From Publishers Weekly
Standing before Berlin's Brandenburg Gate in 1987, President Reagan delivered his famous challenge to Soviet Premier Gorbachev: to tear down the wall dividing East and West Berlin. Within two years, the wall crumbled, and the U.S.S.R. soon followed. Time magazine deputy managing editor Ratnesar has mined American and East German archives to produce a lively, impressively detailed history of the iconic speech. Despite impeccable conservative credentials, Reagan considered avoiding nuclear war more important than defeating communism. This only became obvious in 1985, when Gorbachev assumed the Soviet leadership. Over the course of several meetings, the two leaders developed a rapport and announced disarmament agreements that distressed Reagan's hard-line supporters. In early 1987, speechwriter Peter Robinson produced a draft containing the tear down this wall statement, followed by a tortuous four months of innumerable drafts and quarrels with high officials who considered it unnecessarily offensive. In the end, Reagan liked the phrase, so it stayed. Being the world's sole superpower has brought America little satisfaction, so readers should enjoy this slim, lucid account of a time when events turned out brilliantly. (Nov.)
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“Timely and insightful. . . Ratnesar’s book deftly explores the history of those famous words and highlights Ronald Reagan’s clarity of vision and commitment to the American ideal.” –Condoleezza Rice
“Romesh Ratnesar has produced a riveting account of one of the greatest speeches in modern times, which would have been enough. But along the way he has also written a brilliant and incisive history of the end of the Reagan Presidency and the Cold War. Tear Down this Wall affirms the power of words.”
--David Grann, Author of The Lost City of Z
“Fast-moving and splendidly written. . . a remarkable re-creation of the last days of the Soviet empire, with East Germany as the culmination of the Marxist dialectic, and the wall the perfect symbol for that strange alternate universe.”
–John R. Coyne, Jr., Washington Times
“Romesh Ratnesar has told the story with narrative verve, brilliant political and personal insight, and a combination of concision and pithiness worthy of the Great Communicator himself.”
--Strobe Talbott, author of The Great Experiment: Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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