Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill” as Want to Read:
The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill

by
3.83  ·  Rating details ·  446 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
A thrilling Cold War narrative of superpower showdowns, media suppression, and two escape tunnels beneath the Berlin Wall

In the summer of 1962, the year after the rise of the Berlin Wall, a group of young West Germans risked prison, Stasi torture, and even death to liberate friends, lovers, and strangers in East Berlin by digging tunnels under the Wall. Then two U.S. tele
...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 17th 2017 by Broadway Books (first published October 18th 2016)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Tunnels, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Lisa Wendell Thank you for posting this link. I watched the film. I was 9 when the wall went up and really never knew much about the Cold War era even though I…moreThank you for posting this link. I watched the film. I was 9 when the wall went up and really never knew much about the Cold War era even though I grew up during that time. I do vaguely remember some of my parent's discussions. To watch this now is a surreal step back in time. Sadly, we haven't come all that far in our evolution as humans. Wonderful work on your part for keeping this history alive.

(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Nancy
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few weeks ago the Facebook page for The Tunnels shared this post: "Monica Crowley, Trump's pick today as a top National Security adviser, tweeted quite seriously "Walls work" a few months ago in standing in front of and endorsing Berlin Wall (with this photo of her below)."

I had been reading The Tunnels for over a week when I saw this post. First, it was a nonsensible quip since the Berlin Wall was meant to keep citizens in East Germany, not to keep people from entering East Germany. And the
...more
Lori
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Do you ever read the description and think you can handle it? Then when you pick up the book, you get an eery feeling when you read inside, "A NOTE TO READERS".

Well, this happened to me when I picked up "The Tunnels".

This is not to say that I did not find a hint of humor in the writing that at times was very graphic. I actually thought the example of Adam and Eve was going to be humorous but instead it turned out to be a daunting reminder.

I wanted so much from this read and early on it hit me.
...more
Thomas
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cold War history fans
Recommended to Thomas by: LibraryThing
Shelves: history, librarything
This was a very informative book about a dark time for the city of Berlin, Germany. The book opens with an overview of why the Berlin wall was built in 1961. The national border of East Germany was tightly guarded, but the sector border with West Berlin was very porous. From the late 1940s to 1961 about 2.8 million East Germans fled to the West. Most of them came to the West via Berlin, That number was almost 20% of E. Germany's population and a high concentration of its skilled professionals.
In
...more
Kate
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For years I’ve held a fascination with the Cold War period and eagerly read a variety of espionage thrillers, historical fiction and factual material recounting life during these times, so when I heard about this book I knew it wasn’t one to pass up the chance to get an early copy to review.

Greg Mitchell takes a fresh approach to recounting history, his writing style makes this book read like an espionage thriller but all the while is informative and insightful. The numerous hours of research an
...more
Linda Marie Marsh
If it was possible to give this book 10* i would. Be forewarned, in all honesty it's not a book the reader will fly through, but WILL find thoroughly absorbing. I know this may sound stupid but i truly shook my head, said nooooo ..... YES!.....and kept those pages turning, you do get that wrapped into it.

Ok so the book is history, the Berlin Wall, an oft neglected subject following WW2. ( which is where my attention usually ends) But i pulled my head out of the sand and was amazed at what i'd m
...more
Matthew
First, the caveat - I received a free copy of the uncorrected proof for this book, from a Goodreads Giveaway.

This was an excellent book. The Berlin Wall was erected when I was a young child, and I remember my parents talking frequently about it. My father served in the post WWII Occupying Forces in Germany, he was a history teacher before and after military service, and what happened over there continued to play a significant role in his life, and thus in the family topics. I remember the escap
...more
Julie
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, non-fiction
I’m capping of 2016 with a review of one of the best nonfiction books I’ve read this year. The Tunnels is the compelling history of a city divided and plagued by the presence of the Berlin Wall. With families separated and citizens of East Berlin suffering under communist rule, many were desperate to escape to the West. When American television networks became aware of ambitious tunneling projects, they were eager to film the daring endeavors. The CBS tunnel got busted thanks to a Stasi informer ...more
Marty
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Received this in exchange for a review. Thank you.
I was in Berlin August 1961 with my parents, and we were some of the last Americans allow access into East Berlin. Thus I really wanted to read this book. I was not disappointed.
This is an excellent book on what life in the East and also West Berlin was like and to what lengths people would go to be reunited with family and loved ones.
The book mainly covers one particular tunnel, the lives the workers and how they just want to be with family and
...more
Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
It's all in here-- spies, secret tunnels, heroic reporters, communists, the threat of nuclear war. The only people who come off looking bad are the East German government and the Kennedy Administration.

