Books: History Without a Hero

THE IDES OF AUGUST by Curtis Cate; Evans; 534 pages; $15

The villain of a book is seldom an inanimate object. But in this case, the Berlin Wall qualifies for the role. If Curtis Cate's richly detailed, gripping history has a villain, however, it lacks a hero. For the author, a longtime commentator on European affairs and a biographer of George Sand and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, strongly implies that the Wall would never have been built if the Western Allies had shown a little more sophistication and a little less fear.

The Ides of August is a kind of upstairs-downstairs drama. On the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!