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Extended Audio Sample The Good German Audiobook, by Joseph Kanon Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,998 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joseph Kanon Narrator: Stanley Tucci Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2001 ISBN: 9780743518673
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With World War II finally 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 Jake stumbles on a murder—an American soldier washes up 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. Berlin in July 1945 is like nowhere else—a tragedy and a feverish party after the end of the world.

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 win the next war. And hanging over everything is the larger crime, a crime so huge that it seems—the worst irony—beyond punishment.

At once a murder mystery, a moving love story, and a riveting portrait of a unique time and place, The Good German is a historical thriller of the first rank.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Stanley Tucci impersonates each character so convincingly that I checked the liner notes twice; I couldn’t believe this was just one reader.” 

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Kanon hits every note just right, from the wide-angle descriptions of Berlin’s pockmarked moonscape to the tellingly detailed portraits of the city’s shellshocked survivors. Superb popular fiction, combining propulsive narrative drive with a subtle grasp of character and a fine sense of moral ambiguity.” 

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Simonsen | 2/16/2014

    " Excellent post WWII drama set in Berlin. It's an intense political thriller. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trilby | 2/15/2014

    " I'm writing this review now because I just saw the film based on it. Am I glad I didn't waste my money seeing the movie in a theater--a total waste of George Clooney and Cate Blanchett--with ridiculous alterations of plot and character. If you've seen the movie, don't be scared away from the book. OK, I am a sucker for historical noir thrillers set in postindustrial landscapes. Nevertheless, this book is a fascinating view of Germany in 1945, when the U.S. and the Soviet Union were competing for the spoils. In this case, what they're each trying to grab are Nazi rocket scientists, all tainted by the use of slave labor in the production of the V2. As history notes, the U.S. won the grab in getting Werner von Braun and others to work for NASA. The book shows just what kind of deep moral ambiguity was involved in the quest for and acquisition of these turncoat engineers by the U.S. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellen | 2/4/2014

    " I need to go back and see this movie again. I remember liking it but also feeling that it left me cold. The book is very good and, I think, much more complex. A fascinating portrait of the aftermath, which I think is so fascinating. What happens AFTER something horrendous...how do people cope and go on? And who is held responsible? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy Daft | 1/27/2014

    " Although I couldn't get the movie actors out of my mind while reading the book; George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, I really enjoyed this novel set in 1945 Berlin. Evokes much thought about who were really the bad people in Germany during the war. Plot was a little twisted and confusing, but the love story conquers all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Travis Kendall | 1/14/2014

    " First, forget about the movie, it sucked and was quite different than the book. This is a very good, old fashioned noir murder mystery. Kanon gives a great deal of detail which adds to the atmosphere of the book. A rally decent murder mystery. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christopher Culp | 1/5/2014

    " Conveys the post-war atmosphere in Berlin with details you can nearly smell and taste. The plot and characters are strong, but the depiction of post-war Berlin is the highlight of this book. A great read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 12/26/2013

    " Outstanding book. One of the best spy and suspense books I have read. I highly recommend and am looking forward to reading other books this author has written "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pam Knight | 11/23/2013

    " This was a fairly bad movie, but a wonderful book. The first 40 pages or so were slow, but its worth the slog to get to the meat of the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelley | 10/25/2013

    " I love Joseph Kanon and wish he had a million more books I could read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ann-Marie | 7/27/2013

    " Predictable and formulaic and I read the entire thing anyway. That doesn't speak well for this reader. The plot did have its moments, notably those portraying daily life in post-war Germany. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margena | 7/11/2013

    " Excellent fiction with lots of details about life during WW2. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Briynne | 6/13/2013

    " I don't know if the book was technically that good or not, but I had a lot of fun reading it. The end was sort of blah, but the characters, setting, circumstances, etc. were enjoyable. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sean Storrs | 4/16/2013

    " While I enjoyed the idea of the novel and the moral questions explored in it, I had a hard time getting emotionally invested in the characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marshall Robinson | 4/13/2013

    " A deeper and more intense story than Kanon's later work, Istanbul Passage. Dealt with German guilt after WW ll. Eventually made into a movie which was a very disapointing representation of the book (in my opinion). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cleopatra1074 | 3/25/2013

    " Good book, but his book The Alibi is better. Don't even watch the movie , it is the worst hack job done on a book I've ever seen, totally changed the whole point of the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denise Derocher | 3/17/2013

    " An outstandingly written novel about a murder that occurs in occupied Germany after WWII, surrounded by the eternal question "Where is there a 'good' German?" after the brutality of the concentration camps was discovered. Excellent!!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 11/2/2012

    " It was a nice story but a bit long winded at times. It provided some insight into how things must have been in Germany immediately following WWII. I was left with the feeling of both satisfaction and uneasiness. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah Riddle | 7/29/2012

    " This is one of those books that may not change the world, but it is really gripping and fun. Holla. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 3/11/2012

    " This is an interesting book that takes place in post-World War II Germany. It has a little romance, intrigue and mystery. What I liked was reading about what it was like in Germany after the war. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charakal | 7/14/2011

    " This was a much more gripping novel than I anticipated. Very harsh look at the days of Berlin just following the Allied victory. From what I understand the movie was completely different and didn't do the book justice at all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan | 4/27/2011

    " Murder and more in postwar Germany "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Manuela | 3/7/2011

    " Un romanzo storicamente ben scritto, che racconta una fase della storia a molti sconosciuta in maniera molto realistica e sofferta.

    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Greg | 1/10/2011

    " A good follow up after a trip to Berlin. For rarely reading mysteries, this was a welcome change. The story takes many twists and just when you think you have something figured out the plot gets deeper right to the very end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Irene | 1/10/2011

    " A little slow but excellent picture of post-WWII Germany "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill | 12/22/2010

    " I liked this much better than Alibi. I wish I had read this first. Learned a lot about WWII. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 11/22/2010

    " A real page turner. I must be in a WWII reading phase! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ben | 10/12/2010

    " Excellent murder mystery set just after the end of WWII in Berlin. Fascinating historical info about the aftermath of war, culpability, love, etc. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roxanne | 8/8/2010

    " BERLIN IN RUINS...mystery, misery good read "

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About the Author

Joseph Kanon is the author of several novels, including Los Alamos, The Prodigal Spy, The Good German, Alibi, and Stardust. Before becoming a full-time writer, he was a book publishing executive. He lives in New York City.

About the Narrator

Stanley Tucci is an actor, writer, film producer, and film director. He was nominated for several notable film awards, including an Academy Award for his performance in The Lovely Bones. Other recent celebrated roles include The Devil Wears Prada and Julie & Julia. He has won two Golden Globe Awards and has also received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his role as Johnny in the 2002 Broadway revival of Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.