The Day Before the Berlin Wall
The Day Before the Berlin Wall: Could We Have Stopped It?: An Alternate History of Cold War Espionage
Author: T.H.E. Hill
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2010)
Binding: Paperback, 188 pages
The plot is based on a "legend" that was still being told by U.S. Army soldiers in Berlin in the mid-1970s. According to the legend, we had advance knowledge of the wall, and we knew that the East-German troops who were going to build it had been told to halt construction if the Americans were to take aggressive action to stop them. In Hill's version of the tale, a young American sergeant is the one who gets this piece of intelligence, but he is in East Berlin and has to get back to his unit to report it. The Stasi (the East German secret police) are prepared to kill to keep him from reporting it. They have killed his postmistress, and framed him for her murder. Now it is not only the Stasi, and the Vopos (the East-German "People's" Police), but also the West-Berlin municipal Polizei and the U.S. Army MPs who are after him. It's the day before construction is scheduled to start, and time is running out, so the sergeant is running as fast as he can. The key question of the novel is "even if he is lucky enough to make it back across the border, will anybody in the West believe what he has to say and take action on it before it is too late?" History says that he either didn't make it, or they didn't believe him.
The Day Before the Berlin Wall by Thomas Heinrich Edward Hill tells the story of a "legend" that could be heard by U.S. Army soldiers into the 1970s, that the U.S. had advance knowledge of The Wall. The protagonist in this book is a young American Army sergeant who gets this piece of intelligence, and has to get from East Berlin back to his unit in West Berlin to report it. The book takes place on this one day, with the sergeant running for his life. The East German secret police (Stasi) want to kill him. In their plan, they kill his postmistress and frame him for the murder, which puts the East-German VoPos (People's Police), the West-Berlin municipal Polizei, AND the U.S. Army MPs all searching for him.
At the beginning of this book, the main character gets hit on the head. Throughout the book, there are many voices he hears. Readers get to listen to the bump on his head, the intellect, the consciousness, the little voice, the unrecognized voice, the paranoia, the unidentified voice, the voice of hunches, the little voice with good suggestions, and the list goes on.
The ending of the book is unique, in the fact that Mr. Hill wrote two endings and readers get to choose what he calls the "historically correct" version or the "fictionalized" version. T.H.E. Hill served in the Army and learned German due to spending three tours in Germany. He served with the U.S. Army Security Agency at Field Station Berlin in the mid 1970s. He knows of what he speaks when he describes the setting within the book. This book really makes you think about the history of the Berlin Wall and how things might have been different.
Reviewed by: Joyce Gilmour (2011)