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Download Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth, by Frederick Kempe Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (317 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Frederick Kempe Narrator: Paul Hech Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 June 1961, Nikita Khrushchev called Berlin “the most dangerous place on earth.” He knew what he was talking about.

Much has been written about the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later, but the Berlin Crisis of 1961 was more decisive in shaping the Cold War—and more perilous. It was in that hot summer that the Berlin Wall was constructed, which would divide the world for another twenty-eight years. Then two months later, and for the first time in history, American and Soviet fighting men and tanks stood arrayed against each other, only yards apart. One mistake, one nervous soldier, one overzealous commander and the tripwire would be sprung for a war that could go nuclear in a heartbeat.

On one side was a young, untested US president still reeling from the Bay of Pigs disaster and a humiliating summit meeting that left him grasping for ways to respond. It would add up to be one of the worst first-year foreign policy performances of any modern president. On the other side was a Soviet premier hemmed in by the Chinese, East Germans, and hardliners in his own government. With an all-important Party Congress approaching, he knew Berlin meant the difference not only for the Kremlin’s hold on its empire but also for his own hold on the Kremlin.

Neither man really understood the other; both tried cynically to manipulate events. And so, week by week, they crept closer to the brink.

Based on a wealth of new documents and interviews, filled with fresh—sometimes startling—insights, written with immediacy and drama, Berlin 1961 is an extraordinary look at key events of the twentieth century, with powerful applications to these early years of the twenty-first.

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Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Ashley | 2/9/2014

    " I'm disappointed with this book. The editing was horrible - "the senator from Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona"... factually wrong at parts concerning the personal life of JFK.. John Kennedy Jr. was NEVER called John-John... The author had, from my perspective, a lack of respect that both Khrushchev and Kennedy deserve regarding their political power and the decisions they made. Honestly, I'd like to see the author do a better job at running a super power. Condescending throughout the whole book... AND his opinion was peppered throughout!!! Did the author miss the memo that non-fiction is supposed to be opinion free. The person reading their work is obviously smart enough to come up with their own conclusions. Shame on this author.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Bonnie | 2/2/2014

    " If you were only a child in 1961, but remember being asked by your teacher at school to see how fast you could run home from the school as I was, this book will fill in all the events (in an almost daily recap) that made that year such a dangerous one in world events. Also helped me understand the brashness of Kruschev, the immaturity of Kennedy, the big egos of both and what that would mean for an unstable and dangerous year in history. How could the eyes of our leaders be so dimmed as to not see what was coming? An excellent read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mickey Mantle | 1/29/2014

    " Fantastic. John Kennedy put to the 2 year test by the Soviets. Berlin and Cuba. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Bradley Skaught | 1/28/2014

    " A missed opportunity on many levels. The Berlin wall and all of the events that surround its creation are fascinating, but, strangely, not particularly momentus. The Vienna summit is an event and the wall going up is another explosive moment, but the rest is diplomacy and Kempe is not well enough equipped to give that much dramatic shape or momentum. Kempe's attempt to weave in the personal stories of German citizens whose lives were affected by the Wall is admirable, but it's done in a somewhat haphazard and peripheral way -- the human element is not compellingly intergarted into the story. Kempe's relentless Kennedy-bashing is tiresome, too, and ends up coming off as a personal/ideological grudge that, ultimately, made me distrust the general tenor of the book. Some interesting information, and the section dealing with the actual construction of the wall is fascinating, but ultimately a story that will hopefully be better told by someone else. "

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About the Author

Frederick Kempe is president and CEO of the Atlantic Council, a foreign policy think tank and public policy group based in Washington, DC. He is an award-winning journalist, a New York Times bestselling author, and a regular commentator on television and radio programs in Europe and the United States. He spent almost thirty years with the Wall Street Journal as a columnist and assistant managing editor; he also served as Wall Street Journal Europe’s editor and associate publisher for seven years. During his time as an editor, Kempe won many distinguished awards and honors, including the Harold Wincott Award for UK Business Journal of the Year, the Media Tenor Award, and two Pulitzer Prizes won collectively with his news team. He holds a master’s degree from Columbia University and is also a graduate of the University of Utah. He has received a number of honorary doctorates from universities around the world and is currently a fellow at Oxford University’s Said School of Business. Kempe also serves on a number of boards of directors, including the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University and the Transatlantic Policy Network. Currently, he lives with his wife and their daughter in Washington, DC.