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

Category: Book
By (author): Fairweather, Jack
Subject:  HISTORY / Europe / General
  HISTORY / Jewish
  HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century
  NON-FICTION / General
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: June 2019
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 528
Size: 9.00in x 6.00in x 1.57in
Our Price:
$ 35.99
Availability:
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

"Superbly written and breathtakingly researched, The Volunteer smuggles us into Auschwitz and shows us-as if watching a movie-the story of a Polish agent who infiltrated the infamous camp, organized a rebellion, and then snuck back out. We are squarely confronted with the other human truth: ordinary people will happily risk their lives to help others. 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

The incredible true story of a Polish resistance fighter's infiltration of Auschwitz to sabotage the camp from within, and his death-defying attempt to warn the Allies about the Nazis' plans for a "Final Solution" before it was too late.

To uncover the fate of the thousands being interred at a mysterious Nazi camp on the border of the Reich, a thirty-nine-year-old Polish resistance fighter named Witold Pilecki volunteered for an audacious mission: assume a fake identity, intentionally get captured and sent to the new camp, and then report back to the underground on what had happened to his compatriots there. But gathering information was not his only task: he was to execute an attack from inside-where the Germans would least expect it. 

The name of the camp was Auschwitz.

Over the next two and half years, Pilecki forged an underground army within Auschwitz that sabotaged facilities, assassinated Nazi informants and officers, and gathered evidence of terrifying abuse and mass murder. But as he pieced together the horrifying truth that the camp was to become the epicenter of Nazi plans to exterminate Europe's Jews, Pilecki realized he would have to risk his men, his life, and his family to warn the West before all was lost. To do so, meant attempting the impossible-an escape from Auschwitz itself.

Completely erased from the historical record by Poland's post-war Communist government, Pilecki remains almost unknown to the world. Now, with exclusive access to previously hidden diaries, family and camp survivor accounts, and recently declassified files, Jack Fairweather offers an unflinching portrayal of survival, revenge and betrayal in mankind's darkest hour. And in uncovering the tragic outcome of Pilecki's mission, he reveals that its ultimate defeat originated not in Auschwitz or Berlin, but in London and Washington.

Review Quote*"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."
Review Quote*"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."
Review Quote*"This is a riveting account of human heroism in the face of overwhelming odds, and Fairweather's storytelling is simply masterful."
Review Quote*"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."
Review Quote*"Fairweather tells this tragic tale in gripping fashion, bringing a new angle to the literature of the Holocaust."
Review Quote*"An inspiring story beautifully told."
Review Quote*"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."
Review Quote*"Few books have enthralled, incensed and haunted me as "The Volunteer" has done. There were times I felt compelled to set it aside. There were others when 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."
Review Quote*"An extraordinary story."