A riveting eyewitness account of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War from the Newsweek Bureau Chief in that region at the time.
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, many still believe it was the words of President Ronald Regan, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" that brought the Cold War to an end. Michael Meyer disagrees and, in this extraordinarily compelling account, explains why.
Drawing together breathtakingly vivid, on-the-ground accounts of the rise of Solidarity in Poland, the stealth opening of the Hungarian border, the Velvet Revolution in Prague, and the collapse of the infamous wall in Berlin, Meyer shows how American intransigence contributed little to achieving such world-shaking change. In his reporting from the frontlines of the revolution in Eastern Europe between 1988 and 1992, he interviewed a wide range of local leaders, including Václav Havel and Lech Walesa. Meyer's descriptions of the way their brave stands were decisive in bringing democracy to Eastern Europe provide a crucial refutation of a misunderstanding of history that has been deliberately employed to help push the United States into the intractable conflicts it faces today.
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"The twentieth century ended with a bang in 1989 and Michael Meyer has vividly captured the drama, import and energy of that fascinating year....This is a riveting, rollicking read with many surprises along the way." -- FAREED ZAKARIA, AUTHOR OF "THE POST-AMERICAN WORLD"
"I thoroughly enjoyed "The Year That Changed the World." It is a gripping, colorful account of the rush of events that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet empire. It is also a convincing reappraisal of where credit lies and what lessons should be drawn for U.S. leadership." -- JAMES HOGE, "FOREIGN AFFAIRS"
"A coolheaded reconsideration of the revolutionary fervor that tore down the Iron Curtain in 1989...Meyer skillfully g rasps the crux of these events and ably conveys their remarkable significance. Meyer 'liberates' the record with sagacity, precision and remarkable clarity." -- "KIRKUS REVIEWS" (STARRED REVIEW)