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The Losing Role: A Novel

(Kaspar Brothers #1)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  203 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A struggling German actor attempts to escape a top-secret WWII operation against the Americans.

When the SS orders banned entertainer Max Kaspar to impersonate a US officer during the bloody Battle of the Bulge, Max devises his own secret mission to escape the war and flee to America.

It’s both his one big break and a deadly last chance on a journey that’s taken him from a
Kindle Edition, 244 pages
Published March 19th 2010
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Alice Yeh
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
World War II and the German false flag operation are historical facts, but Anderson takes poetic license with the details, introducing us to an imaginary German soldier known as Max Kaspar. His geniality and optimism seem out of place in the middle of a battlefield, and yet the author depicts him with just enough hardness to make his persona believable. When an impossible mission is set before him, it is easy to wish for his personal success and to cheer him on anxiously, even with an ever-prese ...more
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Late in 1944, the German Army pressed westward along the western front in a desperate attempt to break the Allied advance. The offensive would later come to be known as the Battle of the Bulge. While plenty of novels and movies have portrayed the American side of the struggle in Belgium's Ardennes forest that winter, Steve Anderson's The Losing Role examines the story of a German soldier caught up in a cause he knows is lost.

Max Kaspar is an out-of-work actor drafted into the German Army to figh
Dec 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a good historical fiction novel set in WW2 told from a German perspective about a real blackflag (i.e., counter-intelligence) operation.

I liked how the author takes you into the mind of Max Kaspar, who is an anti-hero. He struggles with his feelings for Germany and for America, since we find out he lived in both countries.

There is some foul language as the German soldiers attempt to impersonate the cussing that was common to American soldiers. There was also a non-graphic reference to
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full of vibrant, engaging characters and with an original plot that sidesteps the overplayed tropes of many World War II novels, "The Losing Role" is highly readable and very enjoyable as a light espionage novel where theatrical performance can almost always fool someone. Anderson's is a book that elevates the promise of self-published novels, and is certainly of high enough quality to stand on its own, surpassing many titles that have found larger audiences and even a few film adaptations. Reco ...more
Zohar -
Dec 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
“The Losing Role” by Steve Anderson is a historical fiction book which takes place during World War II. The story follows a failed German actor who is drafted to infiltrate American lines posing as an American officer.

Max Kaspar, a.k.a. failed German-American actor Maximilian von Kaspar, is fighting on the Eastern front when he is drafted by the SS for an unknown mission. Soon Max discovers that he has been recruited to impersonate American officers and cause havoc behind enemy lines.

Realizing t
Dec 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It's winter 1944 and Max Kaspar is pulled from the Eastern Front for a role in a secret mission. Before the war Max was an actor and having lived and worked in New York, and as an English speaker, he is considered ideal for the task at hand. The role - masquerading as an enemy US officer, his aim - to use the opportunity to escape the war and return to the States. Having been trained and put into a team Max finds himself caught up in the Battle of the Bulge, and his plan goes far from smoothly. ...more
Paul Steele
I enjoyed this very much. I've found myself drawn more and more to history and historical fiction and Steve Anderson did a great job with both in The Losing Role. His attention to detail in the locations and events surrounding the storyline are much appreciated, yet those details are used to bring life to the story rather than merely rehashed trivia.

It is also refreshing to see a portrayal of a German soldier as something other a buffoon or a soldier mindlessly following in Hitler's quest for wo
Max was born in Germany; his family emigrated leaving him in German to finish a baker's apprenticeship. Which, to say the least and the most, didn't work for Max in any way. His father was totally intolerant of that, so he went on from a New England town to NYC where he could pursue his theatrical abilities which were rather obvious. He decided to go back to Germany, not really a good decision. Any how he and few others are set up to do their thing for the government, a spying of sorts and turn ...more
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This is the first First Reads book I won, and I'm glad I did! I would start reading and would look up hours later and realize I had read half the book. I already have a several people I will be recommending this book to.

I've always been interested in the civilian side of WWII, but the soldier side never seemed to interest me. This book has changed that. It was very captivating and interesting read. There wasn't any war scenes that I had expected, which was a plus.

The main character, Max, is a cu
Russell Phillips
An interesting story, well written, with some surprises. The author has very obviously done his research, not just about the operation that Max Kasper (the main character) is involved in, but about everything the book touches on.

I started by reading the sample, not knowing what to expect. I soon found that I was hooked, and bought the full copy. Max is a character that it is easy to empathise with, and he's put into an interesting situation.

This was the first self-published book I read, and I st
Laurie Delaney
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very thought provoking novel of the effects of war on the dreams and hopes of those who fight. These are not soldiers who search to be heroes or famous. They want to live through this hell and move on, perhaps better than before. Max Kaspar takes an undercover assignment, hoping to be able to defect to the Allies and return to New York. Based on a hurried and half-baked Nazi plan. Max, a struggling actor on both sides of the Atlantic, ends up playing many roles to survive.
Vicki Krivak
May 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book alot. I find myself being drawn to history and historical fiction. The Losing Role
is a terrific book that is exciting and funny, and it keeps you thinking long after the action is over.
I look forward to the next installment of this series. Also, I thought this book was very good in
describing a different aspect of WW2. A good read.
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel, set during the Battle of the Bulge 1944, is fast paced has interesting characters and a compelling plot. I recommend it to anyone wanting to read an historical thriller. Here is a quote:

"Then Max heard gurgling sounds. Boilers had burst, leaving steaming bubbling
pools in which flesh and bone cooked, bobbing at the surface like
noodles and dumplings. Was he really seeing this? This was the war
the party fat cats wanted? Goebbels would later proclaim this
madness “Total War”? Apartments f
Awesome Indies Book Awards
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Awesome Indies Book Awards is pleased to include THE LOSING ROLE (Kaspar Brothers #1) by STEVE ANDERSON in the library of Awesome Indies' Badge of Approval recipients at

Original Awesome Indies' Assessment (4 stars):

The Losing Role by Steve Anderson is a touching yet painful story set in late 1944 that explores the evolution of an individual throughout a life fraught with inequity.

