As a child growing up in the 1970’s I was always fascinated by (not to mention downright scared!) by the Soviet Union and the possibility of a nuclear war. But to be around in the early 1960s, when the world was arguably closest to disaster, was entirely different thing – when a key selling feature of a new home was a bomb shelter!
In this highly detailed account of an era that those who weren’t around may never understand, Greg Mitchell’s storytelling featuring detailed accounts from those who were there – making you feel as if YOU were actually there!
His research is deeply extensive and rich, providing a full picture of the times from virtually every perspective, painting a rich canvas of detailed account that for the first time, tell the WHOLE story.
What really captured my imagination while reading this book were the stories of those that actually escaped – all were riveting, many inspiring, and some heartbreaking. I was truly fascinated by some of the ingenious ways people were able to escape! The determination and bravery told in the stories by those who survived, and those who put their lives on the line time and time again to assist with the escape effort – some giving the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. While hundreds may have died in their attempt to escape (or help others escape), over five thousand made it to safety on the other side. Pretty amazing to hear that one of the escapees who was responsible for creating the tunnels went on to participate in the building of the Chunnel between France and England!
What I also found deeply interesting was the level of competition between the various American news reporting agencies to get the story – and even more bizarre to me, what lengths the US government went to suppress them (and makes you wonder how much of that still goes on today – probably a lot!) That said, Mitchell tells their side of the story too, and you truly get a feel for the urgency of the times to not make tensions between the Soviet Union and the US even worse than they already were.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in 20th century history, particularly around WW2 and The Cold War. I also think that people who like spy novels and political espionage would find a deep appreciation for this highly engaging and informative book.
Again, I received this book from bloggingforbooks in exchange for my honest review.
Available at Amazon: The Tunnels
Authors Page: Greg Mitchell