This thriller is both a touching love story and a masterful portrayal of the struggle for geopolitical control of postwar Germany.
With World War II finally coming to an ending, Jake Geismar, former Berlin correspondent for CBS, has managed to wangle one of the coveted 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 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 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 devastated, 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 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 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 first rank.
The war had made him famous. Not as famous as Murrow, the voice of London, and not as famous as Quent Reynolds, now the voice of the documentaries, but famous enough to get a promise from Collier's ("four pieces, if you can get there") and then the press pass to Berlin. In the end, it was Hal Reidy who'd made the difference, juggling the press slots like seating arrangements, UP next to ScrippsHoward, down the table from Hearst, who'd assigned too many people anyway.
"I can't get you out till Monday, though. They won't give us another plane, not with the conference on. Unless you've got some pull. "
Hal grinned. "You're in worse shape than I thought. Say hello to Nanny Wendt for me, the prick." Their censor from the old days, before the war, when they'd both been with Columbia, a nervous little man, prim as a governess, who liked to run a pen through their copy just before they went on the air. "The Ministry of ...
If you liked The Good German, try these:
Philip Kerr returns with his best-loved character, Bernie Gunther, in the fifth novel in what is now a series: a tight, twisting, compelling thriller that is firmly rooted in history.
The diary of a young woman, recording her and her neighbors' experiences as, for six weeks in 1945, Berlin fell to the Russian army.
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The Charmers by Elizabeth Adler
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