Communism

Finding New Life in the Death Strip

An elderly man shoves two packages out of a fourth floor window, and then he crawls out and sits on the ledge, staring down at the ground below. Then slowly, carefully, he turns himself...

YouTube Witnesses the Fall of the Wall

In my novel, The Puzzle People, I place one of my main characters, Stefan Hansel, at a pivotal point in the history of the Cold War. I place Stefan at the Bornholmer Strasse border...

Wind of Change

One of the great things about researching my novel, The Puzzle People, was that I could go to Youtube and see videos taken of the Berlin Wall as it went up in 1961 and then came...

Why is the Berlin Wall in My Living Room?

Okay, so the Berlin Wall in my living room doesn't quite match the real Wall's dimensions. But it comes close. The last generation of the Wall before it came down on November 9, 1989, stood...

Poland, 1979: We Want God! We Want God!

        In 1979, schoolteachers in Poland were told to inform their students that the man about to visit their country “is our enemy.” Teachers were urged to explain to their classes that this man’s sense...
Image of the cover of the first issue of Peterson Pilgrim Magazine

Ordinary Objects, Extraordinary Stories: Introducing ‘Peterson Pilgrim’ Magazine

A letter that helped to convict a Nazi war criminal… A squeegee handle that saved the lives of half a dozen people on 9/11… A set of stairs that saved hundreds more… These ordinary objects played a...

Canton Comes Through Again

One of the highlights of 2011 was the One Book, One Community program in Canton, Ohio, which adopted The Disappearing Man as its featured book. The Canton Repository newspaper continues its support with a...

The Kiss

Why Is Brezhnev Kissing Honecker on The Berlin Wall? It's called "The Kiss" or "The Kiss of Death." And it is perhaps the most famous image that appears in Berlin's East Side Gallery--a nearly mile-long...

How Do You Say ‘Oops’ in German?

A Bureaucrat's Mistake Led to the Fall of the Berlin Wall In a country loaded with bureaucrats, it seems oddly fitting that a bureaucratic blunder would lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall. To set...

All Along the Watchtower

Berlin Trip Takes Me to the Site of the First Shooting Along the Wall Talk about timing. I spent the last two weeks in Austria and Berlin, in part to do research for my new novel...