Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain
Examines Burned Bridge, the intersection between two sister cities in East and West Germany, and reveals how the daily adjustments of anxious residents shaped the barrier that divided them.
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Oxford University Press, USA
(first published January 1st 2011)
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Edith Sheffer’s Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain is an ambitious work of social history that complicates post-war German history and the history of the Cold War. Sheffer does so by studying the iron curtain in Germany under the paradigm of border history. Thus, rather than rehash the well known tale of the Berlin Wall and the events surrounding its construction and fall, Sheffer focuses her attention on the interactions of two small towns in central Germany: Neustad...more
Very good read and well devised narrative. Some of its argumentative weaknesses can be attributed to the fact that it began as a Ph.D. thesis, written by a "brand new" historian. In light of this fact, it is actually fantastic. She describes the gradual development of a "mental" border in the minds of East and West Germans, and how this border was in many ways more powerful than the physical boundary that is so well known. Rather than focusing on Berlin, her story concerns the German towns of Ne...more
It's clear that the residents of the two towns at Burned Bridge made each other's lives difficult before the construction of the wall between them, but Sheffer could possibly have better supported her thesis that it was the case afterwards, as well. Otherwise a thorough and well-researched Alltagsgeschichte, written in an engaging and straightforward tone.