“An Honorable German” by Charles McCain is a look at World War II from a German sailor’s point of view. This is not your usual WW II book that portrays the concentration camp horrors or the dominance of the Nazi party (although the Nazis do end up being part of the plot)-it is a naval warfare book. The novel’s main character Max definitely wants to sink as many British and American ships as possible and is a very courageous officer. But when he and his captain successfully corner an enemy ship, they rescue the crew before they sink the ship. After several years of WW II service, Max gets to be a captain himself and he has a crew of younger Nazi sailors serving under him. He finds the Nazi
slogans and salute (which he likens to hailing a cab) ridiculous but he is careful what he says around these sailors. As the book progresses and Max makes journeys home to Berlin, he sees that city being destroyed and hears tales of what is going on in the eastern front and it is all opposite of what the propaganda is saying. He slowly comes to realize that Germany might lose the war but is determined to continue to do his part as a sailor. He is ordered to the Florida coast to sink ships there and that is where the situation arises in which he must make a decision that will effect him for the rest of his life. “An Honorable German” is a meticulously researched book and is a welcome addition to any collection of WW II novels.