Sunday, May 24, 2009
AN HONORABLE GERMAN by Charles McCain (Grand Central Publishing)
Although World War II ended almost 65 years ago, it remains a popular topic for discussion. It has been remembered by people who lived through it, by politicians and historians. It has been taught in our schools and is still discussed with much bitterness by those whose families were changed forever. Many books, both fiction and non-fiction have been written about it. To the winning Allies in the West, the war represented the most important event in the 20th century.
And now emerges a first-time author, Charles McCain, who has written a dazzling novel of the war—but from the perspective of a young German naval lieutenant, Max Brekendorf. Max is stationed on a ‘pocket’ battleship,honoring a German WWI ship, the ‘Graf Spee.' As the tides of war begin to change, Max starts to get a different perspective on the events that are evolving around the globe. He worries about the people back in Germany, especially his fiancé, Mareth.
McCain has done his research well, one can feel himself on the deck of the battleship as it plows the South Atlantic seeking to destroy Allied vessels, especially freighters carrying much needed supplies to Europe. However, the Graf Spee is trapped off the coast of neutral Argentina by the British, and his captain is forced to scuttle the ship. Max and his friend, Dieter eventually escape from South America and are assigned a less glamorous ship stationed in the Far East. As the war evolves during the 40s Max must come face to face with the ever changing tides of war.
This is a fascinating story of war from a perspective few of us have ever known. An excellent first book for Charles McCain.