In 1987, President Ronald Reagan challenged the Soviet Union’s Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” Two years later, the Berlin Wall was inexplicably opened, allowing East Germans free access to the West for the first time since 1961.
How this happened is the subject of a book titled The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall by Mary Elise Sarotte. She draws on the accounts of real people on the ground to craft a compelling story of revolution, idealism, political infighting, deception and incompetence. The Collapse was named a “Best Book of 2014” by both The Economist and the Financial Times.
Sarotte is Dean’s Professor of History at the University of Southern California and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She also is a research affiliate with Harvard University’s Center for European Studies.