the conversations we had about those events. I found this book to be so insightful albeit terrifying. It is so frightening to learn after the fact how close to the front line we were living (for 5 years!) unaware of the danger we were in. Berlin, its charm and its drama had such an effect on all of the Americans that lived through those days that we have "found" each other and formed a group, a collective it you will. The experience defines us like no other experience has. Mr. Kempe did an outstanding job bringing those days to life again.... in all their triumph and fear. Reading the book I felt in a way that family secrets were being revealed. Enjoyed this book immensely and have recommended it hi

44 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for A. M.
  • A. M.
  • 07-01-16

Important history well told

Any additional comments?

Easy to follow and well narrated. A story full of interesting insight with just enough relevant detail to fill up the canvas. A gut-wrenching tale of how close we came to nuclear war. A war prevented in spite of the foibles of men, skewed perceptions of the other, and the chance of history. The wall was an afterthought that came about due to its own momentum. A band-aid that held throughout the Cold War.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for I. M. Rightwriter
  • I. M. Rightwriter
  • 22-04-15

Superb in every way

A very well written, and equally well read, telling of the behind-the-scenes facts during a dangerously fascinating time in world history

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for philip
  • philip
  • 06-04-17

First rate history of often overlooked crisis

I give this book a 5 because it sustained an exciting narrative until the final scene. After going over every detail of the building cris over several months the author skips through the climatic showdown rather breezily. The epilogue reveals the authors neocon preferences for how Kennedy should have handled Berlin. Not a neocon myself but respect his points, worthy of debate. Highly recommend this book.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for C. Dunham
  • C. Dunham
  • 10-10-12

Eye opening

What did you love best about Berlin 1961?

I was a young child during this time, and didn't know about this. I had heard bits and pieces but nothing as detailed as this.

What did you like best about this story?

The history facts.

Have you listened to any of Paul Hecht’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, was just amazed that I had never heard the history stated in this way

Any additional comments?

No

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Damian
  • Damian
  • 04-12-19

What a terrific revelation of a potentially...

Cataclysmic year. There is so much to appreciate and applaud. The detailed but mesmerizing research, the fair delivery (not absurdly gilded by Kennedy Worship), the book is at once a cautionary tale in dealing with bullies and the much needed indictment - now that we have socialists running for the highest office - of a system that has its aim the subjugation of human excellence...if necessary through government maddened barbarity. As the son of a European immigrant whose family was murdered by Communists this book should be required reading before they head to the polls to vote for leaders steeped i in irresolution or weakness. Excellent!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Maureen
  • Maureen
  • 15-09-19

A Tense Moment In History

This was an excellent book with a good history lesson. Up to a point, the book told the story of how we got here. I was intrigued that many in 1961 believed that Germany would never be reunited. Of course, that did not happen. I was also amazed that no one really did anything stupid to start a shooting war. There were many tragedies when the Berlin Wall went up. This occasion separated families and friends. Many escaped the East, but many failed to do so at the expense of their lives. Frederick Kempe has written a great analysis of this time in our history and Paul Hecht does a great job bringing it to life. I highly recommend this book to help us avoid history from repeating itself.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lisa J. Shultz
  • Lisa J. Shultz
  • 09-09-19

Valuable history recounted

I have an interest in Berlin because of visits in 1979, 1985 and 2016. I saw the wall on the first two visits and studied the history and felt and experienced the two Berlins. I had no idea how complicated 1961 was and how close we were to nuclear disaster. I learned a great deal about President Kennedy and the President of the USSR and their chess moves that might have resulted in World War III.
Hits home how major leaders hold millions of innocent lives in their hands with their negotiations and decisions and power struggles. This book is a valuable history book and I am glad I listened to it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David T Siegrist
  • David T Siegrist
  • 26-08-19

What happens when you turn a blind eye to evil.

This book should be mandatory reading for all students to graduate from primary education. It reveals clear side by side comparison of socialist vs free market systems and the suffering inflicted by unbridled socialism.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Stevo
  • Stevo
  • 07-07-19

Slow getting going, but just like a freight train-

Slow getting going, but just like a freight train- hard to stop.
The combination of first person accounts with historical hindsight assembles the puzzle of the cold war in the early 1960s in a way that hasn't been done before.
It is a little dry and slow to get into, but if you focus on it long enough it becomes a digital page turner.
Good read (or listen).

1 person found this helpful