The Fifth Column
#1 New York Times bestselling author of The One Man Andrew Gross once again delivers a tense, stirring thriller of a family torn apart set against the backdrop of a nation plunged into war. February, 1939. Europe teeters on the brink of war. In New York City, twenty-two thousand cheering Nazi supporters pack Madison Square Garden for a raucous, hate-filled rally. In a Hell’s Kitchen bar, Charles Mossman is reeling from the loss of his job and the demise of his marriage when a group draped in Nazi flags barges in. Drunk, Charlie takes a swing at one with tragic results and a torrent of unintended consequences follows.Two years later. America is wrestling with whether to enter the growing war. Charles’s estranged wife and six-year-old daughter, Emma, now live in a quiet brownstone in the German-speaking New York City neighborhood of Yorkville, where support for Hitler is common. Charles, just out of prison, struggles to put his life back together, while across the hall from his family, a kindly Swiss couple, Trudi and Willi Bauer, have taken a liking to Emma. But Charles begins to suspect that they might not be who they say they are.As the threat of war grows, and fears of a “fifth column”—German spies embedded into everyday life—are everywhere, Charles puts together that the seemingly amiable Bauers may be part of a sinister conspiracy. When Pearl Harbor is attacked and America can no longer sit on the sideline, that conspiracy turns into a deadly threat with Charles the only one who can see it and Emma, an innocent pawn.

The Fifth Column Details

TitleThe Fifth Column
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 10th, 2019
PublisherMinotaur Books
ISBN-139781250180001
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Fiction, Suspense, Historical Mystery

The Fifth Column Review

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Gross writes my favorite historical thrillers. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐(I thought I added my review earlier, but it wasn’t here! 😬)Andrew Gross is the master of powerful historical thrillers. No one writes them the same way. It’s 1939, and the world is gearing up for possible war. A Nazi rally in Madison Square Garden brings over twenty thousand Nazi supporters to the area. A group draped in Nazi flags comes into the bar where Charles Mossman is, a man who has recently lost his job and his marriage.On e Andrew Gross writes my favorite historical thrillers. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️(I thought I added my review earlier, but it wasn’t here! 😬)Andrew Gross is the master of powerful historical thrillers. No one writes them the same way. It’s 1939, and the world is gearing up for possible war. A Nazi rally in Madison Square Garden brings over twenty thousand Nazi supporters to the area. A group draped in Nazi flags comes into the bar where Charles Mossman is, a man who has recently lost his job and his marriage.On edge, Charlie takes a swing at one of the supporters and the dominos begin to fall.In 1941, the US is considering whether to join the war. Charlie’s wife and daughter are living in Yorkville, a German-speaking, sometimes Hitler-sympathizing, suburb of NYC. Charlie is recently out of prison and is trying desperately to put his life back together.Their across the hall neighbors, Trudy and Willi Bauer, take an interest in Charlie’s daughter, and Charlie begins to suspect they may be spies or something worse. The fear is that they are part of the “fifth column.” Charlie and his family are drawn into something sinister.So good. So tense. So gripping. Once again, Andrew Gross has delivered a solid thriller with an historical backdrop. I read this quickly because the writing and pacing were both on point. The story is character-driven with three-dimensional lives depicted and all their emotions, while also having a plot that quickens and keeps you entranced.Overall, The Fifth Column was a quick, satisfying read. I’ve read many books set on other homefronts during WWII, but The Fifth Column brings the war to the US front doorstep with some historical events I was not previously aware of. Masterful and well-done, I can’t wait to see what Andrew Gross brings us next! I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
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  • Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
    January 1, 1970
    In Andrew Gross’s latest historical thriller, complicated sociopolitical dynamics from the late 1930s surround a conspiracy uncovered involving the U.S. government and a secret fifth column of German spies living on US soil. The Fifth Column is particularly fascinating because it is set in a time period that I don’t often see explored in fiction, particularly in the thriller genre. Intricately plotted and so entertaining!Columbia graduate student Charles Mossman is drinking at a bar in Manhattan In Andrew Gross’s latest historical thriller, complicated sociopolitical dynamics from the late 1930s surround a conspiracy uncovered involving the U.S. government and a secret fifth column of German spies living on US soil. The Fifth Column is particularly fascinating because it is set in a time period that I don’t often see explored in fiction, particularly in the thriller genre. Intricately plotted and so entertaining!Columbia graduate student Charles Mossman is drinking at a bar in Manhattan, mourning the loss of his twin brother. His brother was killed in Spain not long before and Charles recently lost his job. Now, drowning his woes in a bar in Hell’s Kitchen seems to be the only reprieve. He is Jewish and living in New York in 1939, after all, a time when it was hard to be Jewish given the support for Nazi sentiments among many.When a group of Nazi sympathizers who attended a large pro-Hitler rally in Madison Square Garden earlier that evening get into a brawl at the bar, Charlie takes a swing that changes his life. His drunken punch ends up accidentally killing an innocent teenager, and Charlie is arrested for manslaughter.Two years later, Charlie has finished serving his sentence for manslaughter. America is on the cusp of entering the war. Returning home to his estranged wife and now six-year-old daughter Emma, Charlie realizes how much he has missed. They live in a brownstone in a German-speaking part of New York City. Support for Hitler isn’t uncommon in this neighborhood.. And his daughter has taken to spending quite a bit of time with the Bauers, a Swiss couple who live nearby.The Bauers have taken a liking to Emma. At first all seems well, but soon after arriving home, Emma reveals that she has heard the Bauers—an allegedly ant-Nazi couple—praise some of the practices the Nazis support. As Charlie becomes more suspicious about who they truly are and where the Bauers’ loyalties lie, he starts to investigate deeper. And soon he realizes a horrifying truth—the Bauers are part of a conspiracy that goes all the way to the heart of the U.S. government.A “fifth column” comes to light, German spies embedded in every day life in America. As tensions in the war escalate and Pearl Harbor is attached, the conspiracy turns deadly and Charlie must uncover it to save his daughter.One thing I enjoyed about the way Andrew Gross wrote this novel, was that it was set during WWII and was heavily influenced by the events unfolding in the world, and yet it also had very little to do with any specifics of being at war itself. It really was about the tone at the time, the conflicts and political undercurrents that were effecting Americans and especially Jewish-Americans. Brilliant and unique! I mentioned up front that this is a time period we don’t often see as a context for thrillers. Andrew Gross took a bold risk setting a conspiracy plot during such a dark and painful point in history, but it was handled with tact and an impressive weaving of fact and fiction.Charlie struggled a lot with who to trust and who to confide in during this book. He was such a damaged character but so root-able. I really wanted him to be ok. I loved his daughter Emma and how much he loved her. Flawed characters are so much more interesting in my opinion, I don’t want to read about someone who is perfect and just suffering misfortune at the hands of others. I want to read about someone who is imperfect but also tries to be better. Charlie was such a great character!A wonderfully-written historical thriller!Thank you Minotaur for my copy. Opinions are my own.
