Carolyn's Reviews > The Good German: A Novel

The Good German by Joseph Kanon
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's review
Jun 08, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, history, library-books
Recommended to Carolyn by: Jim Gysin
Read from June 26 to 30, 2012

Great story, beautifully told. It presents a very sophisticated and nuanced view of German war guilt and the things people did to survive under the Nazis. The descriptions of Berlin in the summer of 1945 are so atmospheric it's like being there. They made me nostalgic: I was there in the summer of 1958 when there was still a lot of war damage. It's probably the most exciting city I've ever been in, maybe because it was still quite dangerous then, with soldiers pointing rifles at anyone who approached the center of the street that marked the border between East and West Berlin where The Wall was built a couple of years later. We exchanged marks on the black market, spending them on cameras, art books, and theaters. Our head professor and poli sci professor escorted a group of us 63 American college students and got a bunch of new gray hairs. They showed us the city including a massive war memorial to the Russian soldier (in the Russian sector of course), the Brandenburg gate and Checkpoint Charlie, a refugee camp, the Voice of America studio, the Free University, etc. We went to a night club called The Eggshell in a basement. We could ride the train into East Berlin (one girl got turned around and had a very hard, scary time getting back), where we saw the 15-or-so-story buildings, one room thick, with weed-filled vacant lots behind, and only two or three big black limos on the street. In the American sector, construction was going on 24/7 and the streets were packed with vehicles.

Anyway, this book brought it all back and then some; most of the time while reading it I could have thought it was fact, not fiction. Plenty of plot twists and a very satisfying ending. Please pardon my rambling!
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim It sounds as if you like Berlin-related WWII thrillers and the like as much as I do. If you haven't done so already, you owe it to yourself to check out Philip Kerr, David Downing and Rebecca Cantrell (listed on the basis of who has been covering Berlin the longest). There are others, as well, but these three are the first to come to my mind these days.

Carolyn Thanks, Jim. Will do.

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