From the Boston Phoenix

Boston Phoenix
August 18th, 2009

…Like many of the recent movies, the written word is taking up the trend started last year with Valkyrie and The Reader and focusing not on the Reich’s evil and the suffering it caused but rather on the “Good German.” And like Inglourious Basterds, some of these new books could be accused of trivializing Nazi enormities by making them an element in a pop-genre entertainment.

Both tendencies are evident in Charles McCain’s well-researched and fitfully gripping AN HONORABLE GERMAN: A NOVEL OF WORLD WAR II (Hachette; 384 pages; $24.99), a war story that features the exploits of the title naval officer, Max Brekendorf. Max isn’t the luckiest guy in the German navy, serving first on the doomed pocket battleship Graf Spee and then on an equally ill-fated raider. He’s not the most perceptive, either; it isn’t till he gets accidentally arrested while on leave in Berlin in 1941 that he notices the regime might not be on the up-and-up. “I’ve been away two years fighting for my country,” he explains. “How was I to know that I was in more danger from the Gestapo than the Royal Navy?” Now that he knows, however, it still takes him about another 150 pages to do anything about it…

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

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