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Extended Audio Sample The Good German, 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:
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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.” 


Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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