Friday, June 28, 2013

Rocking the Wall Around the World

Rocking the Wall. Bruce Springsteen: The Berlin Concert That Changed the World, now actually goes around the world! We had reviews in papers from Germany to China and, of course, the USA. This is the story the Rolling Stone magazine did today:

And here are some links to the Winnipeg Free Press, the Portuguese paper Publico, the French magazine Les Echos, the Independent Online from South Africa, La Stampa from Italy, Svenska Dagbladet from Sweden, the British BBCGermany's Der Spiegel, the Chinese CNYes, the China Daily, the Times of Malta, and the Global Post. Also the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and ABC News have covered it.

Naturally, there are some sceptic folks. Did Bruce really bring down the Wall? Well, we don't claim that. What Springsteen did, however, was to play to an enthusiastic crowd of more than 300.000 (and the GDR had only about 16 million people), and behind the Wall, giving them the feeling of freedom, and the experience that they could rebel against orders from above, starting with going to a concert without a ticket and trampling down fences on the way into the concert grounds. And Springsteen spoke against the Wall INSIDE of East Germany, something much more courageous and less heard of than politicians speaking from the West side, using the Wall as a backdrop.

Of course, this was only one event in a whole chain of upheavals in Eastern Europe, acts of rebellion against the Soviets. There was the Polish Solidarnosc movement, people who protested in the Baltics, Romanians, who were standing up to Ceausescu, Hungarians opening the border, in the end  ... it was we, the people, moving our feet.

So, what about Ronald Reagan? Reagan asked Gorbachev to tear down the Wall, but in West-Berlin, not in his face. And while you could argue that arming the Afghani resistance against the Soviets helped to dissolve the Soviet empire (you also could argue that arming the Taliban was not such a smart move in the long run), the speech did nothing. And when the Wall fell, it was Reagan's staunch ally Maggie Thatcher who just stopped short of offering troops to Gorbachev to keep Eastern Germany under Soviet occupation.

And what about Hasselhoff? ... Puleeeaase .. I don't even know where that comes from (and neither does anybody else in Germany, for that matter). Hasselhoff did a concert  in WEST Berlin months AFTER the Wall fell. He must have a hell of a PR team, though!

by Eva C. Schweitzer

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Rocking the Wall: Bruce Springsteen in Berlin

Rocking the Wall. Bruce Springsteen: The Berlin Concert That Changed the World is out! The book is now for sale at Amazon and Barnes &, and yes, your bookstore can also order it! It comes as hardcover, softcover, and on Kindle.

Rocking the Wall (Americans in Berlin)

Here ist the hardcover

And here is the softcover

And here is the book on Barnes&Noble

Der Spiegel had a story about it in the English edition

Here is more on our website:

Here is more from the description:

Rocking the Wall explores how the epic Bruce Springsteen concert in East Berlin on July 19, 1988, changed the world. Erik Kirschbaum spoke to scores of fans and concert organizers including Jon Landau, Springsteen's long-time manager. With lively behind-the-scenes details from eyewitness accounts, newspaper clippings, and Stasi files, this book takes you to an unforgettable journey with Springsteen through the divided city, to the open air grounds in Weissensee, where The Boss, live on stage, delivered a courageous speech against the Wall to a record-breaking crowd of more than 300,000 delirious young East Germans full of joy and hope.

Coming soon: A Tramp in Berlin. New Mark Twain Stories. The book about Twain's little-known journey to Berlin will be out on July 1, also as a hardcover and a softcover. We had an early introduction of Twain and Tucholsky at the KGB bar on Sunday. Also, our friend Paul Sullivan posted an item about Tucholsky, with the trademark Berlin! Berlin! story:

And there is also Jews in Berlin, the updated edition of 750 years of Jewish history in the German capital up to today, by Andreas Nachama, Julius Schoeps, and Hermann Simon.

by Eva C. Schweitzer

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mark Twain and Kurt Tucholsky

For all of you who live in New York, here is a special event: We will have a reading at the KGB bar for Kurt Tucholsky's Berlin! Berlin! Dispatches from the Weimar Republic, and our upcoming book, A Tramp in Berlin. New Mark Twain Stories. David Henry Sterry will read. 

The date is June 16, from 7pm to 9pm. The Mark Twain book will come out June 23, so this is a preview. The address is 85 E 4th St., New York, 10003, between Second and Bowery.

Kurt Tucholsky was one of the most famed writers of the Weimar Republic and no stranger to bars himself: When he published his first book, Rheinsberg, an erotic picture novel for lovers, he rented a book bar at Berlin's Kurfürstendamm (together with Kurt Safranski who delivered the pictures for Rheinsberg). Everybody who bought the book got a free shot of liquor. So, we are going to reenact this at the KGB bar. There will also be a bit of Weimar 1920s music.

Mark Twain spent half a year in Berlin; we will read one of his unpublished stories. Also the Twain book will be for sale at the KBG bar, and from June 23 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Here is more about both books.

A Tramp in Berlin” tells how Mark Twain spent the winter of 1891–1892 in the German capital. America’s foremost humorist conspired with diplomats, frequented the salons, had breakfast with duchesses, and dined with the emperor. He also suffered an “organized dog-choir club,” picked a fight with the police, was abused by a porter, got lost on streetcars, and witnessed a proletarian uprising. Twain’s unpublished Berlin stories are assembled here for the first time, together with a riveting account of his adventures. The book will come out June 23, this is a preview.
“Berlin! Berlin!” is a satirical selection from the man with the acid pen and the perfect pitch for hypocrisy, who was as much the voice of 1920s Berlin as Georg Grosz was its face. It shines a light on the Weimar Republic and the post-World War I struggle, which fore­shadowed the Third Reich. This book collects Kurt Tucholsky’s news articles, poems, and funny stories about his home town Berlin, never published in America before. With a foreword by New York author Anne Nelson and an introduction by Ian King, the chair of the Kurt-Tucholsky-Society.
by Eva C. Schweitzer


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