Press Clippings

THE SUNDAY TIMES, June 3, 2012
 
For the people of Berlin, Saturday, August 12, 1961 was a lovely warm day. In the parks, families played in the sunshine; in the Kreuzberg neighbourhood, the streets were packed with visitors from all over the city for the annual children’s fair. As afternoon gave way to evening, the organisers set off fireworks; then many families moved on to West Berlin’s picture houses, which that weekend were showing Marilyn Monroe in The Misfits, Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur and Spencer Tracy in The Old Man and the Sea. And in a hunting lodge just outside the city, East Germany’s communist leader, Walter Ulbricht, put the finishing touches to his plan to slice Berlin in two…
STAR TRIBUNE, November 26, 2011
 
Kempe’s eye-opening and well-researched history should trigger a serious re-evaluation of President Kennedy’s tumultuous first few months in office…

A lively meticulous account of a crucial year in history, when the third world war nearly started in Berlin.”

THE ECONOMIST 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, 2011
 
…Berlin 1961 is a page-turner, written with all the vigour
and verve of a spy novel, so you will have difficulty in putting it down until you have finished its 500 pages of gripping narrative.
 
SHREVEPORT TIMES, August 19, 2011
 
In his excellent book “Berlin 1961: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth,” author Frederick Kempe quotes the U.S.S.R.’s Nikita Khrushchev’s observations about an inexperienced and poorly prepared John F. Kennedy’s lamentable lack of leadership, and the U.S. Senate, during the Berlin crisis…
Frederick Taylor, FINANCIAL TIMES, June 10, 2011
 
……the genius at the heart of this gripping work resembles that of a play by Schiller or Shakespeare. 
DALLAS MORNING NEWS, June 5, 2011
 
A compelling story of a dangerous time…Kempe’s recounting of this and the ensuing desperation makes for compelling reading.
 

This is both an enriching history and a rollicking good read.”

 

WASHINGTON POST

BLOG CRITICS May 9, 2011
 
Mr. Kempe provides in depth analysis on the intrigue which occurred during 1961 as well as more intimate moments of triumph and anguish on all sides of the political spectrum.
 
DESERET NEWS, May 8, 2011
 
Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and The Most Dangerous Place on Earth” will be a welcome addition to any library where modern history is appreciated.
LIBRARY JOURNAL, March 1, 2011
 
…he skillfully weaves oral histories and newly declassified documents into a sweeping, exhaustive narrative.
LIONEL GELBER PRIZE, February 13, 2012
 
Berlin 1961 has been short-listed for the 2012 Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary award for the world’s best non-fiction book in English on foreign affairs that seeks to deepen public debate on significant international issues.
OREGONLIVE.COM, September 27, 2011
 
As Frederick Kempe explains in his new book, ‘Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth,’ the divided city was where the superpowers confronted each other, where the nuclear trigger might get pulled — and where, Kempe argues, President Kennedy made a disastrous miscalculation in accepting the Berlin Wall, a mistake that led directly to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
AMERICAN DIPLOMACY, September 21, 2011
 
…Kempe’s book is a significant contribution to our understanding of one of the key developments of the Cold War. It also will enhance public appreciation of the role of diplomats and diplomacy, because Berlin 1961 is as eminently readable as good as any good “who done it.”
THE WEEKLY STANDARD, August 1, 2011
 
Frederick Kempe…has written an engaging study of the 1961 Khrushchev/Kennedy standoff over Berlin, presenting the drama in the journalistic, anecdotal, episode-by-episode mode…

…his reconstruction of the diplomacy and events leading up to August 1961 is spellbinding.”

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES 

THE WASHINGTON TIMES, July 1, 2011
As Frederick Kempe…details in his richly researched study of the Berlin Wall crisis, East Germany was imploding in 1961.
 

Daniel Johnson

COMMENTARY MAGAZINE June 1, 2011
 
…Berlin 1961 focuses on the city that was the only stage where the two superpowers confronted each other directly, but Kempe’s camera pans rapidly across to Washington, Moscow, Vienna, and the other theaters of the Cold War. The day-by-day, sometimes hour- by-hour account of how Kennedy and his circle of advisers handled the crisis of 1961 is surprisingly fresh, given the quantities of ink already spilled on this briefest of presidencies.
 
HUFFINGTON POST, May 11, 2011
 
…Kempe’s page-turning book, a solid work of popular history that should be one of the breakout titles of the year.
KIRKUS, April 1, 2011
… a tale of missed opportunities that might have ended in nuclear war..Good journalistic history in the tradition of William Shirer and Barbara Tuchman.