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  • Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
    January 1, 1970
    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.This was really good! I have read several books written by this author in the past and have had quite a bit of luck with them so I had a pretty good idea what to expect when I picked up this book. I found this to be a very enjoyable read. It was fast-paced with a rather complex mystery set during a really interesting period of time.Charles Mossman is at a rather low point at the start of this story. His career and his marriage are no This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.This was really good! I have read several books written by this author in the past and have had quite a bit of luck with them so I had a pretty good idea what to expect when I picked up this book. I found this to be a very enjoyable read. It was fast-paced with a rather complex mystery set during a really interesting period of time.Charles Mossman is at a rather low point at the start of this story. His career and his marriage are not in great shape and he is spending a lot of time at the local bar with a drink in his hand. Things get out of hand and Charlie learns that things be so much worse than they had been. The story picks up again a couple of years later and Charlie is wanting to make amends and get his life back. He wants a relationship with his wife and daughter and will do what needs to be done to make that happen. Charlie soon meets all of the people that are now a part of his daughter, Emma's life. He has a bad feeling about one particular couple. Things just don't seem to add up so Charlie starts to check things out on his own. I had a fantastic time watching Charlie try to puzzle through what was really going on. There were a lot of twists and turns that I didn't see coming. I loved how determined Charlie was and how he was able to maintain his focus.I did like the characters and the setting. Charlie was flawed but he was working to make a better life. He understood that he would have to work to earn back the trust of others and didn't expect too much. He was intelligent and determined. I liked that the supporting characters were fleshed out just enough that they felt real but they still had a bit a mystery to them. I thought that the time period was very well done. This book was set in the period of time just before the United States entered World War II. I thought that seeing Nazi sympathizers as a key part of the story was very eye-opening. I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a very well done thriller with an interesting historical backdrop that kept me guessing until the very end. I will definitely be reading more of Andrew Gross's work.I received a free review copy of The Fifth Column by Andrew Gross from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review.Initial ThoughtsThis was good. It moved pretty fast and kept me guessing with enough twists to keep things really interesting. It was definitely entertaining.
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  • Monnie
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars, actually.As a general rule, I don't enjoy books, movies or TV shows that involve battles, conflicts and wars. I've even given up on a couple of previously favorite authors because the focus of their latest books shifted too heavily in that direction. So when I started this one, I was more than a bit wary. Can't imagine I'll like it much, I said to myself.And it just goes to show me not to prejudge. Not only did I enjoy it, but I finished it in only two sittings. In fact, it's a very i 4.5 stars, actually.As a general rule, I don't enjoy books, movies or TV shows that involve battles, conflicts and wars. I've even given up on a couple of previously favorite authors because the focus of their latest books shifted too heavily in that direction. So when I started this one, I was more than a bit wary. Can't imagine I'll like it much, I said to myself.And it just goes to show me not to prejudge. Not only did I enjoy it, but I finished it in only two sittings. In fact, it's a very intriguing plot that is related to World War II but, happily, does not take place on a battlefield at all. It opens in New York in February 1939, when unrest in Europe is heating up and people everywhere are taking sides for and against the Nazis. Charlie Mossman, a sometimes-practicing Jew and often drunk, is in a bar and approached by some belligerent Nazi supporters. A fight ensues, and Charlie unintentionally hits a teenager, an innocent bystander. The young man dies, Charlie is charged and convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and spends the next two years in prison.When he gets out, he learns his wife has given up on him, although she's still friendly and allows him to spend time with their young daughter Emma. The United States is trying to avoid a war that's growing by leaps and bounds and fast. When he visits Emma, he meets Trudi and Willi Bauer, a couple who seem to love Emma dearly and claim to be Swiss. It doesn't take long, though, for Charllie to find clues that lead him to believe they're something else entirely. Perhaps, he suspects, they might even be members of a "fifth column," a network of German spies embedded in day-to-day life in the states (if you've watched "The Americans" on TV, you get the drift).As time goes on, Charlie becomes even more suspicious and finally discovers sufficient evidence to be sure he's right. Problem is, no one will believe him. His soon-to-be-ex-wife loves the "Swiss" couple, and Charlie's prison background doesn't exactly make him a reliable source to the police or FBI. Still, he's convinced that something big is about to go down - something that could threaten thousands of U.S. lives. When Pearl Harbor is attacked, drawing America into the war, Charlie just can't pretend everything is fine. What he does, how he does it and what happens in the end make for an exciting story.So what did I not like so much? There's a fair amount of repetition - Understandably, Charlie has to retell his findings over and over to people he thinks he can trust. But after the second or third time, even somewhat abbreviated, it got a little boring. And it didn't take long for me to wonder if the author is on a crusade against Charles Lindbergh - he pointed out several times that the late pilot at one time was a vocal supporter of Nazi Germany. Actually, that's an historical fact; but one mention would have sufficed.Those small issues aside, I was very satisfied with this book and thank the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read an advance copy.
