1989: The Berlin Wall: My Part in its Downfall
It was an event that changed history, bringing the Cold War to a sudden, unexpected end and seeing the collapse not just of Communism but of the Soviet Union itself. Stereotypes disappeared overnight, and the maps of a continent had to be redrawn. Peter Millar was in the middle of it, literally; caught in Checkpoint Charlie between bemused East German border guards and drunk western revellers prematurely celebrating the end of an era.
For over a decade Millar had been living not just in East Berlin but also Warsaw and Moscow. In this engaging, garrulous, bibulous memoir we follow him on a journey into the heart of Cold War Europe. From the hitchhiking trip that helped him discover a secret path into a career in journalism, through the carousing bars of Fleet street in the seventies, to the East Berlin corner pub with its eclectic cast of customers who taught him the truth about living on the wrong side of the Wall. We relive the night it all disintegrated, gain insight into the domino effect that swept through Eastern Europe in its aftermath and find out how the author felt as he opened his Stasi files and discovered which of his friends had – or hadn’t – been spying on him.
'Fastidious readers who expect reporters to be a mere lens on events will be shocked at the amount of personal detail, including sexual antics and drinking habits of his colleagues in what now seems a Juvenalian ago of dissolute British journalism. The author has a knack for befriending interesting people and tracking down important ones. He weaves their words with his clear-eyed reporting of events into a compelling narrative about the end of the cruel but bungling East German regime’ Economist
‘Part autobiography, part history primer and part Fleet Street gossip column, Millar cast aside the old chestnuts and set about reporting on the reality of life under communism … Energetic and passionate.' The Sunday Times