The Fifth Column

THE FIFTH COLUMN                            ANDREW GROSS

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.

I received a free “THE FIFTH COLUMN” BY ANDREW GROSS from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review.
I found this book to actually be a suspenseful book at times, full of mystery and intrigue as you follow Charlie and the choices he had made from when he was a professor and lost his job. Which began the fall of his marriage, due to his drinking.
Drinking is where we find Charlie in 1939 and he is depressed because of his job being gone, no way to support his family and losing his brother who went off to fight the Germans. Charlie and his family are Jewish and now he feels like he has let everyone down. Brother, wife, daughter you get the point.
Then when he is deciding to leave a group of protesters come marching down who are shouting in favor of Hitler wearing the cloths and shouting pro-Nazi sayings. Remember 1939, the crowd becomes loud and he takes a swing at one of the protesters.
Days later Charlie is in court and sentenced to prison, his marriage is over. Two years later when he is released America is on the brink of war times and attitudes have changed. He is able to see his daughter but for the most part, she is taken care of by the elderly couple from across the hall. Charlie begins to suspect them as spies but knows no one will take his word so he must find proof. Here is where the story becomes more intense if you can believe it.
I was hooked with this story from beginning to end. I really liked all of the characters and also liked how the author shows a part of history for America that is really not talked about. The protests, and then the spies that the Germans had working on the East Coast were many. One they really wanted was the Norden bombsight which was accurate at 1,200 feet. That really changed the war in Europe first.
Anyway a very good book I really enjoyed it. Follow us at

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