As the novel opens, the reader is immediately dropped into the middle of a firefight on
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book, very well written. An easy read, I enjoyed it from beginning to end. Good writing.
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
WWII Through a Different Lens

I am not usually a reader of wartime stories, but Steve Anderson's tale of a disillusioned actor slogging through the hellish final gasp of the Nazi Army in Europe is not your average wartime story. It describes a desperate attempt by the losing side to infiltrate US military units in hopes of causing confusion during what would become The Battle of the Bulge. A ragtag group of artists, writers, academics, and just regular guys are assembled for the task simply becau
Susan Peterson
Jan 13, 2011 rated it liked it
I was looking for a historical novel on Smashwords and took a chance on The Losing Role. I didn't expect much. Many of the self-published novels on Smashwords are barely readable. But after reading the sample of The Losing Role, I was hooked. I found that I really cared what happened to Max, the main character.

Max is German, spent some time in the U.S., returned to Germany just before WWII. He's an actor, not terribly political. He just wants to act. When the war starts, his roles dry up. He's d
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This novel is written from an interesting point of view, that of a German soldier who had lived in the U.S. for many years before returning to Germany on the brink of World War II. This could have been a terrific novel, but just misses. This held my interest and was a good "summer read", if a war novel can be a good read. I do however, expect to see a film made from this novel and will be first in line to buy a ticket.
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great historical novel covering events during the "Battle of the Bulge" that many of us have some idea about, but don't know well. I found the characters very believable; neither heroes nor villains for the most part. I found myself wanting them to survive a messy situation that so many on both sides did not.
An odd World War II story based on an actual occurrence. An easy quick read. A group of German soldiers, all of whom speak English to some degree are given US uniforms and jeeps and attached to the German counter attack that results in the Battle of Bastogne. Both funny, sad and a bit seems impossible to believe but...
Mar 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Written by Sönke's good friend who lives down the street - Steve! Interesting perspective on a NAZI attempt to infultrate the American army during WWII using Germans who had lived in America. Steve also incorporates the cultural differences between Germans and Americans in a fun way.
Brandie Lagarde
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that was given to me to review on BookRooster and it wasn't something I would normally have chosen to read, but very glad I did. It was well written and I learned alot about The Battle of the Bulge and WWII without realizing I was learning.
May 04, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I'm currently taking AP World History, so reading this book would help me immensely! I'm looking forward to reading this
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm big into WW2 and this book is great historical fiction. The author definitely did his research to take a historical event and blend it with fictional characters.
I won this through a Goodreads Giveaway!! I wasn't impressed with the writing at first. It seemed that the author was struggling to introduce the characters/history/time period. I'm glad I stuck with it! The author found his rhythm! And, in doing so, I was treated to an odd, intriguing, suspenseful story.

The story follows a fictional German actor who is recruited to impersonate an American army officer with the purpose of undermining the Allies' progress during WWII. His fellow recruits are Engl
Apr 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, reviewed-books
This was an interesting take on the Battle of the Bulge from a German perspective. I appreciate the thorough research Mr. Anderson did in creating this work of fiction. As the victors WWII, it's easy to vilify all things and persons Nazi and forget that many of those who fought were forced to do so, especially toward the end of the war. This story attempts to humanize one such soldier, an actor named Max who had spent some time America before the war and returned to Germany when his American sta ...more
Todd Simpson
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a great story. This is definitely a hard book to put down once you get started. Steve Anderson really knows how to write a historical thriller that is both entertaining and captivating. The standout in this Authors books are his characters, and the background and attention to detail he puts into each one of them. You can understand that Max Kasper would rather be an Actor than go to war (who wouldn’t). It’s probably only his acting skills which get him through some of the situations he ...more
Trina Knittle
Goodreads win. Will read and review once received.

This book is interesting and written from an interesting point of view. The book did a good job of holding my interest. It was an easy and quick read. I will admit this was one of those books I probably wouldn't have picked up on my own. A good read.
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it
The book is set just prior to and during the Battle of the Bulge in WWII. The main character is an actor of indeterminate age (I'm guessing around 40) who has tried living in New York and, unable to get many roles, returns to Germany just before the war. The story is interesting and the main character is likeable.
This is the story of a failed actor who is plucked from the Eastern Front, to take part in an elaborate but poorly thought-out plan to infiltrate behind American lines in the last days of WWII, disguised as American soldiers.
Max is an appealing character who gradually reveals how he comes to be in this situation.
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I'm the author of the Kaspar Brothers novels (The Losing Role, Liberated, Lost Kin) and other books. Under False Flags is the prequel to my latest novel, The Preserve. I was a Fulbright Fellow in Germany and am a literary translator as well as a freelance editor. I live in Portland, Oregon.

More about me:
Years ago, I planned to become a history professor. Then I discovered fiction writing — I cou

Other books in the series

Kaspar Brothers (3 books)
  • Liberated: A Novel of Germany, 1945 (Kaspar Brothers #2)
  • Lost Kin (Kaspar Brothers #3)

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