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Download The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill, by Greg Mitchell Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Greg Mitchell Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A thrilling Cold War narrative of two harrowing attempts to rescue East Germans by tunneling beneath the Berlin Wall, the US television networks who financed and filmed them, and the Kennedy administration’s attempt to suppress both films

In the summer of 1962, one year after the rise of the Berlin Wall, a group of young West Germans came up with a plan. They would risk prison, Stasi torture, even death to liberate friends, lovers, and strangers in East Berlin by digging tunnels under the Wall. Among the conspirators were a legendary cyclist, an American student from Stanford, and an engineer who would later help build the tunnel under the English Channel.

Then two US television networks, NBC and CBS, heard about the secret projects and raced to be first to document them from the inside. The networks funded two separate tunnels in return for exclusive rights to film the escapes, planning spectacular primetime specials. In response, President John F. Kennedy and Secretary of State Dean Rusk, wary of anything that might raise tensions and force a military confrontation with the Soviets, maneuvered to quash both documentaries.

As Greg Mitchell’s riveting narrative unfolds week by week, sometimes hour by hour, we meet extraordinary characters: the tunneler who had already served four years in the East German gulag; the Stasi informer who betrays the “CBS tunnel”; the young East Berliner who escapes with her baby, then marries one of the tunnelers. Capturing the hopes and fears of everyday Berliners, the chilling reach of the Stasi secret police, US networks prepared to “pay for play” yet willing to cave to official pressure, and a White House and State Department eager to suppress historic coverage, The Tunnels is “breaking history,” a propulsive listen whose themes still reverberate.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Greg Mitchell is the best kind of historian, a true storyteller. The Tunnels is a gripping tale about heroic individuals defying an authoritarian state at a critical moment in the Cold War. A brilliantly told thriller—but all true. KAI BIRD, author of The Good Spy
  • When you have read the last page of Greg Mitchell’s The Tunnels you will close the book—but not until then. ALAN FURST, author of A Hero of France and Night Soldiers
  • Greg Mitchell has written a riveting story focusing on one of the most powerful documentaries ever broadcast on television, NBC’s The Tunnel. Those of us who saw it that December night in 1962 have never forgotten the experience. Now Mitchell, an exemplary journalist, goes beyond what the cameras saw, deep into the political dynamics of Cold War Berlin. John Le Carré couldn’t have done it better. BILL MOYERS
  • The Tunnels uncovers an unexplored underworld of Cold War intrigue. As nuclear tensions grip Berlin, a whole realm of heroes and villains, of plot and counterplot, unfolds beneath the surface of the city. True historical drama. RON ROSENBAUM, author of Explaining Hitler and The Shakespeare Wars
     
  • A compelling look at a wrenching chapter of the Cold War that chronicles the desperate flights for freedom beneath the streets of post-war Berlin and the costs that politics extracted in lives. BARRY MEIER, author of Missing Man
  • This is not just an exciting escape narrative, but also an extraordinarily revealing political thriller, centering on ruthless government attempts to control what the public gets to see. Mitchell presents us with a radically changed perspective on one of the Cold War’s most dramatic episodes. His book is both priceless as history and just about impossible to beat for sheer narrative grip—a rare achievement. FREDERICK TAYLOR, author of The Berlin Wall and Dresden
  • Greg Mitchell has written a riveting story focusing on one of the most powerful documentaries ever broadcast on television, NBC’s The Tunnel. Those of us who saw it that December night in 1962 have never forgotten the experience. Now Mitchell, an exemplary journalist, goes beyond what the cameras saw, deep into the political dynamics of Cold War Berlin. John Le Carré couldn’t have done it better. BILL MOYERS
  • “Mitchell excels at describing the idealistic men and women who built the passageways that brought scores of refugees to safety, revealing the wall's symbolic importance and how it endured throughout the Cold War. He provides interviews with many important players who contribute to the fast-paced narrative. LIBRARY JOURNAL
  • This is not just an exciting escape narrative, but also an extraordinarily revealing political thriller, centering on ruthless government attempts to control what the public gets to see. Mitchell presents us with a radically changed perspective on one of the Cold War’s most dramatic episodes. His book is both priceless as history and just about impossible to beat for sheer narrative grip—a rare achievement. FREDERICK TAYLOR, author of The Berlin Wall and Dresden
  • Eye-opening and an exhilarating read. Not knowing who made it out of the East, and who was arrested, or worse, kept me glued to this book until the last page. The involvement of the Stasi, two American TV networks and America's State Department contribute to the historical perspective of this important work. ANTONIO MENDEZ, co-author of Argo
  • Shows the trade-off behind the scenes at one of the most pivotal moments in the standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union…A fascinating and complex picture of the interplay between politics and media in the Cold War era. WASHINGTON POST
  • Shows the trade-off behind the scenes at one of the most pivotal moments in the standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union…A fascinating and complex picture of the interplay between politics and media in the Cold War era. WASHINGTON POST
  • “Fascinating and deeply researched…Mitchell’s book provides a welcome reminder of the ingenuity and courage that people can display when politics and walls separate them from loved ones and a better life. But it’s also a testament to just how forcefully even ostensibly liberal administrations can suppress the media.
    CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
  • "A story with so much inherent drama it sounds far-fetched even for a Hollywood thriller...Mitchell tells a kaleidoscopic cold war story from 1962, recreating a world seemingly on the edge of a third world war. THE GUARDIAN
  • Mitchell delivers a gripping, blow-by-blow account of one grueling dig and dramatic rescue…Mitchell’s tense, fascinating account reveals how the U.S. undermined a freedom struggle for the sake of diplomacy. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)
  • The author ably captures the dedication of the men and women trying to get family, friends, and complete strangers to freedom… A gripping page-turner that thrills like fiction. KIRKUS
  • The Tunnels is one of the great untold stories of the Cold War. Brilliantly researched and told with great flair, Greg Mitchell’s non-fiction narrative reads like the best spy thriller, something Le Carré might have imagined. Easily the best book I’ve read all year. ALEX KERSHAW, author of Avenue of Spies
  • “Every hour of my year in East Berlin—1963/64—the escape tunnels beneath our feet were being dug. This is their story: those who dug them, those who used them and those who betrayed them to the Stasi. Fascinating—and it is all true.
    FREDERICK FORSYTH, author of The Odessa File and Day of the Jackal
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