1st Edition

Berlin Before the Wall A Foreign Student's Diary with Sketches

By Hsi-Huey Liang Copyright 1990
    262 Pages
    by Routledge

    In the 1950’s, Berlin had come under four-power occupation while still struggling to recover from the war. It had also become the object of a fierce ideological conflict between Stalinist Communism and capitalist democracy, between traditional German values and hopes for a new and better Europe. From these years, when the inhabitants of Germany’s Old Reich capital re-evaluated their past and tried to set their hopes for the future, comes the diary of an expatriate Chinese student, himself in search of a new spiritual homeland and as anxious to learn from the victors as from the vanquished.

    First published in 1990, Berlin Before the Wall is an account of life in Berlin recorded in the form of a diary and sketchbook kept by Hsi-Huey Liang, a young graduate student, while researching his dissertation in 1954. Capturing a pivotal moment of the Cold War, Liang provides a wealth of detail about a city that has been the subject of enduring fascination. As a historical document, the diary records the political events of the time with an engaging style and compelling immediacy. As a sketchbook, it captures the rhythms of the city, with its witty pencil drawings of people, places, and events. Liang’s pencil moves with ease and intelligence from street cleaners to diplomats, and his drawings exhibit not only an extraordinary sensitivity but are also astonishing in their sheer variety and keen insight into the culture of Berlin.

    This book will be a fascinating read for anyone interested in the Cold War period, student life, and all things German.

    Introduction 1. Arrival (Fall 1953) 2. Winter 1953-1954 3. Spring 1954 4. Summer/Fall 1954 Epilogue


    Hsi-Huey Liang was Chairman of the Department of History and Professor of Modern European History at Vassar College, USA. A prolific author and a talented visual artist, Liang, who had lived on three continents, brought an extraordinarily cosmopolitan, compassionate, and witty sensibility to the craft of history.