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Tear Down This Wall

A City, a President, and the Speech that Ended the Cold War

On June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan addressed a crowd of 20,000 people in West Berlin in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. The words he delivered that afternoon would become among the most famous in presidential history. “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate,” Reagan said. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Elegant and dramatic, Tear Down This Wall is the definitive account of one of the most memorable speeches in recent history and a reminder of the power of a president’s words to change the world.

“Timely and insightful. . . Ratnesar’s book deftly explores the history of those famous words and highlights Ronald Reagan’s clarity of vision and commitment to the American ideal.” –Condoleezza Rice

“Romesh Ratnesar has produced a riveting account of one of the greatest speeches in modern times, which would have been enough. But along the way he has also written a brilliant and incisive history of the end of the Reagan Presidency and the Cold War. Tear Down this Wall affirms the power of words.”

--David Grann, Author of The Lost City of Z

“Fast-moving and splendidly written. . . a remarkable re-creation of the last days of the Soviet empire, with East Germany as the culmination of the Marxist dialectic, and the wall the perfect symbol for that strange alternate universe.”

–John R. Coyne, Jr., Washington Times

“Romesh Ratnesar has told the story with narrative verve, brilliant political and personal insight, and a combination of concision and pithiness worthy of the Great Communicator himself.”

--Strobe Talbott, author of The Great Experiment: Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation