The Year That Changed the World

The Year That Changed the World

The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
Rate this:
ON THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL, MICHAEL MEYER PROVIDES A RIVETING EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF THE COLLAPSE OF COMMUNISM IN EASTERN EUROPE THAT BRILLIANTLY REWRITES OUR CONVENTIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THE COLD WAR CAME TO AN END AND HOLDS IMPORTANT LESSONS FOR AMERICA'S CURRENT GEOPOLITICAL CHALLENGES. " Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" President Ronald Reagan's famous exhortation when visiting Berlin in 1987 has long been widely cited as the clarion call that brought the Cold War to an end. The United States won, so this version of history goes, because Ronald Reagan stood firm against the USSR; American resoluteness brought the evil empire to its knees. Michael Meyer, who was there at the time as a Newsweek bureau chief, begs to differ. In this extraordinarily compelling account of the revolutions that roiled Eastern Europe in 1989, he shows that American intransigence was only one of many factors that provoked world-shaking change. Meyer draws together breathtakingly vivid, on-the-ground accounts of the rise of the Solidarity movement in Poland, the stealth opening of the Hungarian border, the Velvet Revolution in Prague and the collapse of the infamous wall in Berlin. But the most important events, Meyer contends, occurred secretly, in the heroic stands taken by individuals in the thick of the struggle, leaders such as poet and playwright Vaclav Havel in Prague; the Baltic shipwright Lech Walesa; the quietly determined reform prime minister in Budapest, Miklos Nemeth; and the man who privately realized that his empire was already lost, and decided -- with courage and intelligence -- to let it go in peace,Soviet general secretary of the communist party, Mikhail Gorbachev. Reporting for Newsweek from the frontlines in Eastern Europe, Meyer spoke to these players and countless others. Alongside their deliberate interventions were also the happenstance and human error of history that are always present when events accelerate to breakneck speed. Meyer captures these heady days in all of their rich drama and unpredictability. In doing so he provides not just a thrilling chronicle of the most important year of the twentieth century but also a crucial refutation of American political mythology and a triumphal misunderstanding of history that seduced the United States into many of the intractable conflicts it faces today. The Year That Changed the World will change not only how we see the past, but also our understanding of America's future.
Publisher: New York :, Scribner,, 2009.
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781416558453
Branch Call Number: 943.0009048 ME
Characteristics: xiii, 255 pages ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 01, 2014

I think the synopsis, as described under the Description tab ("Written at the lowest reading levels, the 50 page story structure...") is not related to the book in the title, which recounts the downfall of Communist regimes in 1989.

rsmbarlow Oct 09, 2012

What a great book! A real insider's view of an amazing sequence of events. Very readable - hard to put down.

Jun 24, 2012

An engrossing read that tells a complex story simply and passionately. There is a reason why the author is now speech writer to Ban Ki Moon - his prose is effortless. A dramatic on-the-spot review of the events, this is one of the best political histories out there.

Aug 26, 2010

Full of human detail and thoughtful insights based on eyewitness accounts about a pivotal period of world history, and it holds your attention like a thriller. You'll enjoy the ride, and there are ample citations at the back to satisfy your resulting appetite to learn more.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at APL

To Top