A selection from The Magic Lantern, Timothy Garton Ash’s classic first-person history of the Revolution of ’89 and the end of the Cold War—an on-the-ground glimpse of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
“In the beginning was the Wall itself.” So writes matchless chronicler and observer Timothy Garton Ash on the strange life and stranger death of the Wall that divided two worlds. Garton Ash takes the reader with him as he walks through the Wall and across no-man’s land in early November of 1989, where as recently as that February a man attempting to cross had been shot dead. But November 9 ushers in a new world. Garton Ash introduces us to the East Berliners lining up for the “greeting money” offered at banks; the newfound wanderers looking for the ferry to England; and the chaotic, intoxicating political atmosphere sweeping through the reunited city. This is a vivid and enduring picture of a defining moment in history, when a wall came tumbling down.
Timothy Garton Ash is the author of seven previous books of political writing and “history of the present,” which have charted the transformation of Europe over the last quarter century. They include The Polish Revolution, The Uses of Adversity, The… More about Timothy Garton Ash