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  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    It's a time of great turmoil as Europe is on the brink of war and Nazi supporters are growing by the numbers.So much so they enter the bar in which Charlie works and that begins the change of his life.Two years pass and now it's time to put up or shut up and join the war.However, Charlie alongside his estranged wife and 6yo daughter Emma are simply trying to survive and move forward not wishing for any more toxicity in their lives.Meanwhile, another couple take a liking in Emma and it has Charli It's a time of great turmoil as Europe is on the brink of war and Nazi supporters are growing by the numbers.So much so they enter the bar in which Charlie works and that begins the change of his life.Two years pass and now it's time to put up or shut up and join the war.However, Charlie alongside his estranged wife and 6yo daughter Emma are simply trying to survive and move forward not wishing for any more toxicity in their lives.Meanwhile, another couple take a liking in Emma and it has Charlie a bit unnerved.As the story progresses we learn not everyone has sinister motives and wish to do others harm.But why? This story played out beautifully in exquisite detail. The chapters were short, nicely written,with a quick light and fluffy feel which for avid and fast readers was truly appreciated. Reminded me of the James Patterson novels in which you can breeze right through rather nicely.A fab read that was packed with action, suspense, mystery, and intrigue.
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    Charlie Mossman, recently released from prison after serving two years for manslaughter, begins to reconnect with his daughter, Emma and estranged wife Liz. The neighbors across the hall from Liz and Emma come under suspicion from Charlie that they are Nazi spies, not the charming Swiss couple everyone else believes them to be. So Charlie sets out to investigate. What ensues is an engrossing read. The interactions between Charlie and Emma were very well written as was the investigation. The plot Charlie Mossman, recently released from prison after serving two years for manslaughter, begins to reconnect with his daughter, Emma and estranged wife Liz. The neighbors across the hall from Liz and Emma come under suspicion from Charlie that they are Nazi spies, not the charming Swiss couple everyone else believes them to be. So Charlie sets out to investigate. What ensues is an engrossing read. The interactions between Charlie and Emma were very well written as was the investigation. The plot was somewhat predictable, however, it doesn't take away from one's enjoyment of the story. The pacing was well done, with an even mix of character development and action. A very enjoyable book! My appreciation to St. Martin's Press, Andrew Gross, and NetGalley for gifting me an e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Book is available Sept. 10.
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  • Brad
    January 1, 1970
    With his book, The Fifth Column, Andrew Gross gives us a closer look at the early days of WW II."It is 1939 and the Pro-Nazi movement is strong in America. And the Isolationists hold sway in Congress. Charles Mossman makes a terrible mistake and goes to prison for two years. After he gets out, his wife wants a divorce and he struggles to find meaningful work. He meets the nice Swiss couple across the hall from his wife. But...somethings off about them. Who are they really? Charles makes a discov With his book, The Fifth Column, Andrew Gross gives us a closer look at the early days of WW II."It is 1939 and the Pro-Nazi movement is strong in America. And the Isolationists hold sway in Congress. Charles Mossman makes a terrible mistake and goes to prison for two years. After he gets out, his wife wants a divorce and he struggles to find meaningful work. He meets the nice Swiss couple across the hall from his wife. But...somethings off about them. Who are they really? Charles makes a discovery that puts himself and his family in terrible danger. And now he must make an awful choice."Gross does an excellent job giving us the mood of 1939-41 America. In hindsight we wonder what took so long, but Gross shows us the ugly side of free speech. Mossman, at times, is a hard character to pull for because of his mistakes. But he is willing to do anything for his family. You feel Mossman's frustration as he tries to get someone to believe him. It feels like you know what the ending will be, but Gross adds just enough uncertainty to make you wonder.It was good to read about a period in history that is largely ignored in fiction. With his last four books, Gross has shown he is adept at giving us a good story at different points in history. This is another excellent book from Gross. Fans of historical fiction will love it.
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  • Loy
    January 1, 1970
    The fifth Column is a character driven book by Andrew Gross. I have read many of his books and they have all been good. I was introduced to him in the Blue Zone. This book is set in New York during WW11 before America enters the war. Charles Mossman is a College professor who killed a man in a drunken brawl. He is out of prison and goes to see his wife and daughter. His wife Liz lets him visit his daughter Emily but not come back. He becomes suspicious of the couple next door who seem to not who The fifth Column is a character driven book by Andrew Gross. I have read many of his books and they have all been good. I was introduced to him in the Blue Zone. This book is set in New York during WW11 before America enters the war. Charles Mossman is a College professor who killed a man in a drunken brawl. He is out of prison and goes to see his wife and daughter. His wife Liz lets him visit his daughter Emily but not come back. He becomes suspicious of the couple next door who seem to not who they appear to be. Charles is a felon and finds it hard to find someone to take him seriously The story of the fifth column, where people are trying to bring down America, is very well written. I read the story in just a couple of sittings. Thank you for an advantage copy for a review Net Galley
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  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    I should start by saying I grew up in post WWII Yorkville hearing stories about the activities of the German Bund In the area. In fact, I was not allowed to go to several stores and restaurants in the area because my parents remembered them having Nazi flags and signs in their windows. So, I was deeply impressed by the knowledge and research that Gross put into writing this thriller. Despite the insertion of the Mossman family in the book, many of the events are true. Submarines coming to Montau I should start by saying I grew up in post WWII Yorkville hearing stories about the activities of the German Bund In the area. In fact, I was not allowed to go to several stores and restaurants in the area because my parents remembered them having Nazi flags and signs in their windows. So, I was deeply impressed by the knowledge and research that Gross put into writing this thriller. Despite the insertion of the Mossman family in the book, many of the events are true. Submarines coming to Montauk and threats to our water supply were real. Creating Charlie Mossman as a centerpiece made this totally engaging. I really enjoyed this reminder of Yorkville in the 30’ s and 40’ s. Until a few years ago many of the places that were mentioned still existed. I truly enjoyed this book and urge students studying the home front during WW II , as well as those of us who enjoy a superb thriller to grab this. I really thank NETGALLEY for this great thriller which brought back so much of my own childhood.
