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Soellner’s Dispatch #5



This ongoing series of Dispatches explores the writing process, research, and characters of my five book historical fiction series, as well as my events schedule. All of Soellner’s Dispatches are available on my blog.

The Value of Reviews, or

Why I’m Writing Reviews For What I Read

At the start of March a dear friend wrote to me saying she’d written a review for The Storm That Shook the World, my second novel. I opened the attachment and was floored. She wrote two and a half pages about the subtleties of the story: the historical characters, the locations and events, and the relationship between protagonists Markus and Levi and their families.

Reading her review, it struck me how much thinking about the book went into writing the review.

“Soellner’s art background also serves him well in casual references throughout the saga to current trends in art and architecture with mentions of Expressionist art, Art Nouveau architecture and even clothing styles and the designs of automobiles… raises the quality of this adventure narrative to the level of a period drama, complete with fully realized characters who are both products of their own time and culture and universal human beings with whom today’s reader can emphasize.”

All writers put their interests and experiences into their works. It’s a precious feeling to have them noticed and appreciated.

Looking at this review inspired me to start writing my own reviews of works I appreciate. For me, it’s a way of expanding the narrative between the reader, the writer, and the potential audience. Not all my reviews will be so all-encompassing as this one, but I know it’s important to give my perspective on the literature I read, in order to share the books and ideas that I like best.

From Dispatch # 4:


What event late in World War I finally brought America into the conflict? Was it:

  1. The Zimmerman Telegram, in which Imperial Germany called on Mexico to attack the United States.
  2. The torpedoing of the passenger liner Lusitania, and the loss of hundreds of American lives.
  3. The fear that Germany would win the war after a mutiny broke out in the French Army.
  4. The defeat of Britain and Australia at Gallipoli, and the great loss of ships and men.


  1. The Zimmerman Telegram, in which Imperial Germany called on Mexico to attack the United States.

This communique from the Foreign Office of Imperial Germany to the President of Mexico promising Mexico the return of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, plus financial and military aid if Mexico would join Germany and declare war on the United States. Intercepted by the British and forwarded to President Wilson, this proposal incited a firestorm of indignation and patriotism that led directly to the United States abandoning its neutrality and joining Britain, France and Russia and their allies in World War 1.

Dispatch Question #5:

On what date did America and Germany officially end the First World War between the two countries. Was it:

  1. The signing of the armistice on November 11th, 1918
  2. The Treaty of Versailles signed on June 28th, 1919.
  3. President Harding signing peace decree with Germany on July 2nd, 1921.
  4. The Weimar Republic signs a peace treaty with the U.S August 25th, 1921.

Look forward to the answer in Dispatch #6!

Until my next Dispatch,

Walter Soellner

[email protected]     waltersoellner.com

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