The German, 'Mr. Kai'
and The Devil
Pearl Harbor: The Shocking Story of a Missed Opportunity
This story is true … Most of it.
The German ... is a fictionalized version of a German man’s Faustian Bargain with the Japanese Consulate in Honolulu prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. It’s the story of how he and those in and out of government had what others dream of having: the opportunity to change history.
It’s a story that leaves the reader haunted by these questions:
What if the Honolulu FBI had acted on its suspicions and questioned the German?
What if American intelligence—because the FBI had done its job—needn’t have relied on code breaking or a prompt reading of intercepts to fathom Japanese intentions?
What if the administration had prior knowledge of an attack because the FBI had done its job and informed American intelligence of Japan’s plans?
What if Japan had decided not to attack Pearl Harbor because the Honolulu FBI had arrested their German agent?
And why has history blacked out—redacted—his role as though he never existed? It was the curious case of a spy who never was, a song unsung.
FROM THE BOOK: "Abruptly, the scratching and clanking of the key to his isolation cell jolts Steiner from his reverie. Hungry, exhausted, bewildered and emotionally drained, he slowly hauls himself to his feet and capitulates to the two soldiers who handcuff and half drag him to the familiar interrogation room. They pass cell after cell of young men, presumably soldiers. He has no idea how long he has been in this place. He figures they question him at least once a day, maybe more, so it has been several days. Maybe He’s lost count.
The guards deposit him roughly onto a metal folding chair. A bright light blinds him. He has lain in semi darkness for hours on a thin, blue-striped mattress infested with bed bugs. He squints, wanting to rub his watery, itchy eyes, but his hands are cuffed behind the chair, tugging at his shoulder joints. He squirms, seeking relief from the searing pain and light, trying to rub his eyes on his shoulders.
“All this because I needed money,' he moans."
READERS RESPOND: "Engaging and well told, a page-turner. It's a story, fictionalized, of course, that few people know, loaded with irony and 'what ifs,' which are always fascinating. History abounds with alternatives, and Infamy! is no exception.
The author offers logical and reasonable suppositions about his characters' choices. Was there ever a more unlikely spy than Rolf Steiner?
Above all, what are we to make of the FBI's ineptitude and Franklin Roosevelt's duplicity. The author challenges us to consider that 'the 'infamous' that fall (1941) were legion.' I found it fascinating to create my list of possibilities. Fox is correct; they were 'legion.'" — 'Gold Star' - Amazon
Stephen Fox's The German ... cleverly mixes fact and fiction ... to bring us the inside story of the days leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. We are introduced to the Steiners, a real life ex-pat German family living in Honolulu, a family with the familiar stresses and foibles common to family life ... What are the Steiners up to? They visit the Japanese Consulate; their nine year-old son takes the long way to school and uses a telescope to study the harbor. They always need money ...
Meanwhile, one of the married FBI agents begins a passionate love affair with a beautiful young woman who unbeknownst to him is the Steiners' daughter ... Why does J. Edgar Hoover insist the Steiners not be taken in for questioning? We know, of course, what happened at Pearl Harbor. What we don't know is what role if any the Steiners played, or what happened to them and the agents who were on their case in the days and years following the attack. In The German ... Fox gives us the fascinating details. — Amazon