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  • Marilyn Mays
    January 1, 1970
    I was expecting a more in-depth plot for a thriller centered around “sleeper agents”. Nazis hidden in plain sight should be a horrifying idea in any context, yet somehow this book lacks emotional depth. It isn’t a bad story for romantic suspense readers but historians will be very disappointed.
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  • Brad
    January 1, 1970
    With his book, The Fifth Column, Andrew Gross gives us a closer look at the early days of WW II."It is 1939 and the Pro-Nazi movement is strong in America. And the Isolationists hold sway in Congress. Charles Mossman makes a terrible mistake and goes to prison for two years. After he gets out, his wife wants a divorce and he struggles to find meaningful work. He meets the nice Swiss couple across the hall from his wife. But...somethings off about them. Who are they really? Charles makes a discov With his book, The Fifth Column, Andrew Gross gives us a closer look at the early days of WW II."It is 1939 and the Pro-Nazi movement is strong in America. And the Isolationists hold sway in Congress. Charles Mossman makes a terrible mistake and goes to prison for two years. After he gets out, his wife wants a divorce and he struggles to find meaningful work. He meets the nice Swiss couple across the hall from his wife. But...somethings off about them. Who are they really? Charles makes a discovery that puts himself and his family in terrible danger. And now he must make an awful choice."Gross does an excellent job giving us the mood of 1939-41 America. In hindsight we wonder what took so long, but Gross shows us the ugly side of free speech. Mossman, at times, is a hard character to pull for because of his mistakes. But he is willing to do anything for his family. You feel Mossman's frustration as he tries to get someone to believe him. It feels like you know what the ending will be, but Gross adds just enough uncertainty to make you wonder.It was good to read about a period in history that is largely ignored in fiction. With his last four books, Gross has shown he is adept at giving us a good story at different points in history. This is another excellent book from Gross. Fans of historical fiction will love it.
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  • P.S.G. Lopes
    January 1, 1970
    I am grateful to have received the galley for this book through #NetGalley. I normally don’t read this genre of books but I was very pleasantly surprised when reading this one. I am a fan of history, particularly American history, especially during both World Wars. I found the topic wildly intriguing and I found the characters to be so wonderfully flawed and real and the whole story was so captivating from beginning to end. I was hooked pretty much from the beginning of the book. It was fast-pac I am grateful to have received the galley for this book through #NetGalley. I normally don’t read this genre of books but I was very pleasantly surprised when reading this one. I am a fan of history, particularly American history, especially during both World Wars. I found the topic wildly intriguing and I found the characters to be so wonderfully flawed and real and the whole story was so captivating from beginning to end. I was hooked pretty much from the beginning of the book. It was fast-paced, a good, gripping story that really hooks the reader in and makes you care about what’s going on throughout the story. I could really feel myself deep within the writer’s world. Prior to reading this book, I was aware that Nazi sympathizers existed throughout the United States during this era, but seeing it written in a novel made me more conscious of what a terrifying time that was in history. I feel that that part of history kind of parallels the struggles our country is currently involved in today. The Fifth Column is a very strong historical fiction piece that was definitely researched well and includes many captivating details of that tumultuous time period. This was such a fascinating read and I am so lucky to have gotten to read this book. I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good, thrilling, historical fiction piece which takes place during the World War 2 era.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    Charlie Mossman is utterly convinced that there's something fishy about Willi and Trudi Bauer, neighbors of his estranged wife Liz and much loved little daughter Emma. It's 1941 and he's pretty sure they aren't Swiss and that they aren't the kindly couple they want people to think they are. Charlie's got a problem though- he was arrested and served time for an assault which resulted in the death of a young man and he has a history of drinking. This means no one listens to him- even though he tel Charlie Mossman is utterly convinced that there's something fishy about Willi and Trudi Bauer, neighbors of his estranged wife Liz and much loved little daughter Emma. It's 1941 and he's pretty sure they aren't Swiss and that they aren't the kindly couple they want people to think they are. Charlie's got a problem though- he was arrested and served time for an assault which resulted in the death of a young man and he has a history of drinking. This means no one listens to him- even though he tells his story and the clues he's found that make him believe the Bauers are really German spies multiple times to multiple people (it would have been fine not to read the theory over and over again - once or maybe twice would have done). Charlie was a college professor before he lost so much as a result of his own actions so he feels well qualified to investigate on his own. This tale of Nazi sympathizers in NYC is well done and hits a part of history we don't often read about. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Good characters and good storytelling made this a good read.
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  • Geri
    January 1, 1970
    HOT OFF THE PRESSESAndrew Gross is one of my favorites Really enjoyed this and think you all will too.
