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Checkpoint Charlie


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About the Author

Iain MacGregor is a graduate of modern history, and a non-fiction publisher with over twenty-five years' experience of working with authors including Simon Schama and Max Hastings. His first book, To Hell on a Bike: Riding Paris-Roubaix, The Toughest Race in Cycling, was a love letter to cycling. It was published by Bantam Press in 2015 and was shortlisted for Cycling Book of the Year at the 2016 British Sports Book Awards.


MacGregor has put together a lively, evocative account of the life and death of the world's most notorious wall. In capturing the essence of the old Cold War he may just have helped us to understand a bit more about the new one -- Roger Boyes * The Times *
Full of harrowing stories and riveting eyewitness accounts of life in the East, but what lingers in the memory is a sense of human resilience and ingenuity . . . This history is an invaluable reminder of both why the Cold War needed to be fought and why totalitarianism must always be resisted * Mail on Sunday *
A fascinating and telling reminder of what was perhaps the most potent symbol of the Cold War . . . MacGregor's book is, as well as being a history of the Wall, an invaluable scene-setter for the status quo ante . . . thorough and engaging . . . Iain MacGregor writes with great fluency and narrative drive . . . a powerful and moving experience -- William Boyd * New Statesman *
A rich collection of tales from cold war Berlin captures the city's mad complexities . . . Lively . . . the voices [MacGregor] has saved, and the richly researched skill of his narrative at big moments, rescue an echo of one of the many lost Berlins -- Neal Ascherson * Observer *
This remarkable book about the Berlin Wall, which has been the subject of everything from diplomatic histories to spy thrillers, is different. Based on extensive, detailed interviews with people on both sides of the wall - soldiers and civilians, communists and anti-communists, spies, intellectuals and ordinary citizens - it offers a riveting panorama of everyday life as it was actually lived at ground zero of the cold war * William Taubman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era *
Fascinating and original... the story not just of the Berlin Wall, but of the people on either side of it * Jeremy Bowen *
With its wealth of eyewitness stories, this book proves how understanding the last Cold War is crucial for anyone who wants to understand the new one * Martin Sixsmith *
As an aspiring student of modern history in the 1980s, the Berlin Wall and the monstrous regime at its heart, dominated my thinking. It is difficult to believe now - much like the Cold War itself - that we all thought the Wall was so immortal. As a writer of oral history, I have enjoyed MacGregor bringing the stories of the people who populated this barrier to life. We need to remember * Joshua Levine, bestselling author of Dunkirk *
A peoples' history of the wall that is tense, exciting and moving, telling us the stories of the families the wall tore apart, the soldiers who faced one another across it, the spies and journalists who operated behind it, and the East Germans who risked everything to break through it to freedom * James Barr, author of Lords of the Desert *
MacGregor compellingly portrays Berlin's overarching geo-political story, and brings it alive through the personal experiences of the individuals at its heart * Jonathan Fenby, author of The General *
The fall of the Berlin Wall was a seismic event in the story of the 20th century. In Checkpoint Charlie, Iain Macregor re-creates the drama and meaning of that moment. With a gripping narrative and vivid interviews with those on all sides whose lives were directly affected by that grim symbol of the East-West divide that poisoned Europe for almost half a century, he has made an important contribution to the history of our times * Jonathan Dimbleby *
A wonderful approach to the history of the Cold War, tackling the complex legacy of the Berlin Wall through the men and women who lived in its shadow. Weaving together personal testimonies, this book offers a valuable insight into history as it was lived, and shine an illuminating new light on an icon of the twentieth century * Duncan Barrett, New York Times bestselling author of GI Brides *
Checkpoint Charlie is emblematic of both the tension and romance of the pivot between a third World War and peace. Ian MacGregor captures brilliantly and comprehensively both the danger and exhilaration that I and other reporters, soldiers, and people experienced intersecting with the wall, and the fears and the eventual hope that flowed through it - a must read for anyone who wants to understand the Europe we have inherited * Jon Snow *

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