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This occasionally moving history of the Berlin Wall details many hundreds of escapes into West Berlin and many failures. Intertwined throughout is the story of Harry Seidel, who became known as the Pimpernel of the Wall. Seidel was a bicyclist in East Berlin who was being groomed for the Olympics. When the first barbed wire barrier went up, Seidel immediately began snipping his personal escape hatch. Later, he returned for his young wife and daughter. Meanwhile, an enormous groan went up from trapped East Berliners, rioting began and the Wall was strengthened. Many daring drivers crashed through the checkpoint gates to freedom, and many escapees died in the no man's land between the double rows of barbed wire. Seidel became passionately involved in rescue work, first using his own secret passage, then digging tunnels. He became too well known and his mother in East Berlin was imprisoned. A fixed idea grew in him to effect her escape. Eventually, he was captured and given life imprisonment. Other stories of martyrs of the Wall made world headlines. Several quite gripping pages are given to President Kennedy's visit to West Berlin, and the meaning of our defenses there is well defined.

Publisher: Doubleday