  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    In 1939, Germany is aggressively attacking its European neighbors, but in the United States, the support for entering another war is far from unanimous. In fact, in New York City, there are many pro-Nazi demonstrations and rallies. After one such rally, Charles Mossman is sitting in a bar bemoaning the loss of his job and the seeds of failure of his marriage, when four guys draped in Nazi flags come in and Charlie reacts with tragic results - the death of a teenager and a subsequent prison sente In 1939, Germany is aggressively attacking its European neighbors, but in the United States, the support for entering another war is far from unanimous. In fact, in New York City, there are many pro-Nazi demonstrations and rallies. After one such rally, Charles Mossman is sitting in a bar bemoaning the loss of his job and the seeds of failure of his marriage, when four guys draped in Nazi flags come in and Charlie reacts with tragic results - the death of a teenager and a subsequent prison sentence. Two years later, he is out of prison and is trying to get his life back together. His wife has moved to a small apartment in Yorkville, a NYC neighborhood, with his daughter. During his twice weekly visits, Charlie meets his wife’s neighbors, Trudy and Willi Bauer, who portend to be Swiss citizens and are very fond of Emma. But Charlie notices some strange visitors to the Bauer apartment, and begins to think that all is not what it seems to be. Charlie refuses to step back from what he thinks is some kind of conspiracy, and even the fears of a “fifth column”, an enemy intrusion not on the battlefield, which fuels a well-intentioned, poorly executed adventure to determine what is going on. A good story, but I just did not like the way it was written - Charlie is sort of a bumbling detective, and the “bad guys” are somewhat stereotyped. Nonetheless, it kept my interest despite the fact that I had suspicions early on of what was going on as each new character was introduced. Gross is a good story teller, but not a great writer. My thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this ARC in exchange for my review.
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  • Faith
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve read four books by this author and “The One Man” is the only one I liked. This book had cartoon Nazis and a bumbling protagonist. The author spoon fed bits of history. I already knew that Lindbergh was a Nazi sympathizer, but even if I hadn’t known it there was no reason to repeat that fact over and over. There was a good plot but not great execution.
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  • January Gray
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Gross never fails to delver a great book! Tightly written, excellent plot! You are on the edge of your seat when reading this book!
  • Doug Yonce
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent look into an important period in American history. Prior to Pearl Harbor, America was deeply divided with factions favoring isolationism and others wanting to support allies in Europe. Others even promoted supporting Nazi government in Germany. Andrew Gross introduces a college professor from NYC into this setting. After serving two years in prison for manslaughter, the professor is out of a job and a family, but those seem to be the least of his problems as he discovers a ‘fifth co An excellent look into an important period in American history. Prior to Pearl Harbor, America was deeply divided with factions favoring isolationism and others wanting to support allies in Europe. Others even promoted supporting Nazi government in Germany. Andrew Gross introduces a college professor from NYC into this setting. After serving two years in prison for manslaughter, the professor is out of a job and a family, but those seem to be the least of his problems as he discovers a ‘fifth column’ — Nazi sympathizers living in America. It seems like it’s Charlie versus the world as he must convince others that he’s not just a conspiracy theorist.
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  • Samfreene
    January 1, 1970
    A veil of darkness is falling over the world and protests, fights and danger is in every corner . Some have come to America hiding their true cause as they become assimilated into our lives, pretending to be something they are not but, here to promote their hidden agendas and strike at the heart of our beliefs and democracy. The time period is right before the Second World War and the publicist being subjected to Nazi sympathizers and many who are here to further Hitler’s cause and agenda. Charl A veil of darkness is falling over the world and protests, fights and danger is in every corner . Some have come to America hiding their true cause as they become assimilated into our lives, pretending to be something they are not but, here to promote their hidden agendas and strike at the heart of our beliefs and democracy. The time period is right before the Second World War and the publicist being subjected to Nazi sympathizers and many who are here to further Hitler’s cause and agenda. Charles Mossman finds himself the object of ridicule and attack in a bar filled with patrons when several men draped in Nazi flags come into Hell’s Kitchen Bar and things get out of control leaving Charles in the hands of the police as a fight ensues and he accidentally hits and kills a young teen winding up spending two years in prison. Here is where his life takes on a darker turn as he’s released from prison and his Uncle Eddie gets him but, he’s totally alone. First on his agenda is to reconnect with his young daughter, Emma and wife Liz. Children are and Emma beams when she sees her father, but Liz is apprehensive and distant. Hiding behind her feelings is the fact that she might have moved on and two neighbors Trudi and Willi Bauer claiming to be Swiss but as you get to know them better the reader realizes that they are if German decent and hidden beneath their smiles are two German spies part of what is called The Fifth Column. They are s group of spies that are comprised of people that operate traitorously, subversively out of sympathy with an enemy of their country.It’s not illegal to be a Nazi sympathizer but as the story unfolds and you get to know the Bauer’s you can feel the danger coming as Emma relates certain words she learned from them or heard and the one that sends Charlie on his own hunt for justice and truth means the future in English.Willi and Trudi have endeared themselves into Emma and Liz’s lives and although Charles learns facts and information about them in unusual and illegal ways, Liz refuses to believe him even things evidence he finds and sees should have red flagged them .A mysterious woman named Noelle comes into the picture as Charles gets closer to her, tells her what he’s learned about the Bauer’s and hopes to use his connections at the college where he teaches to help her with getting her studies and she with connections to our State department promises to put him in touch with a man who might help deal with the Bauer’s. But, when Charles goes hunting and snooping in their apartment and Emma witnesses it, the result is a confrontation with Liz and things take a serious downward turn.Trudi and Willi realize that Charlie might be on to them, but will they act and come at him or will someone close to Charlie he the object of their revenge?Charlie met with someone from the state department and explained what he observed about the Bauers and what he found in their apartment. Then decided to look further and realized that some Was about to happen little did he know that he’d observe German spies and you know the significance of December 6,1941. Imagine seeing it unfold. A German sub in American waters and beer kegs but what was in them as Charles escaped being caught and then related what he saw to Latimer of the State Department and handed over the photos but something about him gave me the chills.Then a message is received, and Charlie becomes a pawn in a dangerous situation that would impact the lives of Americans if the Bauers succeeded and he carried out his role in a plot that was diabolical and yet to the Bauers flawless.A father who risked it all , realized his mistakes and only wanted his family back after going through a downward spiral and slope. Sometimes your life takes on a dangerous turn, no one trusts or believes your words and then fate plays a hand and the final answers and solution just might change our main character that you grow to respect as the novel moves forward.Enter a man named Fiske who befriended Charlie, but could he be trusted as Emma’s life was at stake and the Bauers would not hesitate to kill her or him in the end. With the bartender that served him as part of their group, a man from the State Department that set him up and a little girl’s life on the line would he manage to free Emmy, learn where she was taken and have Liz believe him and trust in him to find Emma? Author Andrew Gross sends up huge flares, weapons drawn, and the battle lines defined as Charles Mossman risks it all with a high voltage ending that will give you heart palpitations until the final shots are fired and the ending is revealed. What is Emma’s fate? What was the plan that the Bauers would not amend or stop at all cost? What happens when spies infiltrate our homes, businesses and lives with agendas to destroy our freedoms, lives and want war? Enter the apartment of the Bauers and meet the members of the Fifth Column. A novel that reminds us of the horrors of WWII, the atrocities that Hitler inflicted on so many and the camps that killed 6 million innocent Jewish people and more. The Fifth Column helps readers remember and hope: never again! Some endings surprise readers and even the characters as somethings come full circle but where will Charlie wind up? The circle of life has no beginning or end but within the circumference with its smooth surface there can be some cracks, openings and holes that signify the flaws and mistakes we make that make us stronger. Charlie makes many, he kills someone at the start of the novel but basically it was not intentional, and it left him downhearted and alone until he realizes that his circle or circumference’s center would be filled with his daughter Emma and hopefully more in the future. Will that veil of darkness be lifted from his life? Read this outstanding historical novel and find out! Fran Lewis just reviews
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  • Judy Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    The Fifth Column is an intriguing story about nazi spies in the US as world war two is about to start. This is interesting story about characters from seemingly everyday life. A real page turner. A different look at the war and events that took place at this time in history. Very enjoyable.
