The Good German Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Good German

Holt, Sept. 2001, 26.00, 496 pp.
ISBN: 0805064222

    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.
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    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.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The Good German

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   1930's-1950's Spying/Terrorism Thriller    -   Yes Cloak & Dagger Plotlets:    -   kidnap/rescue What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   50% Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   writer Age:    -   40's-50's


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   Germany Misc setting    -   prison

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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