Germany

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...

The 1914 Truce Tells a Timeless Truth

Who would have thought that a supermarket company's commercial could capture one of the most poignant moments in a bloody war--World War I? The Christmas season is behind us, but I have to mention the...

Swords and Plowshares in the Heart of Berlin

When I was writing my novel The Puzzle People, I came across a photo of the Church of Reconciliation as it was being blown up in 1985 (shown on the left). But what caught...

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...

The 9th Worst Car of All Time!

The Puzzle People and the Trouble with Trabis The votes are in, and East Germany's Trabant has been named the 9th worst car of all time, according to Edmunds.com. Much of my new novel, The...

The Puzzle People on CBS in Champaign

I did an interview on my Berlin novel, "The Puzzle People," this past week in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Wall came down on November 9, 1989,...

Location, Location, Location: Doing Novel Research On-Site

NOTE—An earlier blog, Doing Your Research Right, discussed my research habits when writing historical novels. This is a follow-up blog.  *  *  * I guess I should have known what day it was when I showed...

Thousands Protest Removal of Wall

  In 1989, tens of thousands of protesters tore down the Berlin Wall. But as The New York Times points out, the irony is that in 2013 people are protesting because they want the Wall to stay...

How Did the Nazis Become So Popular?

It seems hard to imagine today, but the Nazis rose to power because they were considered a populist movement at one time, working for the common good. But how could people come to believe...

The Greatest Escape

I trudged along a canal in Berlin back in 2011, hoping to see the inside of one of the few remaining watchtowers in the city—a guard tower where East Berlin soldiers kept an eagle...