PASSAGE FROM STOCKHOLM
West County Investments (2019)
Reviewed by Reader Views (11/2019)
“Passage From Stockholm” by Gene Lassers is a fascinating, historical event with a bit of fiction thrown in that drew the United States into war.
With Lassers’ creative writing and ability to involve readers with the beginning events of the now called Zimmermann telegraph, how does one not sit on the edge of their seat with bated breath? The story begins simply enough with the Hanover Trans-American Line housed in Chicago where manager Helmut Shoner, a 15-year veteran with the shipping line, receives a directive to deliver classified information, while at the same time receiving instructions to kill “the mole.” Enter Margaret, the not-so-friendly sister of Helmut who coincidentally works for the German Consulate to Germany in Chicago who will be the one to transport this secret document to Mexico with deluxe transportation aboard the Lusitania. Little do either know that death awaits them.
I found it quite intriguing the lengths Germany goes through to transport this information with such secrecy and risk. The author does an excellent job of keeping the suspense front and center, even though this is just the beginning of the twists and turns readers will find themselves in.
In January 1917, British cryptographers deciphered a telegram from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to the German Minister to Mexico, offering United States territory to Mexico in return for joining the German cause. This message helped draw the United States into the war and thus changed the course of history. Because the British had severed the direct undersea telegraph link between Germany and North America early in the war, Germany was forced to route sensitive diplomatic information through neutral channels.
At this point, I will say that a couple of things distracted me from my reading. One is that the author uses several German phrases throughout the book and there is no translation in English to decipher them. Secondly, there are so many characters involved, it is difficult to keep up with who is who and what their role is. However, noting this, it does not stop the flow of the book and the general overall information.
I appreciated the Epilogue in the back of the book that further describes what happened to some of the individuals included in this storyline. Lassers has combined history, romance, mystery with the ultimate surprising ending. I recommend “Passage From Stockholm” by Gene Lassers for anyone who likes historical information that is anything less than bland.