After the Soviets put up the Wall to stop the annoying trickle of people leaving for the West, those who wanted to leave East Berlin had to find cleverer ways to get out. Swimming, diversions, hot air balloons, smuggling people out hidden in secret compartments of vehicles, and tunnels. Tunnels w
...more
Eric
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those stories that ought to be required reading for students of political science, and maybe just for an freedom-loving citizen. Those in the Communist east had applied labels to the tunnelers, their helpers, and anyone associated with those trying to escape as terrorists. The author, for the most part by my recollection, refers to the those fleeing the east as refugees. Of course, they too were criminals to the STASI. In any event, as Mitchel tells the story, one arrives at the p ...more
Pete daPixie
A very readable history, excellently researched, telling the story of a divided Berlin, the wall that separated East and West and the courageous young West Germans who tunnelled under this obstacle at the height of the Cold War.
Greg Mitchell's narrative captures the tensions of the times from the building of the wall in 1961 to its demise in 1989. A gripping chronological account of the struggles for freedom, the bravery of ordinary Berliners divided by political systems, who took great personal
...more
Jo
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, reviewed
The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall-and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill
By Greg Mitchell
Synopsis
"Fascinating--and it is all true!"-- FREDERICK FORSYTH, author The Day of the Jackal
A thrilling Cold War narrative exploring two harrowing attempts to rescue East Germans by tunneling beneath the Berlin Wall, the U.S. television networks who financed and filmed them, and the Kennedy administration's unprecedented attempt to suppress both films.
In the summer of 1962, one yea
...more
Tonstant Weader
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The Tunnels tells the history of several escapes under the Berlin Wall and the NBC documentary The Tunnel that chronicled one of the most successful tunnel escapes. It is pure history with no fictionalized dialogue, yet it remains as suspenseful as any spy thriller, not least because it is all true.

This book is thrilling, fast-paced, and suspenseful. The action in the first chapter was so fast and furious I wondered what was left for the rest of the book. No worries, there was plenty. Replete wi
...more
Helen
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction
This is an absorbing story about the idealistic and brave/foolhardy men and women who dug tunnels under the Berlin Wall and carried messages to would-be escapees, risking prison or death to help those trapped on the other side. It also is the story of the Kennedy Administration trying to control the press while dealing with Soviet missiles in Cuba and the possibility of nuclear war.

The Berlin Wall divided families and friends in Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Most of the action in the book takes plac
...more
Toni Osborne
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill

Taken from interviews, declassified files, film footage and Stasi archives the author chronicles how determined the Russians were to stem the tide of refugees crossing over, digging under and even crashing through the Berlin Wall.

Harry Seidel, an East German cyclist is the central figure who helped love ones and dozen to freedom. After people died trying to escape, with the help of many workers he began his fi
...more
Michelle
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was concerned that this was going to be a tough one to slough through. As a 90’s kid (specifically 1991) I have no real emotional attachment or memory of the Berlin Wall. You have that standard universal knowledge that there was a wall, and someone told some Russian to tear it down.(I Googled it, Reagan to Gorbachev) Other than that I didn’t have much starting knowledge. My other fear was that it was a nonfiction book, and therefore boring. As an ardent historical fiction reader, I tend to st ...more
Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall-and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill by Greg Mitchell is a non-fiction book about the infamous Berlin Wall and the tunnels being dug during the Cold War. Mr. Mitchell has wrote many non-fiction books on US politics and history.

The book supplies is a thrilling narrative, written in an exciting format exploring the attempts to rescue East Germans by building tunnels under the Berlin wall. The book specifically follows two attempts and
...more
Joyce
Not exactly what I expected. Not an action-packed and suspenseful adventure story of brave "partisans" digging under the Berlin Wall, right under the noses of the Stasi, and bringing out Germans from the eastern/Soviet zone. Will they make it?? Well, there is some of that but a bigger part of the story chronicles the attempts of American television companies to document the tunnel-building and escapes on film. Daniel Schorr started the movement but was shut down by his boss at CBS calling from D ...more
John Walker
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A powerful book on the brave men and women who dug the tunnels that freed many from East Berlin to West Berlin. Stories of them and of the brave East Berliners that made the underground trip to freedom.
Told by the diggers, the people they saved and by released documents that show the double agents with the Stasi that betrayed, killed and arrested them.
What is most interesting is the story of how CBS and NBC vied to bring documentaries of these tunnels to the American only to be silenced by not t
...more
Susan
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant examination of the time period just prior to the construction of the Berlin Wall all the way up until it was finally demolished in the name of freedom. The author focuses on the ordinary people who risked their lives and freedom to dig tunnels under the wall to help others from East Berlin escape to freedom in the West. Interspersed throughout are accounts of what was going on elsewhere in the world and how those events impacted the United States policies regarding Berlin, in ...more
Melinda M
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads-done
The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall-and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill by Greg Mitchell gives details to a dark but exciting time in the history of the Cold War and the city of Berlin. IT is well written and researched. It gives the details that history textbooks ignores. It also gives a view of JFK trying to control information. It is a wonderful addition to any history book collection especially those interested in the Cold War, JFK.German history, and/or Berlin hi ...more
David
Oct 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-history
In my sight, a well-told story but spent a little too long expressing its displeasure at the administration of John F. Kennedy and the US Department of State for my taste. I understand the neither was or is a shining beacon of freedom.

