Communism

1989: The Year That Changed the World

Big Brother Takes a Big Hit in 1989 George Orwell didn't quite get it right. His landmark novel, 1984, describes the 1980s as a time in which Big Brother is all-seeing and all-controlling. Little did...

Finding New Life in the Death Strip

An elderly man shoves two packages out of a fourth floor window, and then he crawls out and sits on the ledge, staring down at the ground below. Then slowly, carefully, he turns himself...

The Greatest Escape

I trudged along a canal in Berlin back in 2011, hoping to see the inside of one of the few remaining watchtowers in the city—a guard tower where East Berlin soldiers kept an eagle...

Poland, 1979: We Want God! We Want God!

        In 1979, schoolteachers in Poland were told to inform their students that the man about to visit their country “is our enemy.” Teachers were urged to explain to their classes that this man’s sense...

How Prayer Brought Down the Berlin Wall

This week, as the world observed the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, one of the forgotten stories from the amazing year of 1989 was what took place in Leipzig, East...

Swords and Plowshares in the Heart of Berlin

When I was writing my novel The Puzzle People, I came across a photo of the Church of Reconciliation as it was being blown up in 1985 (shown on the left). But what caught...

Mao: The Unknown Story

Powerful Biography Lays Millions of Deaths at Mao's Feet The first sentence of the acclaimed biography, Mao: The Unknown Story, couldn't be more to the point: "Mao Tse-Tung, who for decades held absolute power over...

Wind of Change

One of the great things about researching my novel, The Puzzle People, was that I could go to Youtube and see videos taken of the Berlin Wall as it went up in 1961 and then came...

Why is the Berlin Wall in My Living Room?

Okay, so the Berlin Wall in my living room doesn't quite match the real Wall's dimensions. But it comes close. The last generation of the Wall before it came down on November 9, 1989, stood...

Thousands Protest Removal of Wall

  In 1989, tens of thousands of protesters tore down the Berlin Wall. But as The New York Times points out, the irony is that in 2013 people are protesting because they want the Wall to stay...