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  • Carmen Bollinger
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewers always like to call books a roller-coaster ride. This one is more like ski jumping.
  • Maryann
    January 1, 1970
    If you've only heard of the "fifth column" in connection with recent events, you may not know that the term existed at least as far back as the 1930's. The definition is as follows: Fifth column a group of secret sympathizers or supporters of an enemy that engage in espionage or sabotage within defense lines or national borders. Many times, these men and women entered the country well before any conflict, became a part of society, establishing themselves as good citizens while putting in place g If you've only heard of the "fifth column" in connection with recent events, you may not know that the term existed at least as far back as the 1930's. The definition is as follows: Fifth column a group of secret sympathizers or supporters of an enemy that engage in espionage or sabotage within defense lines or national borders. Many times, these men and women entered the country well before any conflict, became a part of society, establishing themselves as good citizens while putting in place group of people who shared their true beliefs.Especially in a large city like New York. You could live next door to them and never suspect. Unless...Charles Mossman made a bad decision that cost him two years of his life, his teaching profession, and his family. When he's released from prison, the only light in his future is that his wife will allow him to see his daughter twice a week in the apartment she now rents. Under the watchful eye of Mrs. Shearer, Emma's sitter, he can spend two cherished hours with her. He simply has to be gone before she gets home from work. And no drinking. Charles is happy to obey. Emma is the one person who loves him unconditionally, and the reason he's trying so hard to regains his life.Across the hall live two of Emma's favorite people. Trudi and Will Bauer. They have Emma over often and play classical music, and teach her about Switzerland. That's where they lived before coming to New York although they admit to being of German heritage. They have no use for Hitler or what he's doing in Europe. They still have family there. Charlie is happy Emma has friends but not too sure about the Bauers. They have strange people coming to their apartment at odd hours. Don't be paranoid, his wife Liz tells him. The Bauers own a small brewery not far from the apartment. The people visiting are their long time customersCharlie begins to wonder if he's simply jealous of the couple. He's jobless, sleeping in his car until he finds a room to rent, and misses his family. One thing he can afford is a movie now and then. He can catch up on the newsreels as well. The news is about Europe and the German plans to annex small countries to give their population room to grow. Lebensraum. Soon after, he hears Emma saying that word and finds out she heard it at the Bauers. Storming over there, he confronts the couple, who tell him Emma misunderstood. It was another similar word. Why would they say a word that is a Nazi doctrine? For shame. Charlie vows to keep an eye on them. When a chance presents itself, he sneaks into their open apartment and rashly searches their closet,,,and sees a transmitter! But who can he tell?This story is fast paced and so intriguing that I found it hard to put down. It's easy to imagine yourself in Charlie's situation,,,and to be as unsure as he is as to what to do, and who will believe him. In the days leading up to Pearl Harbor, America didn't want to be involved in another war. Security was good. Who could best the biggest nation on the planet? Charlie has a secret no one will believe. Is he right? Definitely a good read.
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  • 3 no 7
    January 1, 1970
    “The Fifth Column” by Andrew Gross is a story of domestic terrorism, sleeper cells, and political complications as current as the evening news tonight, but this drama is set in WWII. The “Home Front” during WWII, is not peaceful and quiet with patriotic souls doing their best to support the war effort. The situation in Europe is deteriorating; Hitler threatens to take over everything, and a wave of “America First” proponents advocate ignoring the looming danger. The story opens in February 1939 “The Fifth Column” by Andrew Gross is a story of domestic terrorism, sleeper cells, and political complications as current as the evening news tonight, but this drama is set in WWII. The “Home Front” during WWII, is not peaceful and quiet with patriotic souls doing their best to support the war effort. The situation in Europe is deteriorating; Hitler threatens to take over everything, and a wave of “America First” proponents advocate ignoring the looming danger. The story opens in February 1939 with a first person narrative by Charles Mossman, whose once-promising career and marriage are now in a downward spiral. He is filled with guilt over the death of twin brother, killed fighting fascists in Spain. Today is their birthday, and not a good day to get into a racially charged bar fight. With one punch, life as he knows it comes crashing to an end. Two years later, 1941, upon being released from jail, Mossman finds the political climate has changed, and circumstances for him, an ex con, are grim. Readers get to know Mossman well as he continues as if giving a report on his life; he shares his feelings about himself, his family, and his life choices. The discourse is factual and emotional at the same time with a hint of self-depreciation as he describes the world and the trickle-down effect of international politics on New York. He recounts specific details of events, “Then there was the time the following week when I was sitting in the Old Heidelberg again on Third Avenue having a coffee.” He talks directly to readers; “I have to admit I felt a little foolish, following them.” Readers hear what he says to others; “’All these customers,’ I said to Emma when we got outside. ‘ Do you know what Uncle Willi and Aunt Trudi do for work?’” Readers listen in as others talk to him; “’You’re suggesting they’re spies . . . ?’ she said, her eyes locked on me. Then she laughed. “’Well, that’s absurd.’” He teases readers with anticipation; “But little did I know.”The story starts slowly and builds in intensity and complexity. Readers wonder how Mossman will fare in the approaching storm and willingly follow him on the perilous journey into it. Mossman’s narrative is occasionally interrupted by other conversations, and readers learn what the narrator does not know … yet. Has Mossman wandered into a nest of German spies or are people overreacting and just seeing spies everywhere?“The Fifth Column” reveals the cost of war on the home front, a subject that is sometimes overlooked in novels set in WW II. Gross creates believable characters, flawed characters, who struggle to balance duty to family, duty to government, and duty to society while fearing that more lives will be lost because the real war is yet to come. I received a review copy of “The Fifth Column” from Andrew Gross, St. Martin’s Press, and Minotaur Books.
