9 November 2010
from T.H.E. Hill, the author of
Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary
The Day Before the Berlin Wall is not James Bond, but as Director Tomas Alfredson in an interview with Wired.com, "James Bond films are great to look at and a lot of fun but they are fairy tales. They are not in any way close to anything in reality in those days within MI5 or MI6. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is not a documentary of course, but I wanted to do a film that was accurate about how it felt and how it looked, and give at least an interpretation of how it actually was."
The same sentiment applies equally to The Day Before the Berlin Wall.
To learn more about these Berlin Brigade Americans in Berlin Cinderella Stamps, please click on the images above.
T.H.E. Hill, who rose to prominence with his first Berlin book, Voices Under Berlin, knows the city like the back of his hand. He understands the workings of the East German secret police, the Stasi. He has a great feel for the mindsets of the civilian police forces in both parts of the city. And he has an intimate knowledge of the American forces then present in Berlin, their culture and their way of functioning. This is a great tool bag from which to draw in creating a thoroughly enjoyable story.
The reader, after finishing it, might easily conclude that though the book is fictional, it might not be too far off the mark in terms of what actually happened on the day before the Berlin Wall went up.
You can read the rest of his insightful review here.
A British reviewer on Amazon.UK says: "Having lived in Berlin myself from 77 to 89, I was interested in seeing and reliving places and times gone by..... wow.... was not disappointed!. Been to Harnack House and Andrews Barracks. A fantastic book by to me , an unknown author. As this book was A cheap and B a very good read, I downloaded another about the American listening tunnel in the 1950's in Berlin. Another must read."
Writing at The Book-Trotter, Kristin Pace say: " The Day Before the Berlin Wall is a very interesting read. … A great twist of an ending caps off an intriguing work of historical fiction, leaving the reader wondering “What if…?”
You can read all of her interesting review here.
"Just finished The Day Before the Berlin Wall. Quite a page-turner. I had to force myself to put it down from time to time to accomplish other necessary tasks! Thanks for writing such a great book. The 'internal dialogues' are a terrific device for telling the story."
"Out of the many historical fiction novels I have read, my favorite has to be The Day Before the Berlin Wall, by T.H.E. Hill."
Writing on her blog Moments, Kristie says: "Once you get into the book, it is difficult to put down and you will find yourself wondering 'what if' throughout this as history could have possibly been changed."
My Book Shelf says "From the very beginning of the novel, The Day Before the Berlin Wall, I was captivated. … The Day Before the Berlin Wall is a gripping tale not only for history buffs, but for lovers of stories of espionage, war, legends and unsung heroes. It would make a fascinating and controversial movie!"
She concludes by saying: "T.H.E. Hill has created a page-turner that the reader won't soon forget. The Day Before the Berlin Wall raises several questions. Should this legend be true, why didn't the US Army prevent the building of the wall, provided they were in possession of the intel? Was the soldier successful in passing on his information and, if he were, why did USA and Britain ignore it, allowing the wall to be built? Who benefited from it and how?"
You can read her whole, insightful review here.
Writing at The Musings of a Book Addict, Sandra Stiles says: "This book did not disappoint. … I won’t say anything further because I think everyone interested in this time period should read this book. One thing I found fascinating was the double ending. The reader is given a choice of how to end the fictional account, “correct or fictionalized”. I of course had to read both. "
Katherine, writing on her "Our Whiskey Lullaby" blog says, "I truly believe that this wasn't a legend at all. I think the United States knew about the wall before it was built, but we kept our mouths shut. This book is a great voice to us all and even though the story itself is fictional, the basis behind it, in my opinion, isn't. … This is a very well written book that everyone who believes in conspiracy should read."
Niki's Book Review says: "an interesting take on the Berlin Wall controversy."
MWSA says "This book really makes you think about the history of the Berlin Wall and how things might have been different."
Lisa Binion--BellaOnline's Fiction Writing Editor-- says, "The Day Before the Berlin Wall is a work of historical fiction that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It also makes you wonder if we did have advance knowledge that the Berlin Wall was going to be built. And if we did have advance knowledge of it, why didn’t we stop its construction? Was there a young man who risked life and limb to warn the US authorities of the impending wall?"
You can read her whole insightful review here.
Writing on the "Wheels Have Eyes" blog Miriam says: "The book was a bit difficult for me to follow at first as the informant had suffered from a head injury and he is carrying on conversations with various parts of his own mind. However, the more I read, the more this enhanced the story plot. I know little about this time period in history, but I found the book to be very informative, despite it being fiction. … I think that those who are interested in fictional history would appreciate the content of the book."
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.
You can read his whole review here.
Great story and an even better ride. For being in Berlin during the mid 80s, this story and the imagery you projected made me, at times, feel like I was back in streets of Berlin, the streets of 1961 Berlin. For the most part the twists and turns made this story seem like a cross between Jason Bourne meets Keanu Reeves & Sandra Bullock in “Speed.” Speaking of movies when it comes time to turn this story into a motion picture, I’d like to throw my hat in the ring to play Charlie :-)
— David Guerra
T.H.E. HILL’s book, The Day Before the Berlin Wall, is an excellent read. As any INTEL analyst of the Cold War Era knows, the book’s two alternative endings, the real and the fictional, could fit a number of international situations during the Cold War, be it the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964, or others more recent. Field collectors are the first to see, analyze and report on the raw intelligence but, what we saw was not necessarily what the public got after it had been through the National Policy filter.
I just finished reading The Day Before the Berlin Wall by T.H.E. Hill and was taken back to my time in Germany many years ago. Although the setting is in Berlin and I was in Augsburg, the narrative of everything from the mode of transportation, to the wonderful menus put me right back in Germany. I could smell the wurst and schnitzel and this added to my enjoyment. I must confess it took me a while to distinguish between the voices in his head, but that added to the fun. When I reached the end, I was sure I would enjoy the fictionalized ending, so I read it first, and was surprised that I enjoyed the historically accurate ending better. I’m not normally a history buff, but I was very intrigued imagining how one person could make a difference. Highly recommend reading this book.