Naval Warfare Books

Book reviews

An Honorable German

Charles McCain

2009, Grand Central Publishing
ISBN 0446538981
Hardcover, 384 pages

Type. Historical fiction
Pros. Careful research and very good action sequences
Cons. Personal development might be better

The story of this title is good and fairly believable. Our main character, Max Brekendorf, is a young officer in the German Navy stationed onboard the pocket battleship Graf Spee on its famous journey in the fall of 1939. He then finds himself in neutral Argentina and finally on a merchant raider in the Indian Ocean. Finally, later in the war having barely survived his raider being sunk, he joins the U-boat force like several of his former colleagues from the Graf Spee did.

The book deals with his U-boat experience during the hard times and his girlfriend back home during the Allied bombing of Berlin and political undertones with her family. Max has to deal with a hard-core Nazi among his crew that is going to make his life very difficult later on.

The author has clearly done his research into naval matters and the action sequences feel very good and make the book. Attention to detail is very good he in a few places puts in a detail I did not know (why teakwood is used on decks of warships for example) which is great.

The book sometimes feels a bit "loaded", that is it contains lots of marginal information that the author wanted to include. None of it damages the story as such but it might have been left out without harm. Another problem is that some of the intricacies of the relationships between the Nazi's and the honourable Germans might be stronger.

Amusing side note related to the point above is that itself was born out of my extensive research into U-boats in preparation for my own historical thriller. Being a bit stuck with the story in 1995 I put some of the material online and the book has not been written - yet.

I recommend this title - it's a good read overall. Fans of U-boat and naval fiction should be pleased.

Disclosure: was provided with a free review copy.

Review written by GuĂ°mundur Helgason.

Published on 17 Nov 2009.

This title is highly recommended.

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