The One Man

The One Man

Mysterious Book Report No. 273

by John Dwaine McKenna

Pundits the world over have examined, discussed, analyzed, diagramed, debated, researched and written thousands upon thousands of books, articles and dissertations on the subject of the Second World War.  It’s the object of infinite fascination and endless study; perhaps because it was the most momentous, and tragic event in all of human history—costing at least 60, and possibly as many as 90 or 100 million human lives, plus another 25 million war-related injuries—WWII is undisputedly the most calamitous event ever.  And, tucked in amongst all of the mind-numbing statistics, is that horror of horrors known as the Final Solution . . . the attempt by the Nazis to exterminate all of the Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and congenitally disabled persons in Europe.  Today, we call it The Holocaust, and memorialize it in order to prevent such a cruel and sadistic tragedy from ever happening again.  It’s the subject of a great new adventure yarn by bestselling thriller author Andrew Gross.

The One Man, (Minotaur Books, $26.99, 415 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-07950-3) is based partly on personal family history, some factual events, and of course, a lot of the conjecture found in every author’s favorite premise: The What If scenario.  In his research preparation for the novel, Mr. Gross learned of the narrow escape by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Nils Bohr from the Nazis, and the fantastic true story of a British soldier named Denis Avey, who broke into the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in Poland and then escaped, bringing word of the atrocities there to the Allied High Command.

What if, a world-class scientist having knowledge vital to the war effort, information needed to create the ultimate weapon, was sent to the most notorious of all death camps? And there you have the plot of The One Man. His name is Alfred Mendl.  He’s a renowned physicist, possessing theoretical science that only one other physicist in the world has . . . and he is working with the enemy.

In the United States, Bill Donovan, the legendary founder of the OSS (which later became the CIA), recruits a young Polish-American intelligence officer named Nathan Blum to attempt a rescue.  All Blum has to do is secretly infiltrate one of the most heavily guarded and well-defended clandestine installations the world has ever devised, find a single individual among hundreds of thousands spread over hundreds of restricted acres, and escape with him.   It’s a  mission with the  word ‘suicide’ written  all over it . . . and a novel that will captivate all who read it, while at the same time educating them about some of the horrors that took place in the concentration camps of World War II.  If you’re a lover of thrillers and historical fiction, as I am, you won’t want to miss this compelling read.  It’s one for the ages and the voice of an author who should be on everyone’s must-read list.

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