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  • Lois
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Gross returns to a time period that he has explored before, but with a slightly different view.Like his other books, this one shows solid research of the period at the very beginning of WWII when people of German descent were suspected of Fifth Column activities. Charlie Mossman's life has unraveled, to this point. His twin brother is killed in the Spanish Civil War. Charlie, with a promising academic career, a wife, and a child throws it all away in a drunken brawl on the night of the Na Andrew Gross returns to a time period that he has explored before, but with a slightly different view.Like his other books, this one shows solid research of the period at the very beginning of WWII when people of German descent were suspected of Fifth Column activities. Charlie Mossman's life has unraveled, to this point. His twin brother is killed in the Spanish Civil War. Charlie, with a promising academic career, a wife, and a child throws it all away in a drunken brawl on the night of the Nazi Rally at Madison Square Garden. With his life derailed and his prospects for reunion with his family nil, Charlie throws caution to the wind in the pursuit of what he thinks is a spy network headed by an elderly couple in his wife's apartment building. A purportedly Swiss couple, like the residents of a cuckoo clock, have become pseudo grandparents to his young daughter and a support system for his wife.Charlie, however, is suspicious, put off by specific words connected to the Nazi expansion of Europe. He does a lot of really amateur sleuthing and ends up in the middle of a plot to attack the entire population of NYC.The story is reminiscent of several books and movies in which everyday Americans become involved in espionage plots, but readers unfamiliar with the period will come across with names and roles with which they may not be familiar such as Father Coughlin, the American Bund, and Charles Lindbergh's support of Adolph Hitler. Unlike Gross' previous books, Charlie Missman's Jewish religion is incidental to the story and the concentration camps of Europe are mentioned but do not figure strongly in the plot. However, there are many parallels with events of today and the trend toward isolationism. there is also some strong foreshadowing about the Cold War and how Russia evolved from ally to enemy in less than a decade. Politics make strange bedfellows.This is definitely a page turner, a quick read with a compelling plot. The story ties up neatly and has all the potential to be a decent movie in the future. Definitely worth the read.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Gross does it again!! The term fifth column refers to "a secret subversive group that works against a country or organization from the inside". This can include foreign spies who have become embedded in the day-to-day life of a country working with domestic traitors. Such is the case in Gross' The Fifth Column, a historical fiction novel based on true events.The issue of whether America should become involved in WWII was a topic of heated discussions and strong feelings. Many Americans wa Andrew Gross does it again!! The term fifth column refers to "a secret subversive group that works against a country or organization from the inside". This can include foreign spies who have become embedded in the day-to-day life of a country working with domestic traitors. Such is the case in Gross' The Fifth Column, a historical fiction novel based on true events.The issue of whether America should become involved in WWII was a topic of heated discussions and strong feelings. Many Americans wanted to support the Allies, others favored isolationism. Some wanted America to enter the war for their own personal gain and others were Nazi sympathizers working and conspiring behind the scenes to force America to join the war. The group of Nazi sympathizers included people within the American government. Gross brings this part of American history alive through the story of the Mossman family (Charles, Liz and Emma) and their Swiss neighbors Willi and Trudi Bauer. (I won't repeat the publisher's book blurb here as they did a fine job of setting the scene.) Realistic, complex characters, scenes described in a way that makes the reader feel as if they are actually involved, and a plot that compels the reader to keep turning pages are all hallmarks of books written by Andrew Gross. I have read nine of his books to date, and have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them! Several of Gross' books have a theme of what a huge impact/effect/difference the life and choices of an ordinary person can make. Charles Mossman is an excellent example of that.Many thanks to NetGalley, Minotaur Books and the author for allowing me to read an ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. The book will be available to the public on September 10, 2019. I highly recommend you add it (and all of Andrew Gross' other books) to your TBR pile!
