The Good German

The Good German

A Novel

Book - 2001
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Baker & Taylor
A dramatic novel of intrigue and love set against the tumultous backdrop of Berlin in 1945 follows Jake Geismar, a former Berlin correspondent for CBS, who has been assigned to do a series of articles on the American occupation of postwar Berlin, as he tries to find Lena, the German mistress he left behind, and stumbles upon a murder, which hurls him into a dark underworld of corruption. 150,000 first printing. BOMC.

McMillan Palgrave
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.


Blackwell North Amer
With World War II finally coming to an ending, Jake Geismar, former Berlin correspondent for CBS, has wangled one of the coveted press slots for the Potsdam Conference. His assignment: a series of articles on the Allied occupation. His personal agenda: to find Lena, the German mistress he left behind at the outbreak of the war. When he stumbles onto a murder - an American soldier has washed up on a lakeshore on the conference grounds - he thinks he has found the key that will unlock his Berlin story.
What Jake finds instead is a larger story of corruption and intrigue reaching deep into the heart of the occupation. After twelve years of Nazi rule, six years of war, and months of brutal treatment by the Russians, Berlin has finally arrived at zero hour, a city not only physically but morally devastated. Children scavenge for food in the rubble, sex can be had for a cigarette, and heirlooms are traded for cans of PX rations. American GIs, flush with black market money, live in requisitioned villas and fraternize in underground jazz clubs; meanwhile, the air remains thick with mortar dust, and corpses still float in the canals. Berlin in July 1945 is like nowhere else - a tragedy, and a feverish party after the end of the world.
And nothing is simple. As Jake searches the ruins for Lena, he discovers that years of war have led to unimaginable displacement and degradation. As he hunts for the soldier's killer, he learns that Berlin has become a city of secrets, a lunar landscape that seethes with social and political tension. When the two searches become entangled, Jake comes to understand that the American Military Government is already fighting a new enemy in the east, busily identifying the "good Germans" who can help with the next war. And hanging over everything is the larger crime, a crime so huge that it seems - the worst irony - beyond punishment.

Baker
& Taylor

A novel set against the backdrop of Berlin in 1945 follows Jake Geismar, a former Berlin correspondent for CBS, as he tries to find Lena, the German mistress he left behind, and stumbles into a dark underworld of corruption.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt, 2001
ISBN: 9780805064223
0805064222
Branch Call Number: FIC Kanon
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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