Before World War II forced him to leave, Jake Geismar,
was CBS' reporter in Berlin. Now with the war over, CBS
sends Jake back to Berlin to cover the Potsdam Conference.
An obsessed Jake could not care less about a stuffy
conference with a bunch of aging heads of state ready to
carve up Europe like the failed efforts of Metternich a
century before. Instead, Jake needs to know what happened
to his prewar lover, Lena.
Jake becomes interested in the corpse of an American
soldier whose murdered body is found near the conference.
The intriguing part of this homicide is the Ally military
leadership efforts to sweep the murder under a rug. Jake's
journalist instincts smell a big story so he begins his own
inquires that take him on a tour of the battered from the
capital of the Third Reich and the competition among the
winners to grab the spoils of victory, including the German
scientists like Lena's husband.
THE GOOD GERMAN is an exciting look at Berlin just
after the Nazi defeat. The story line is fantastic when
the characters deal with ethics and morality especially
local efforts to expunge feelings of guilt over atrocities
and over losing. The tale slows down when Joseph Kanon
turns it more into a thriller that interferes with an
incredible character study filled with pathos as Allies and
Germans feel different degrees of inadequacy, guilt,
mistrust, and denial.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted September 8, 2001