Thursday, December 29, 2022

Top ten books about the iron curtain

Timothy Phillips is the author of The Secret Twenties: British Intelligence, the Russians, and the Jazz Age (2017) and Beslan: The Tragedy of School No. 1 (2008). He grew up in Northern Ireland and now lives in London. He holds a doctorate in Russian from Oxford University and has written and spoken widely on British and Russian history.

Phillips's new book is The Curtain and the Wall: A Modern Journey along Europe’s Cold War Border [US title: Retracing the Iron Curtain: A 3,000-Mile Journey Through the End and Afterlife of the Cold War].

At the Guardian he tagged ten "books that reveal the essence of the most menacing border the world has yet seen," including:
The Third Man by Graham Greene

When people think of the iron curtain, they tend to think of two European cities particularly – Berlin, itself divided, and Moscow, from where the USSR government effectively ran its satellites. However, until 1955, Vienna was divided much like Berlin into American, British, French and Soviet sectors. Greene’s The Third Man (1950) and the earlier film of that name conjure the period better than anything. The investigation of Harry Lime’s death shows the City of Dreams in a seedy postwar light. Greene also foregrounds one of the greatest cold war oddities, Vienna’s Inter-Allied Military Patrol, which required one soldier from each occupying power to share a jeep and travel to crime scenes together.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue