September 3, 2017

Reviews and Praise for The Tunnels

See below for praise from The New York Times Book Review,  Washington Post and many others (from Frederick Forsyth to Bill Moyers), for The Tunnels:  Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill (Crown).   Optioned for a movie with Paul Greengrass attached as director.  Featured interviews with NPR’s Scott Simon and on C-SPAN’s Book TV.  Order and read more by clicking cover at right or go straight to Amazon.  For another brief summary, go here.

“The greatest strength of The Tunnels is in the details….Days after finishing the book I could not escape one of Mitchell’s images–of a hat with a small hole in it landing softly on the Western side of the border while its owner’s dead body fell back into the East, waiting for the guards to hurry it out of sight. For those who see walls as the answer to policy problems, this book serves as a stark reminder that barriers can never cut people off entirely but only succeed in driving them underground.” — The New York Times Book Review

“Shows the trade-off behind the scenes at one of the most pivotal moments in the standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union…A fascinating and complex picture of the interplay between politics and media in the Cold War era.” – Washington Post

“A terrific new book about a heretofore obscure episode regarding the wall in 1962. A must for all the JFK fans.”
—Charles P. Pierce, ESQUIRE

“Greg Mitchell has written a riveting story focusing on one of the most powerful documentaries ever broadcast on television – NBC’s The TunnelThose of us who saw it that December night in 1962 have never forgotten the experience.   Now Mitchell, an exemplary journalist, goes beyond what the cameras saw, deep into the political dynamics of Cold War Berlin.  John le Carre couldn’t have done it better.”  Bill Moyers

“Every hour of my year in East Berlin–1963/64–the escape tunnels beneath our feet were being dug. This is their story: those who dug them, those who used them and those who betrayed them to the Stasi. Fascinating – and it is all true.” — Frederick Forsyth, author The Odessa File and Day of the Jackal

‘Engaging…Mitchell’s interviews with the tunnelers, couriers and escapees put a human face on this dramatic experience. The airless heat inside the tunnels is palpable; so, too, are the tunnelers’ dismay, exhaustion and fear as they hear border guards above them and cope with flooding along their routes. These are heart-racing tales, and Mitchell — author of several books on U.S. politics and history — narrates them with emotion and evocative detail….The intense drama and risks involved for the tunnelers and the escapees offer a compelling context for today’s refu­gee crisis.”–Washington Post Book World

The Tunnels is one of the great untold stories of the Cold War. Brilliantly researched and told with great flair, Greg Mitchell’s non-fiction narrative reads like the best spy thriller, something John le Carre might have imagined. Easily the best book I’ve read all year.” —Alex Kershaw, author of Avenue of Spies and The Liberator

“When you have read the last page of Greg Mitchell’s The Tunnels you will close the book—but not until then.” —Alan Furst, author of A Hero of France and Night Soldiers

“Fascinating and deeply researched…a welcome reminder of the ingenuity and courage that people can display when politics and walls separate them from loved ones and a better life.” — Christian Science Monitor

“Thrilling and meticulously documented…Mitchell masterfully guides the reader through a labyrinth of details, intertwining the narratives to show how the tunnelers, the NBC crew (led by correspondent Piers Anderton) and the politicians played their parts on the stage of history.”  — Dallas Morning News

“Another one for the ages… this account of the tunnels under the Berlin Wall and the efforts by mainstream media to document and even fund their development (squashed by JFK, no less) is quite riveting.”— INC, John Brandon

“A story with so much inherent drama it sounds far-fetched even for a Hollywood thriller….Mitchell tells a kaleidoscopic cold war story from 1962, recreating a world seemingly on the edge of a third world war. ” —The Guardian.

“A gripping, blow-by-blow account….Mitchell’s tense, fascinating account reveals how the U.S. undermined a freedom struggle for the sake of diplomacy.”  Publishers Weekly, starred review.

“Mitchell deftly navigates the mad months of 1961-62 when East Berlin was trying to wall off the West, Cuba was turning deep Red, John Kennedy was getting his presidential sea legs, and the world seemed bound for hell in a nuclear handbasket….Mitchell closes his energetic and illuminating narrative by noting that, after jousting with NBC and CBS, Kennedy ordered up Project Mockingbird, a domestic CIA program aimed at reporters and foreshadowing so many other aspects of the American future.” — American History magazine

“A gripping page-turner that thrills like fiction.” Kirkus Reviews.

“This is not just an exciting escape narrative, but also an extraordinarily revealing political thriller, centering on ruthless government attempts to control what the public gets to see.  Mitchell presents us with a radically changed perspective on one of the Cold War’s most dramatic episodes. His latest book is both priceless as history and just about impossible to beat for sheer narrative grip. Hats off to the author for this rare achievement.”  –Frederick Taylor, author of The Berlin Wall and Dresden

“Eye-opening and an exhilarating read. Not knowing who made it out of the East, and who was arrested, or worse, kept me glued to this book until the last page. The involvement of the Stasi, two American TV networks and America’s State Department contribute to the historical perspective of this important work.”–Tony Mendez, author of Argo

“Enormously dramatic and extremely insightful.” — John Batchelor,  Westwood One radio

“Mitchell excels at describing the idealistic men and women who built the passageways that brought scores of refugees to safety, revealing the wall’s symbolic importance and how it endured throughout the Cold War. He provides interviews with many important players who contribute to the fast-paced narrative.”  –Library Journal, September 2016

“Greg Mitchell is the best kind of historian, a true storyteller. The Tunnels is a gripping tale about heroic individuals defying an authoritarian state at a critical moment in the Cold War. A brilliantly told thriller—but all true.” —Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Good Spy and American Prometheus

The Tunnels uncovers an unexplored underworld of Cold War intrigue. As nuclear tensions grip Berlin, a whole realm of heroes and villains, of plot and counterplot, unfolds beneath the surface of the city. True historical drama.”  —Ron Rosenbaum, author of Explaining Hitler and The Shakespeare Wars

“A compelling look at a wrenching chapter of the Cold War that chronicles the desperate flights for freedom beneath the streets of post-war Berlin and the costs that politics extracted in lives.” —Barry Meier, author of Missing Man

“Mitchell’s account of the daring attempts at escape makes for a page-turner; the book reads like a spy thriller.  The book is well researched and documented. Interviews with both tunnelers and escapees, recently declassified State Department files, network film archives and Stasi archives provide a strong foundation for this chronicle of Cold War intrigue.” — The Missourian

“A narrative full of interest and acute observation.”  The Scotsman magazine