Helena Merriman

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Tunnel 29

book | Aug 2021
World → Hodder and Stoughton (Ed. Rupert Lancaster)

He’s just escaped from one of the world’s most brutal regimes. Now, he decides to tunnel back in.

It's summer, 1962, and Joachim Rudolph, a student, is digging a tunnel under the Berlin Wall. Waiting on the other side in East Berlin - dozens of men, women and children; all willing to risk everything to escape.

From the award-winning creator of the acclaimed BBC Radio 4 podcast, Tunnel 29 is the true story of the most remarkable escape tunnel dug under the Berlin Wall. Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews with the survivors, and thousands of pages of Stasi documents, Helena Merriman brilliantly reveals the stranger-than-fiction story of the ingenious group of student-diggers, the glamorous red-haired messenger, the American News network which films the escape, and the Stasi spy who betrays it. For what Joachim doesn't know as he burrows closer to East Germany, is that the escape operation has been infiltrated. As the escapees prepare to crawl through the cold, wet darkness, above them, the Stasi are closing in.

Tunnel 29 is about what happens when people lose their freedom - and how some will do anything to win it back

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Reviews

An almost unbelievable story of bravery, endeavour, and humanity. You won't be able to put it down.

Dermot O’Leary

In a gripping, suspenseful narrative, Merriman recounts an attempt to traverse the wall by tunneling under it. 

Mark Knoblauch
Booklist

Merriman takes us inside not only the tunnel, but also the personal lives of those who dug it. We feel we're experiencing history as it happens. It's a gripping story of bravery, determination and, ultimately, love.

Lindsey Hilsum

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