The Day Before the Berlin Wall Construction Warning Sign

Review by E.W. Brooks

The Day Before the Berlin Wall: Could We Have Stopped It?
— An Alternate History of Cold War Espionage
Released on the 21st anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall
9 November 2010
from T.H.E. Hill, the author of
Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary

National Indie Excellence Book Award 2011

Branson Stars and Flags Book Award Historical Fiction 2011


Memories may be forever, but mostly in the eyes of the beholders-whose recollections both dim and somehow get altered in the retelling.  Now we are being told that West Germany would have traded off West Berlin to the East German government; and T.H.E. Hill proposes that the Wall might never have been built if …

For those of us serving in the US Army Counterintelligence Corps in West Germany in the late 1950s-early 1960s, though not in West Berlin with the 513th, The Day Before The Berlin Wall reminds us of our time in the military in several regards.  In general terms, the main protagonist's level of education (and future aspirations outside the military) recall serving during the time of the draft.  To be sure, everyone in CIC had enlisted (a handy way to dodge the draft!), and we had done so to avoid grunt duty as well as gain skills like languages and, well, lock-picking after our single tour of duty.  Most probably never used either of those skills again, but even if not the likelihood of serving overseas gave an added meaning to military service being a life-altering event.

For those who spent time in West Germany during the post-World War II occupation, the glossary also is useful as a vocabulary test/reminder of those forgotten days.

As a jaundiced historian, I enjoyed the 'what if' angle even if the super fast-paced events (and remarkable coincidences) strained the imagination.  But perhaps the most creative aspect of this work is the constant debate-literally at every turn of events-between the hero and his conscience.  We all frequently suffer self-doubt , and this work raises that reality to an art form.

E.W. Brooks

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