Berlin in the Cold War: 1959 to 1966 by Allan Hailstone
|Berlin in the Cold War: 1959 to 1966 by Allan Hailstone|
|Reviewer: Z J Cookson|
|Summary: A collection of almost 200 photographs that provide an interesting insight into the changing nature of the divide between East and West Berlin and a glimpse into life in the city during the Cold War.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 96||Date: October 2017|
|Publisher: Amberley Publishing|
Berlin in the Cold War: 1959-1966 contains almost 200 photographs taken by author / photographer Allan Hailstone in his visits to the city during this period. The images provide an insight into the changing nature of the divide between East and West Berlin and a glimpse into life in the city during the Cold War.
The book promises to provide a taste of this once dramatically divided city and it does just that. The pictures are presented chronologically and clearly labelled with the date the photograph was taken, accompanied by a brief explanation. Beyond that there is no narrative structure and the three photographs of Potsdam at the end, therefore, feel slightly incongruous.
Despite this somewhat strange ending, I very much enjoyed perusing this collection of photographs. All the pictures were taken before I was born and, although I have studied the Cold War, I hadn't appreciated that there was a reasonably relaxed approach to control of the border as late as 1960 with traffic moving freely between the sectors and often only a few signs noting where the border actually was.
The commentary in the book provides a personal take on the time with some interesting anecdotes from Allan's visits to this city. I was particularly intrigued by the explanation accompanying a picture of a house in East Germany which had the border fence for West Berlin directly in front of their window – in order be able to access that grassed area without undergoing controls the resident would have to travel to East Berlin several miles to the east, walk across to West Berlin and travel back again westwards. Quite a journey to reach a piece of land a metre in front of your house!
There is also a touch of humour in the explanations. I especially smiled at the inclusion of a picture of Allan's wife, Judith, staring longingly into the socialist paradise over the Berlin Wall and his comment that: Realising that her application to live in the democratic republic would almost certainly be turned down, she took the next best option. She married me the following year.
It's interesting to compare how the city changed during these years and, as a recent visitor to the city, how the city has or hasn't changed in the intervening decades. Some views are instantly recognisable and seem to have barely changed at all!
If you enjoyed the pictorial history in Berlin in the Cold War, you might also like Allan Hailstone's photographic chronicle of London - London A Portrait of a City 1950-1962. Alternatively, if you'd like to find out more about a real event in the Cold War, The Bookbag was impressed by the story of the attempt to recover K-129 in The Taking of K-129: The Most Daring Covert Operation in History by Josh Dean.
You can read more book reviews or buy Berlin in the Cold War: 1959 to 1966 by Allan Hailstone at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Berlin in the Cold War: 1959 to 1966 by Allan Hailstone at Amazon.com.
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