Tunnel 29

The True Story of an Extraordinary Escape Beneath the Berlin Wall


By Helena Merriman

Read by Helena Merriman

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  1. Audiobook Download (Unabridged) $27.99
  2. ebook $13.99 $17.99 CAD
  3. Trade Paperback $19.99 $25.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around August 24, 2021. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

He escaped from one of the world’s most brutal regimes.Then, he decided to tunnel back in. 
In the summer of 1962, a young student named Joachim Rudolph dug a tunnel under the Berlin Wall. Waiting on the other side in East Berlin were 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 this most remarkable Cold War rescue mission. Drawing on interviews with the survivors and Stasi files, Helena Merriman brilliantly reveals the stranger-than-fiction story of the ingenious group of student-diggers, the glamorous red-haired messenger, the Stasi spy who threatened the whole enterprise, and the love story that became its surprising epilogue.
Tunnel 29 was also the first made-for-TV event of its kind; it was funded by NBC, who wanted to film an escape in real time. Their documentary—which was nearly blocked from airing by the Kennedy administration, which wanted to control the media during the Cold War—revolutionized TV journalism.

Ultimately, Tunnel 29 is a success story about freedom: the valiant citizens risking everything to win it back, and the larger world rooting for them to triumph.


  • “A fascinating account of a daring escape from a repressive regime as well as a vivid portrait of life in Berlin in the early days of the wall—and of the international impact of events in that city. Merriman effectively maintains the pace and suspense, giving readers a novelistic narrative with a solid foundation of fact. An entertaining real-life Cold War thriller following a group of students who escaped under ‘the Wall of all walls.’”
    Kirkus Reviews
  • “A gripping, real-life page turner, packed with great characters stuck in impossible situations. This is nonfiction at its very best, and more dramatic and incredible than any fiction I have read for a very long time.”
    John O’Farrell, cohost of the We Are History podcast
  • “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, author of In Extremis: The Life and Death of the War Correspondent Marie Colvin

On Sale
Aug 24, 2021
Hachette Audio

Helena Merriman

About the Author

Helena Merriman is a broadcast journalist who presented and produced Tunnel 29, BBC Radio 4’s new podcast about a miraculous escape under the Berlin Wall. She is also the co-creator of British Podcast Award-winning series The Inquiry, and previously worked as a reporter for the BBC in the Middle East. She lives in London, UK.

Learn more about this author