The Volunteer: One Man, an Underground Army, and the Secret Mission to Destroy Auschwitz

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$28.99  $26.96
Mariner Books
Publish Date
5.8 X 9.1 X 2.0 inches | 1.6 pounds

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About the Author

Jack Fairweather has been a correspondent for the Washington Post and the Daily Telegraph, where he served as the Baghdad and Persian Gulf bureau chief. His reporting during the Iraq War earned him Britain's top press award. The author of A War of Choice and The Good War, he lives in Charlotte, Vermont.


"Superbly written and breathtakingly researched...Fairweather has dug up a story of incalculable value and delivered it to us in the most compelling prose I have read in a long time." -- Sebastian Junger, bestselling author of The Perfect Storm and Tribe

"Such an amazing story, it would be impossible to believe if it were not so meticulously researched and clearly told. The book succeeds as a page-turner, a remarkable inside view of the Holocaust, and also as a testament to all that is best in the human spirit." -- Mark Bowden, bestselling author of Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo

"This is a riveting account of human heroism in the face of overwhelming odds, and Fairweather's storytelling is simply masterful." -- Jon Lee Anderson, New Yorker writer and author of The Lion's Grave: Dispatches from Afghanistan

"As riveting as any page-turner and as profound as any great work of literature as it reveals humanity's capacity for both courage and savagery." -- Elliot Ackerman, author of Places and Names and Waiting for Eden

“Fairweather tells this tragic tale in gripping fashion, bringing a new angle to the literature of the Holocaust.” -- Publishers Weekly

“An inspiring story beautifully told.” -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Drawing Pilecki's witnessing of appalling crimes into a forceful narrative with unstoppable reading momentum, Fairweather has created an insightful biography of a covert war hero and an extraordinary contribution to the history of the Holocaust.” -- Booklist (starred review)

“Hours of reading passed in what felt like moments ... This is a story that has long deserved a robust, faithful telling, and he has delivered it.” -- Wall Street Journal

“An extraordinary story.” -- The Times (UK)

“What distinguishes The Volunteer is Fairweather's meticulous attention to accuracy ... if it sometimes seems as though there is nothing left to uncover about the Holocaust, Fairweather's gripping book proves otherwise.” -- The Spectator

"A searing account ... a fitting memorial to one of Poland's greatest war heroes and a shaming indictment of the western allies' failure to act." -- Sunday Times (London)

"Witold Pilecki is one of the great―perhaps the greatest―unsung heroes of the second world war ... Jack Fairweather's meticulous and insightful book is likely to be the definitive version of this extraordinary life." -- The Economist

"Totally gripping ... A fascinating, revelatory and surreal WWII story of almost incredible courage and unspeakable horror - how a Polish resistance fighter helped reveal the secret of the final solution from inside Auschwitz" -- Simon Sebag Montefiore, bestselling author of The Romanovs

"Well-researched, well-written and searingly memorable, Jack Fairweather's book reminds us of the capacity for nobility in the human soul in times of unimaginable peril." -- Andrew Roberts, bestselling author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny

"Combines the verve of a thriller with the detailed evidence of the sober, hideous truth." -- Telegraph

"Journalist Jack Fairweather's account of Pilecki's bravery, endurance and humanity is the well deserved winner of the 2019 Costa biography award. As he says, Pilecki's story is 'essential for our understanding of how Auschwitz came into being.'" -- The Guardian

"Recognition of the brilliance of Fairweather's book seems not just timely but essential...His brilliance in bringing Pilecki gloriously to life and rescuing this almost unparalleled act of courage from oblivion feels like one more small victory against the Twentieth Century's most evil regimes." -- Telegraph (UK)