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“An Honorable German” by Charles McCain

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.

Stacy W.

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One Response to ““An Honorable German” by Charles McCain”

  1. thank you for your thoughtful comments on AHG. I went through the final manuscript one last time in November of 2008. My editor told me he was going to come and break into my apt and steal the manuscript from me unless I finished. I told him I had one more fact to double check. He said, “what is that?” I said, “I need to verify the depth below which the outer torpedo doors cannot be opened because of the water pressure. I think if they went deeper than one hundred meters they couldn’t open the forward torpedo doors but it might be 130 meters. I asked the number one U-Boat historian in the world and he didn’t know so I’m not sure what to do.” “Charles,” my editor said, “if the number one UBoat historian in the world doesn’t know then readers won’t know you may or may not have made a mistake. And we’re talking about 30 meters! Your holding up the book for 30 meters. Stop that and send it back!” I did.

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