The Good German

The Good German

Read by: Stanley Tucci
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.
  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • ISBN 9780743518673 | 
  • October 2001
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.



In post-WWII Hollywood, Ben Collier has returned from the front lines to find that his brother Danny has died from a fall off a hotel balcony.  But the information surrounding Danny’s accident is blurred, and Ben makes his way to Los Angeles wondering why Danny, a war hero and burgeoning filmmaker, would leave behind a life of promise and respect.  Or was it not his choice after all?

In Joseph Kanon’s most intricate novel to date, Stardust follows Ben on an informative and mysterious trek through the hush-hush world of 1940s Hollywood.  As he attempts to piece together the specifics of his brother’s death, Ben is hurled into a stream of secret deals, political maneuvering, and the beginning murmurs of the Hollywood Communist witch hunts.

With a lush depiction of the era, Kanon weaves a tale of intrigue, suspense, and romance that looks behind the film lens and into the hearts of émigrés and American moviemakers of the time.  Lights, camera, action…


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About the Author

Joseph Kanon
Photograph © Robin Straus

Joseph Kanon

Joseph Kanon is the Edgar Award–winning author of Leaving Berlin, Istanbul PassageLos AlamosThe Prodigal SpyAlibiStardust, and The Good German, which was made into a major motion picture starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. He lives in New York City.