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Dear Librarians,

I've been writing non-fiction books since the early 1980s, and even as the subjects and the business of
books have changedimagine, no e-books back in the dayone thing has remained constant: the debt I
owe to librarians and archivists, from small towns to university or presidential libraries. This is
particularly true since most of my major books have centered on 20th century history.
My latest, The Tunnels, is typical in this regard, although in this case I have to offer a hearty round of
thanks to an unusual, even controversial, archive abroad: that holding the millions of unshredded
documents of the notorious East German secret police, the Stasi.
In brief, The Tunnels tells the story, little known in America, of dramatic and often tragic escape
attempts at the Berlin Wall, at the height of the Cold War, focusing on a pair of tunnels dug under the
barrier in 1962, partly funded by Americansthe CBS and NBC television networks. What is perhaps
most amazing is that these tunnels were excavated, mainly by young students, from West to Eastthat
is, not in the usual direction, from "imprisonment" to "freedom," but quite the opposite, at great
risk. The two U.S. networks attempted to chronicle these projects with primetime specials but the
Kennedy White House and State Department attempted, with some success, to thwart them.
So this is a multi-layered, tension-soaked, drama, which some have compared to a "spy thriller," yet it is
all true. And the main reason I could assemble this complex story, from afar, and base it mainly (and
accurately) on primary source materials: the assistance of archivists and librarians.
As I've mentioned, one important source was the Stasi archive in Berlin, where they somehow sorted
out several hundred pages of previously secret files, many never released before. A Stasi informer is a
central character in my book. Secondly, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, which
provided thousands of pages of State Department cables (to and from Washington and Berlin or Bonn),
White House letters and memos, transcripts of JFK meetings and phone calls, oral histories, and much
more.
Then there was the Library of Congress, which holds the papers of Daniel Schorr (the outspoken CBS
correspondent at the center of my story) and the National Archives in Maryland (with many more State
Department and CIA documents, only recently declassified).
Other libraries helped in smaller but important ways, all supplemented by my surprising ability to
locate, and interview at length, nearly all of the key tunnelers and escapees in my narrative. I hope you
find the results illuminating, thrilling and perhaps even haunting.
Sincerely,
Greg

A thrilling Cold War narrative exploring two harrowing attempts to rescue East
Germans by tunneling beneath the Berlin Wall, the U.S. television networks who
financed and filmed them, and the Kennedy administration's unprecedented
attempt to suppress both films.
PRAISE FOR THE TUNNELS
Mitchell delivers a gripping, blow-by-blow account of one grueling dig and dramatic
rescueMitchells tense, fascinating account reveals how the U.S. undermined a freedom
struggle for the sake of diplomacy.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The author ably captures the dedication of the men and women trying to get family, friends,
and complete strangers to freedom.A gripping page-turner that thrills like fiction.
Kirkus Reviews
The Tunnels is one of the great untold stories of the Cold War. Brilliantly researched and
told with great flair, Greg Mitchells non-fiction narrative reads like the best spy thriller,
something Le Carr might have imagined. Easily the best book Ive read all year.
Alex Kershaw, author of Avenue of Spies
When you have read the last page of Greg Mitchells The Tunnels you will close the book
but not until then.
Alan Furst, author of A Hero of France and Night Soldiers

978-1-101-90385-8 | $28.00/$37.00C | Crown | HC | October 2016


E: 978-1-101-90386-5 | AD: 978-0-735-28587-3 | CD: 978-0-735-28586-6 | LP: 978-0-735-28583-5