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Summary

The appearance of a hastily constructed barbed wire entanglement through the heart of Berlin during the night of 12-13 August 1961 was both dramatic and unexpected. Within days, it had started to metamorphose into a structure that would come to symbolise the brutal insanity of the Cold War: the Berlin Wall. A city of almost four million was cut ruthlessly in two, unleashing a potentially catastrophic East-West crisis and plunging the entire world for the first time into the fear of imminent missile-borne apocalypse. This threat would vanish only when the very people the Wall had been built to imprison breached it on the historic night of 9 November 1989. The Berlin Wall is the definitive account of a divided city and its people.

©2009 Frederick Taylor (P)2011 Audible Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Ultimately a little disapointing......

Having now read and listened to this book I would make the following observations:

1. It is probably a bit longer than it needs/should be and therefore feels overlong and laborious at times
2. It is frequently ruined by the comical German, Russian and American accents. Unnecessary and very irritating

The Berlin wall is one of the most significant political and social man-made structures of the last century and deserves a book that tells it's tale with more passion and pace

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Lots of content skillfully weaved together.

I thought this audiobook was amazing. I loved it. The book gives a lots of detail about the build up the wall's being built - Ulbricht's rise to power and so on. I also appreciated the many personal storys - Hagen Koch and Conrad Schumann for example.

I do, however, agree with the previous reviewer of this title that the accents get on your nerves a bit, especially in the beginning, but, actually, as the book went on, I began to accept them, appreciate them even.

Highly reccommended, by me anyway.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Poorly executed

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

No. Overlong and jumps back and forth, repeating content.

Would you be willing to try another book from Frederick Taylor? Why or why not?

No. Not unless he had better control from an editor

How could the performance have been better?

Get rid of the 'cod' foreign accents

Do you think The Berlin Wall needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. No need as the subject is covered fully.

Any additional comments?

The recording is full of retakes. It shows a lack of care by the publisher.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good account of recent history.

I enjoyed the book overall and thought the narrator very good. The accounts of the numerous escapes got a bit tedious at times but most were interesting. I would have liked a bit more on the demise of the wall but it would appear that the most important points of the history of the wall are well covered A good listen for anyone who enjoys modern European history.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellently researched and informative

It was gripping and informative from start to finish. The narration very clear and engaging.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Story of a wall..it's more interesting than it

This was the first book of Frederick Taylor's I came across. The Berlin Wall has always had a fascination for me, I'm not sure why it just did, perhaps it was because it was a tangible decide between east and west, between capitalism and communism or more likely it was because it open featured in one of the many spy-thrillers I loved so much as a child.


Professor Taylor's book is not a dry academic tome which you need a degree to enjoy and appreciate, all you need, and all I had was an interest in the subject. The Berlin Wall 1961 - 1989 begins with a brief history of Berlin, the origins of how the city came to be and the characters who ruled it before moving on to the purpose of the book - The Berlin Wall - from it's inception, construction, operation and sudden fall on 9 November 1989.


The book details the escapes both attempted and successful and the deaths of both escapees and guards 


I can't rate this book highly enough, I have read this book many times, it manages to take you effortlessly through the history of the wall, the people it affected and it's sudden demise in a really engaging way


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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew D. Brown
  • 11-06-13

Makes a dark chapter "enjoyable"

If you could sum up The Berlin Wall in three words, what would they be?

A big story

What did you like best about this story?

It covered all facets and not just personal or diplomatic but intertwined the stories to give a really complete future. So you learned about the effect of the Wall on people like many histories but also how it was planned and then executed At first I wasn't sure about the narrator, but as I went along his narration really helped the story along.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • M. Cutler
  • 16-01-17

Bad transfer from CD

Great story. Bad transfer from CD as various sentences and phrases would repeat themselves. In one case the entire name and title of the book was repeated. (I presume that this was were the end of one CD meet the beginning of the next CD.)

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Austin Weaver
  • 13-04-15

Good book so so reading.

Book had several repeats in the performance. Loved the depth of the authors knowledge of east Berlin. Other than recording issue it was worth the time

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Voler
  • 28-08-14

Excellent, intelligent, well-written book

What about Daniel Philpott’s performance did you like?

