The Good German

The Good German

A Novel

Book - 2001
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Set in Berlin just after the end of World War II, a brilliant thriller about the end of one war and the beginning of another, by the bestselling author of Los Alamos .

Berlin, 1945. Jake Geismar, former Berlin correspondent for CBS, has managed to wangle one of the coveted press slots for the Potsdam Conference. His assignment: a series of articles on the American occupation of postwar Berlin. His personal agenda: to find Lena, the German mistress he left behind at the outbreak of the war. When he stumbles on a murder--an American soldier washed up on the shore of the conference grounds--he thinks he has found the key that will unlock his Berlin story. What he finds instead is a larger story of corruption and intrigue reaching deep into the heart of the occupation and a city not only physically but morally devastatated, where children scavenge for food in the rubble, sex can be had for a cigarette, and the black market is the only means of survival.

Berlin at zero hour is like nowhere else--a tragedy, and a feverish party after the end of the world. And nothing is simple--not the murder of a soldier and not any of the lives, American and German, that Jake encounters as he tries to solve it. More unsolvable still is the larger crime that hangs over everything in 1945, a crime so huge it seems beyond punishment.

At once a murder mystery, a love story, and a riveting portrait of a unique time and place, The Good German is a historical thriller of the first rank.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt & Co., 2001
ISBN: 9780805064223
Branch Call Number: KANO
Characteristics: 482 p


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brianreynolds May 05, 2013

I'm glad I gave Joseph Kanon a second try. Although <i>The Good German</i> suffers, to some extent, the same largess of characters and pithy dialogue I found tedious in <i>Istanbul Passage,</i> the author generously rewards his readers with some powerful insight into the moral ambiguity of post-WWII politics. Set in Berlin during the rapid transition from hot to Cold War, from ally to enemy, from survivor to collaborator, Kanon weaves a truly compelling tale both in terms of riveting action and of heart-rending enigma. He paints the reader a tenacious terrier of a reporter whose jaw is firmly clamped on right versus wrong, good versus bad and sets him in a bombed-out world of greys and re-written history. The hero's hubris shifts from his willingness to single-handedly take on the Russian Army to his willingness to confront the necessity to compromise. Riding off into the sunset is not so surprising in an archetypical romance, but letting go of the truth in order to save the day was.

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