The author wants to present US government bureaucrats as villains. I can understand why. It is surely a sincerely held opinion for the author, with plenty of evidence to back it up. In addition, nobody wants to read a book about how US government bureaucrats, for
...more
Paul Grant
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant evocation of Berlin one year on from the division of the city. The various tunnels and their characters are vividly painted by Mitchell. The impact of these tunnels went all the way to the White House and Mitchell follows the action scene by scene. And, of course, it's all real! Excellent.
Shannon (Mrsreadsbooks)

The Tunnels explores two different harrowing attempts to rescue East Germans by tunneling underneath the Berlin Wall, the U.S. television networks who financed and filmed them and the Kennedy administration's unprecedented attempt to suppress both films. During the summer of 1962, 1 year after East German Communists built the Berlin Wall, a group of daring young West Germans came up with a plan. They would risk prison, Stasi torture and even death to help liberate friends, lovers and even strang
...more
Andy
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, nonfiction
When I was a kid, I enjoyed the exciting tales of tunnels and escapes from prisons such as Colditz and as a young kid, that was basically all they were – thrilling tales of adventures and escapes. So naturally, a book about the Berlin Wall and the escapes (mainly) underneath it was going to be intriguing reading. I can clearly remember the night that it was announced that the wall was coming down and free movement was now available so although the ending of the book was not a surprise, it was st ...more
Robin Morgan
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-own-books
I received an ARC [Advanced Reader’s Copy] of this book from the publisher and the following is my honest opinion.

The moment I’d received my ARC copy of this book I had been able to find a video for the “banned” documentary the government didn’t want anyone to see. The documentary did a marvelous job in presenting a visual of what the individuals involved in creating the tunnel and their successful escape to freedom. In the NBC documentary you got to see and understand the risks they had to face
...more
Cudeyo
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Libro no novelado recopilatorio de varias historias de fugas del Este al Oeste tras la erección del infame muro de Berlín, aunque centrándose sobre todo en las fugas realizadas a través de túneles excavados por gente corriente que quería ayudar a sus familias, amigos o simplemente a gente corriente como ellos.

El libro está escrito de una forma amena, intercalando las historias de los túneles con la ambientación histórica, política del momento: la crisis de los misiles de Cuba. Y es que si ya es
...more
Muphyn
Parts of it were quite interesting but it had way too many characters for me to have any chance of keeping people apart. I didn't much appreciate the whole action / thriller attempt at documenting the tunnel escapes, that just felt sensationalist to me.

In fact, the whole book felt like a very American way at looking at the tunnels built under the Wall, and, in my view, did little to (attempt to) understand the situation in the East. It was simply all about the communist threat (very real at the
...more
Melinda Elizabeth
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tunnels is a well researched book into the young West Berlin students who risked their lives to help assist families, friends and strangers from their hardships in the East.

Intertwined with the story of Kennedy's cold war, Cuba and the golden era of Documentaries on American TV, the book covers an incredibly tense time in world history.

The book as all the intrigue you would expect from a fictionalised thriller. There's Stasi informers and tales of romance struck lovers stuck on opposite sid
...more
Susan
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A true thriller well told.The tunnels under the Berlin wall told the tale of the human spirit.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Ask the Author 5 7 Feb 12, 2018 07:19AM  
45 followers
Greg Mitchell (born 1947) is the author of more than a dozen books. His next book, coming on October 18 from Crown, is available for pre-order and has already been optioned for a major movie with Paul Greengrass to direct. It is titled "The Tunnels" and explores daring escape tunnels under the Berlin Wall in 1962--and the JFK White House attempts to kill NBC and CBS coverage of them at the height ...more