Unlike another reviewer, I wasn't bothered by Philpott's mimicking the speech of various politicians. It made the book clearer for listening purposes. The pronunciation was largely good and it always helps that the reader speaks with an English accent. American narrators a. Are often nasal and b. Mispronounce foreign words more

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

No but it was amusing at times in a cynical way

Any additional comments?

Good book, well worth reading

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 30-11-13

Marred only by the Narrator's Affectations

If you could sum up The Berlin Wall in three words, what would they be?

History worth knowing

Who was your favorite character and why?

It's a work of non-fiction. The question is inappropriate.

Would you be willing to try another one of Daniel Philpott’s performances?

No. His attempts to apply fake (and poorly executed) English, German and Russian accents to the quoted passages detracted mightily from the book. It's a piece of non-fiction, not a community theater stage play.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It's a work of non-fiction. This question is inappropriate.

Any additional comments?

The author has done an excellent job of telling the story of the Berlin Wall, providing considerable background that I was unaware of, even though I was born in Berlin in 1954. I expected the book to start in 1960 or thereabouts, but to my surprise it started long before then. The historical context added greatly to the story. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know about Berlin, its politics, WW2, the Cold War, East Germany's many deceptions, and the contributions of key historical figures. Kudos to Mr. Taylor ... and thanks!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Rahul
  • 23-08-13

Good overall but could be slightly shorter

I found this a very interesting and well narrated history of the Berlin Wall which did a good job of capturing the state of the world at the time and the global significance of Berlin. I did feel however that the book could have been made a bit tighter by not repeating quite as many stories of escapes which became slightly less interesting as more and more were discussed.

A worthy listen.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Simone
  • 23-05-13

TEAR. DOWN. THIS. WALL

I remember where I was when I heard The Wall was coming down. Do you? It was unbelievable - I still get goose-bumps when I see the footage; David Hasselhoff in the light-bulb jacket excluded.

Even more unbelievable then The Wall coming down, was it going up at all in the first place!!! I was born about 10 years later, and as a child I never really gave it any thought. I knew there was “a wall in Germany” but that was about it. When I was a teenager and learned it was built in 1961 I was astounded! That’s “modern times” I thought to myself, and how do you split up a major city with roads, and telephone lines, and trains, and a connected infrastructure!!! It’s so preposterous, yet it happened!!

And of course, who can forget Reagan’s famous commanding speech: TEAR. DOWN. THIS. WALL. Almost 25 years later it’s still powerful!

I am a bit disappointed with this book because I found it rather complicated to follow. I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but it goes into so much “political chess” that I lost track of who was who, who worked in what government department, what agency was in charge of what... and the alphabet soup of titles!!!!... forget it! I am more interested in things like the escapes attempts and how they were orchestrated, the culture and the climate of the city when The Wall was up and what daily life was like in the GDR from the perspective of the citizens, not the politicians.

The first third of the book was all about the history of Germany - interesting, but I could have skipped all of that. Overall I think I would have preferred something a little more concise; the book was too heavy on names and dates for me. If you want detail, you’ll love this book but I don’t need to know that this happened on the morning of July 3 1942 and that happened on June 8 1959 and this happened on January 6 1960 etc etc etc I am not going to remember ANY of those dates! I want a rundown of what happened, not the nitty-gritty of the exact moment in time a document was signed. Sure it’s all important information, but for me it’s too much detail.

I’m roughly 80% done with this book, and then I am going to read “Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall” by Anna Funder when I am done. I think it will give me a little more of what I am looking for... I hope!

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tara
  • 19-11-15

Overall great, except

Philpott's attempt at an American accent came across as more of a slight Irish accent. Good try, bud, good try.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jack
  • 30-07-12

Excellent narrative about a dismal era.

What made the experience of listening to The Berlin Wall the most enjoyable?

The compelling stupidity about the Cold War.

Who was your favorite character and why?

It didn't really have a "character".

What does Daniel Philpott bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He helps focus the events.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No, it was all very sad.

Any additional comments?

no

1 of 5 people found this review helpful