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  • Wayne
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Gross writes in such a way that the reader experiences the agony, fear, and treachery that his main characters feel. This was the case in his most recent novels 15 Seconds, Everything To Lose, The One Man, The Saboteur and, now, The Fifth Column (4 1/2****).Told mostly in the first person, The Fifth Column refers to seemingly established US citizens who are actually working for the enemy...in this case Nazi Germany before and during WWII. It is the story of Charles Mossman, a one-time pro Andrew Gross writes in such a way that the reader experiences the agony, fear, and treachery that his main characters feel. This was the case in his most recent novels 15 Seconds, Everything To Lose, The One Man, The Saboteur and, now, The Fifth Column (4 1/2****).Told mostly in the first person, The Fifth Column refers to seemingly established US citizens who are actually working for the enemy...in this case Nazi Germany before and during WWII. It is the story of Charles Mossman, a one-time professor in New York and, more recently, a heavy drinker with a wife and young daughter whom he cherishes. Released from prison. after serving 2 years for 3rd degree murder, he finds his wife no longer wants anything to do with him...while his daughter is thrilled to see her father once again. He begins to suspect his ex-wife's neighbors or being pro-Nazi; yet at this time (1939-1940), prior to the US entering the War, many Americans were pro-Germany (Charles Lindbergh) and many prominent politicians were either for US involvement in the European War or totally against it. Charles Mossman's involvement in this makes up the major part of this gripping story. Andrew Gross writes an engrossing, splendid piece of historical fiction. He is becoming a master at this and one of my favorite authors.
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  • Bob
    January 1, 1970
    Decent Plot Concept Poorly Executed!After reading The Fifth Column book description I was sure -- being a big fan of historical fiction set just prior to or during WWII -- that its plot concept would be one that I’d really enjoy. Having now finished the book, I, unfortunately, was very disappointed in it and can not recommend it.The two main reasons for my overall opinion are as follows. One reason is that, despite the good concept on which it is based, almost every aspect regarding how Gross ex Decent Plot Concept Poorly Executed!After reading The Fifth Column book description I was sure -- being a big fan of historical fiction set just prior to or during WWII -- that its plot concept would be one that I’d really enjoy. Having now finished the book, I, unfortunately, was very disappointed in it and can not recommend it.The two main reasons for my overall opinion are as follows. One reason is that, despite the good concept on which it is based, almost every aspect regarding how Gross executes his plot is too contrived, telegraphed and, especially, implausible for me to consider The Fifth Column to be believable and memorable. I won't discuss the ways in which the various plot elements are contrived, telegraphed and implausible because doing so this would require me to provide spoilers.My second, but just as important, reason is that Gross' character development and dialogue skills in The Fifth Column are poor. I found the characters to primarily be one-dimensional and stereotypical, and considered his dialogue to be soap opera-y and B movie-ish.Despite my negative perceptions, in fairness to Gross, he, does move the story along at a fast, brisk pace.Net, Net -- 1 1/2 stars generously rounded up to 2 stars!#The Fifth Column. #Net Galley
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  • Tony Nielsen
    January 1, 1970
    Charles Mossman has just been released from prison after serving a two year sentence following an altercation in a bar in New York's Hell's Kitchen. He re-enters a world where the United States is wrestling with the decision of joining Britain's defence from Hitler's relentless attacks both West and East of Germany. New York is seething with Nazi sympathisers.Charles is desperate to mend his fractured relationship with his wife and daughter . This becomes all the more complicated as his daughter Charles Mossman has just been released from prison after serving a two year sentence following an altercation in a bar in New York's Hell's Kitchen. He re-enters a world where the United States is wrestling with the decision of joining Britain's defence from Hitler's relentless attacks both West and East of Germany. New York is seething with Nazi sympathisers.Charles is desperate to mend his fractured relationship with his wife and daughter . This becomes all the more complicated as his daughter comes under the influence of a seemingly benign Swiss couple who are actually the leaders of an underground Nazi Fifth Column and Charles becomes highly suspicious, even though it places him further offside with his estranged wife.Andrew Goss has perfectly captured a period in American history that is largely forgotten thanks to what followed with Pearl Harbour and the USA's commitment in Europe. Charles Mossman follows his suspicions and places himself and his daughter's lives on the line as he delves into the spy ring that's preparing a strike against the citizens of New York.
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  • Greville Waterman
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Goss is an underrated thriller writer whose previous work I have enjoyed and he has come up with the goods yet again in this thrilling encounter dealing with the German fifth column based in New York in the period leading up to and just after America's entry into World War 2.It is perhaps not surprising to learn that apparently many of the German immigrant population were supporters of the Nazi regime but I did not realise quite the depth of feeling generally against America entering the Andrew Goss is an underrated thriller writer whose previous work I have enjoyed and he has come up with the goods yet again in this thrilling encounter dealing with the German fifth column based in New York in the period leading up to and just after America's entry into World War 2.It is perhaps not surprising to learn that apparently many of the German immigrant population were supporters of the Nazi regime but I did not realise quite the depth of feeling generally against America entering the war on the allied side.This book covers these issues well and then tells the story of one brave man, who has fallen almost into the gutter through his own shortcomings redeems himself and also uncover a Nazi spy rings set upon committing a dastardly act of sabotage, murder and treason.An excellent well written thriller, if slightly predictable in terms of guessing the plot turns but well worth reading.
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  • Dawnna
    January 1, 1970
    It's 1939 and there is the threat of war. German spies lurk everywhere. Charles Mossman is simply sitting in a bar drinking away his sorrows, when a group of Nazi supporters barge in. He becomes involved in a tragedy ending in the death of a young man. Charles needs to redeem himself to his young daughter and his ex-wife. He visits his daughter and notices some strange happenings surrounding the Swiss couple across the hall who are dear friends of his wife and daughter. Are these people to be tr It's 1939 and there is the threat of war. German spies lurk everywhere. Charles Mossman is simply sitting in a bar drinking away his sorrows, when a group of Nazi supporters barge in. He becomes involved in a tragedy ending in the death of a young man. Charles needs to redeem himself to his young daughter and his ex-wife. He visits his daughter and notices some strange happenings surrounding the Swiss couple across the hall who are dear friends of his wife and daughter. Are these people to be trusted? The more Charles witnesses in regards to this seemingly kind couple, the more afraid and skeptical he becomes. He tries to turn to the police and his wife, but no one believes Charlie. His own past haunts him. He begins to fear for his daughter. This story was so fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat. I have read several books by Andrew Gross and have loved them all. The Fifth Column is gripping, tense and emotional. I highly recommend this one!
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