Disrupting Communities and Building Walls During the Cold War.
“[Burned Bridge] is an in-depth examination of a particular—and very peculiar—locality at the inter-German border: the twin towns of in southeastern Germany, on the border between Bavaria and Thuringia” (Pertti Ahonen, The New Republic).
Edith Sheffer is a historian of twentieth-century German Europe and a prize-winning author and a senior fellow at the Institute of European Studies at UC–Berkeley. Sheffer’s first book, Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain, challenges the moral myth of the Berlin Wall, the Cold War’s central symbol—revealing how the Iron Curtain was not simply imposed by communism but emerged from the everyday actions of ordinary people. Her second book, Hidden Front: Switzerland and World War Two, tells an in-depth history of a nation whose pivotal role remains unexposed yet was decisive in the course of World War II. Her current book, Asperger’s Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna, investigates Hans Asperger’s creation of the autism diagnosis in the Third Reich, examining Nazi psychiatry’s emphasis on social spirit and Asperger’s involvement in the euthanasia program that killed children considered to be disabled.