The One Man by Andrew Gross– Audio Version
1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendel and his family were trying to flee Paris when they were caught and forced onto a train, along with thousands of other Jewish families. At the other end of the long, torturous train ride, Alfred 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, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Krakow 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.
My Review: 5 stars
The One Man was an edge of your seat thriller that takes place within the death camps of Auschwitz. The One Man is just that, as a young man employed by the U.S. government is selected and gently coerced to enter the concentration camps to find ‘the one man’.
You may be familiar with author Andrew Gross as he’s a written 14 books prior to this in the suburban thriller genre. Five of those he wrote with James Patterson and nine of those on his own. I was lucky enough to meet him on a stop he made in Chicago and his presentation was quite captivating. It’s personal to him as he tells Dave Berry in an interview; “My father-in-law came here from Poland in April, 1939. Six months later, the war broke out. As it turned out, he was the only member of his family to survive the war. In fact, he never learned the fate of any of the family that was left behind. Like a lot of survivors, he never talked at all about his family or even about his life back in Poland before he left. It was just too painful. In 1941, after America entered the war, my father-in-law signed up to serve his new country, and because of his facility with languages, was placed in the Intelligence corps. He never divulged a word of what his role was there either. His whole life he seemed to carry around a weight of guilt and regret, despite his successes here, and everyone pressed him to find out just what was behind it. So in some ways, I set out to write the story I thought my father-in-law might tell.”
Back to the book, my husband read this and I listened it to it audio. He agreed with me that the narrator of the audio version did a stellar performance capturing emotion and the many accents and dialects. I was literally sitting in the Target parking lot one afternoon listening to the audio because I just couldn’t bare getting out of the car and not knowing what happens.
This book offered historical drama, thrilling escapades, romance, death camp brutality, horrific loss, WW2 politics, trust and excitement. It really had it all. I can say very little with out giving too much away, so this is one you’ll just have to trust me on. Personally, I made my own mistake by having this on as my audio in the car, while at the same time reading Mischling. Two holocaust books concurrently is not a good idea even if they were completely different.
In switching genres and publishing houses to write historical fiction, the author took a leap of faith. I’m sure it will be the first of many fabulous novels and successes.