by Andrew Gross
Published August 23rd 2016 by Minotaur Books
Synopsis: 1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendl is separated from his family and sent to the men’s camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life’s work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge. Knowledge that could start a war, or end it.
Nathan Blum works behind a desk at an intelligence office in Washington, DC, but he longs to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way, and he has a particular skill set the U.S. suddenly needs. Nathan is fluent in German and Polish, he is Semitic looking, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Polish ghetto. Now, the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: Nathan must sneak into Auschwitz, on a mission to find and escape with one man.
The One Man, a historical thriller from New York Times bestseller Andrew Gross, is a deeply affecting, unputdownable series of twists and turns through a landscape at times horrifyingly familiar but still completely compelling.
My Review: If you have ever read any books written by Andrew Gross and thought you had him pegged, think again. This historical thriller was not what I would have expected. It is an amazing read that kept me turning the pages except when I had to put it down to get a handle on my emotions.
The One Man is set during WWII mainly in Auschwitz. The United States is on a mission to save Dr. Alfred Mendl, a Jewish Pole who just happens to be an electromagnetic physics professor who is a resident of Auschwitz. They are convinced that what he knows will knock at least six months off the race to create the atomic bomb (and win the war). They are considering the unthinkable, sending someone to break into Auschwitz to get Mendl out.
Nathan Blum escaped from the Polish ghetto in Krakow a few years earlier and when he arrived in the U.S. he joined the army. He always felt guilty about leaving his parents and sister behind, even though it was their request. He learned that they were killed in the ghetto in retribution for the killing of a Gestapo officer. He is currently working at a desk job as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Army, but has made no secret of the fact that he wanted to do more. Because he speaks Polish and German, he was approached to take on the top secret mission. Blum agrees to break into Auschwitz to rescue Mendl and bring him back to the United States.
The story that Andrew Gross has written is mesmerizing. It is exciting, creative, emotional and moves very quickly. This is not a memoir, but the descriptions of life in the camp are gut-wrenching and similar to many I have read in other books. The ending of this book had me tearing up, it was a totally unexpected ending, but once I read it, it was very fitting.
I definitely recommend this book! If you like historical fiction, you will enjoy this book. If you like reading about WWII, you will like this book. If you enjoy a good thriller/suspenseful read, you will like this book. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley. This did not affect my review in any way.