The Losing Role

The Losing Role

4.6 7
by Steve Anderson

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In the last winter of WWII a failed German actor, Max Kaspar, is forced to join an absurdly desperate secret mission in which he must impersonate an enemy American officer. So Max cooks up his own fanatical plan — he'll use his false identity to escape tyranny and war and flee to the America he'd once abandoned.

The Losing Role is based on an actual


In the last winter of WWII a failed German actor, Max Kaspar, is forced to join an absurdly desperate secret mission in which he must impersonate an enemy American officer. So Max cooks up his own fanatical plan — he'll use his false identity to escape tyranny and war and flee to the America he'd once abandoned.

The Losing Role is based on an actual false flag operation during 1944's Battle of the Bulge that's been made infamous in legend but in reality was a doomed farce. In all the tragic details and with some dark humor, this is the story of an aspiring talent who got in over his head and tried to break free.

The Losing Role is the prequel to Liberated: A Novel of Germany, 1945—Max Kaspar is the older brother of German-American US Army captain Harry Kaspar in Liberated. The third novel in the series, Lost Kin, reunites the estranged Kaspar brothers in 1946 Munich.

Includes an excerpt of Liberated: A Novel of Germany, 1945 (Kaspar Brothers Book 2).

"The book’s pacing and dialogue are sharply turned ... Anderson skillfully portrays transformation in all of his characters." —Historical Novel Society

"A touching yet painful story ... [Max] is human in the face of hardship and choses to continue living, but on his own terms." —Awesome Indies

"A terrific book that deserves a wide audience. It is exciting and funny and keeps you thinking long after the action is over." —Rose City Reader

"Excellent dialogue, well-crafted characters, and enough dramatic tension to saw a Panzer in half." —The New Podler Review of Books

"The book does a marvelous job of showing the ‘fog of war’ wherein no one truly understands what is going on once the attack has begun." —Historical Novel Review

"A perfect combination of plot-driven action and character study." —Red Adept Reviews

Awesome Indies Approved
B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree
Independent Novel Best of 2010, The New Podler Review of Books

Product Details

Steve Anderson
Publication date:
Kaspar Brothers
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File size:
355 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Steve Anderson is the author of the Kaspar Brothers series (The Losing Role, Liberated, Lost Kin), Under False Flags: A Novel, and other works centered on WWII and its aftermath. In The Other Oregon: A Thriller, he writes about his home state. Anderson was a Fulbright Fellow in Germany and is also a literary translator of German. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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The Losing Role 4.6 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 8 reviews.
ToddSimpson 9 months ago
Wow, what a great story. This is definitely a hard book to put down once you get started. Steve Anderson really knows how to write a historical thriller that is both entertaining and captivating. The standout in this Authors books are his characters, and the background and attention to detail he puts into each one of them. You can understand that Max Kasper would rather be an Actor than go to war (who wouldn’t). It’s probably only his acting skills which get him through some of the situations he has to face. In reading each one of Steve Anderson’s books I’ve learnt a bit more of WWII history, but more so because of his in depth descriptions I could visualise the horrors of war, and the aftermath. If you haven’t read one of his books, then I would highly recommend you do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes you want to read the follow up involving the main character's brother.
indiebrag More than 1 year ago
We are proud to announce that The Losing Role by Steve Anderson is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells a reader that this book is well worth a reader's time and money!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
snotbottom More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this very much. I've found myself drawn more and more to history and historical fiction and Steve Anderson did a great job with both in The Losing Role. His attention to detail in the locations and events surrounding the storyline are much appreciated, yet those details are used to bring life to the story rather than merely rehashed trivia. It is also refreshing to see a portrayal of a German soldier as something other a buffoon or a soldier mindlessly following in Hitler's quest for world domination. Max is simply a German actor who gets drafted into service during wartime, yet all he wants to do is to entertain his audience, wherever that may be. The Losing Role is an excellent story that you don't have to be a history buff to enjoy.
Stimulated-Outlet More than 1 year ago
World War II and the German false flag operation are historical facts, but Anderson takes poetic license with the details, introducing us to an imaginary German soldier known as Max Kaspar. His geniality and optimism seem out of place in the middle of a battlefield, and yet the author depicts him with just enough hardness to make his persona believable. When an impossible mission is set before him, it is easy to wish for his personal success and to cheer him on anxiously, even with an ever-present awareness of how the war finally ends. The characters in this novel are well-drawn. While some personalities may touch upon stereotypes, the author adds enough minor detail and emotional range to make his creations human and accessible. Flashbacks into Max's past help the reader to understand his present mindset, and subtle nuances in the dialogue reveal more about motives and suspicions than the conversations appear to discuss. The author's attention to speech and word choice creates consistency and clearly distinguishes each character from the next. Even as Max slowly loses himself in his role, the reader never loses his handle on Max. More often than not, The Losing Role plays fast and loose with the basic rules of grammar - and it works. The sentences, much like Max's thoughts, alternate between well-structured and half-formed, complex and simple. Sections of stream-of-consciousness writing allow us to access the protagonist's mind, while more formally written passages convince us that the author is in full command of his pen. The sprinkling of German adds authenticity, and the combination of Anderson's writing style and well-chosen descriptions gives us the sense that we are actually present in POW camps, icy woods, or an old, abandoned theater. As an espionage thriller, The Losing Role succeeds in capturing and maintaining a reader's attention; the constant, underlying tension practically demands it. The pacing is outstanding, as are the explanations of "tells" that give the German spies away. War novels are not usually my genre of choice. Even so, Anderson's book renders that preference wholly irrelevant through wit, charm, and a well-crafted plot. I look forward to the next installment in this innovative series. Stimulated Outlet Book Reviews
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
"The Losing Role" by Steve Anderson is a historical fiction book which takes place during World War II. The story follows a failed German actor who is drafted to infiltrate American lines posing as an American officer. Max Kaspar, a.k.a. failed German-American actor Maximilian von Kaspar, is fighting on the Eastern front when he is drafted by the SS for an unknown mission. Soon Max discovers that he has been recruited to impersonate American officers and cause havoc behind enemy lines. Realizing the absurdity of the plan, Max devises his own plan which ultimately, he hopes, will bring him back to America and to his true love, the theater. I'm a sucker for espionage thrillers especially if they take place in WWII. "The Losing Role" is an interesting book with a refreshing twist, it is told from the view point of a German solider - and a likable one at that. Max has been disillusioned by the promises of America, he has been grinded by the rough life of an immigrant and an actor and has decided to go back and protect the Fatherland. As an immigrant I can certainly understand Max's disappointment. Many immigrants come to America with a promise of "streets lined with gold" only to realize that the only thing guaranteed is hard work and that there is no such thing as "easy money". No matter what everyone else say. Mr. Anderson made Max an affable character, an actor wearing a uniform due to his naïveté. We meet Max on the brutal Eastern front, fighting the Russians, but learn about his life in America through flashbacks. This is a well researched and fascinating book. Mr. Anderson's description of Operation Greif (Germans posing as Americans) comes across very vividly as a part of the last attempt for the Germans to turn over the war, even though it seems that the men in the field realize that it is in vain. However the confusion that Operation Greif caused among the Americans is well documented and Mr. Anderson does a wonderful job bringing that to life. Some historical characters, such as the colorful German Lt. Colonel Otto Skorzeny, make a cameo which is always a pleasure. Skorzeny was the leader of Operation Greif and lived to see the end of the war (and then some), he was a formidable commando. For more book reviews please visit ManOfLaBook dot com