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The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World Hardcover – 9 Jun. 2022
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THE INSTANT SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK
'Excellent . . . thrilling . . . Freedland's book is rich in the kind of details that haunt you long after you have turned the last page' Sunday Times
'A brilliant and heart-wrenching book, with universal and timely lessons about the power of information - and misinformation' Yuval Noah Harari
'A magnificent book. I could scarcely breathe at some points. What a tribute to its extraordinary hero, and it's such an important and necessary story to read . . . I can't praise it too highly. What an achievement' Philip Pullman
'An utterly gripping narrative, incorporating a restrained though harrowing picture of life in Auschwitz and a kind of heroic adventure story' Guardian
'Meticulously researched . . . shocking but thrilling, and ultimately overwhelmingly inspiring' Daily Mail
'An immediate classic of Holocaust literature . . . I literally could not put it down' Antony Beevor
'Awe inspiring, exciting and poignant, this is a thrilling read . . . a book that I couldn't put down' Simon Sebag Montefiore
'Immersive, shattering, and, ultimately redemptive book . . . an immediate modern classic' Simon Schama
'Original, meticulous and utterly compelling - and ultimately a deeply tragic tale' Philippe Sands
'A must-read stand out piece of history . . . This is Freedland at his finest' Emily Maitlis
'An indispensable, unflinching, bone-hard book' Howard Jacobson
Anne Frank. Primo Levi. Oskar Schindler . . . Rudolf Vrba.
In April 1944 nineteen-year-old Rudolf Vrba and fellow inmate Fred Wetzler became the first Jews ever to break out of Auschwitz. Under electrified fences and past armed watchtowers, evading thousands of SS men and slavering dogs, they trekked across marshlands, mountains and rivers to freedom. Vrba's mission: to reveal to the world the truth of the Holocaust.
In the death factory of Auschwitz, Vrba had become an eyewitness to almost every chilling stage of the Nazis' process of industrialised murder. The more he saw, the more determined he became to warn the Jews of Europe what fate awaited them. A brilliant student of science and mathematics, he committed each detail to memory, risking everything to collect the first data of the Final Solution. After his escape, that information would form a priceless thirty-two-page report that would reach Roosevelt, Churchill and the pope and eventually save over 200,000 lives.
But the escape from Auschwitz was not his last. After the war, he kept running - from his past, from his home country, from his adopted country, even from his own name. Few knew of the truly extraordinary deed he had done.
Now, at last, Rudolf Vrba's heroism can be known - and he can take his place alongside those whose stories define history's darkest chapter.
A brilliant and heart-wrenching book, with universal and timely lessons about the power of information - and misinformation -- Yuval Noah Harari
A magnificent book. I could scarcely breathe at some points. What a tribute to its extraordinary hero, and it's such an important and necessary story to read . . . I can't praise it too highly. What an achievement -- Philip Pullman
An immediate classic of Holocaust literature. Superbly researched and written, it is both a gripping story and deeply moving, I literally could not put it down -- Antony Beevor
Immersive, shattering, and, ultimately redemptive book . . . An epic of terror and endurance . . . Written with Freedland's page-turning, gripping, hard-edged immediacy, The Escape Artist is profound in thought, boundless in humanity, an immediate modern classic -- Simon Schama
Awe inspiring, exciting and poignant, this is a thrilling read, a piece of redemptive storytelling and a work of important Holocaust historical research: Freedland has given Rudolf Vrba his rightful place in history - and in the process written a book that I couldn't put down -- Simon Sebag Montefiore
The Escape Artist is marvellous. It is original, meticulous and utterly compelling - and ultimately a deeply tragic tale -- Philippe Sands
A must-read stand out piece of history . . . This is Freedland at his finest . . . It is both a celebration of the extraordinary will, courage and resilience of the hero - Rudi Vrba - and an all too prescient warning of how hard it is to wake up the world to things it would prefer not to see -- Emily Maitlis
A work of the highest quality about an astonishing man. It is gripping from start to finish, searingly, shocking, revelatory, and deeply moving - the more so because there is no false note, no striving for effect. The research is prodigious and the complexities deftly woven into the narrative . . . A profoundly troubling and important work -- Jonathan Dimbleby
A masterpiece of page-turning history: an escape story that is also a fearless exploration of some of the most profound questions that face humanity. Rudolf Vrba's extraordinary testimony will deepen your understanding of the Holocaust - and compel you to think afresh about our own times, and the role of truth, denial and fragile memory. Magisterial -- Matthew d'Ancona
The story of Vrba's escape from Auschwitz, exquisitely told by Jonathan Freedland, soars like a thriller. Exhilarating, deeply moving, and historically important -- Simon Parkin
Powerful, important, compelling and superbly told. This is a book that needs to be read -- Bart van Es, bestselling author of The Cut Out Girl
An indispensable, unflinching, bone-hard book. Compelling reading -- Howard Jacobson
I read it with my heart beating fast, full of horror, rage, despair - and admiration for this potent demonstration of the stubborn resilience of the human spirit -- Tracy Chevalier
Brilliant -- Julia Neuberger
Meticulously researched . . . shocking but thrilling, and ultimately overwhelmingly inspiring -- Daily Mail
Astonishing . . . An indispensable part of Holocaust history . . . Gripping -- Guardian
An utterly gripping narrative, incorporating a restrained though harrowing picture of life in Auschwitz and a kind of heroic adventure story -- Guardian
- Publisher : John Murray (9 Jun. 2022)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1529369045
- ISBN-13 : 978-1529369045
- Dimensions : 16.2 x 3.8 x 23.6 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
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Until The Escape Artist changed my mind.
First of all, it's not "just" a holocaust book. It's about an incredible man and his quest to escape Auschwitz and tell the world.
Second, we learn through the eyes of our flawed hero Rudolf Vrba the facts and details of the Nazi slave camps and their death camps. Following his discoveries brings them fresh and sharp into the heart.
Third, the book follows his attempts to bring the truth to the world, and his infuriating, frustrating, failures. In doing so Freedland is both forgiving of human frailties while leaving the reader to condemn.
Truth, information, action. As authoritarianism and the climate crisis loom, the careful, sensitive yet fiery way Freedland explores the connection between these three words - as his hero did thoughout his troubled and vibrant life - is a powerful lesson to us all.
And it is an escape story.A very unique escape.The tension is unbearable-even knowing the outcome doesn't lessen it given the involvement we have by that time in the life of Walter.
This book will stay long in my memory.
Unfortunately I doubt it will mean anything to today's crop of would be Nazi's.
Following the escape the mystery of why knowledge of the atrocities did not provide either the political power nor the self-preservation instinct to halt the holocaust is well explored as is the aftermath of the experiences.
A very remarkable and well written book.
The narrative starts in Nazi dominated Slovakia, continues through German prison camps, ending with the post-escape period of Vrba’s life.
The account of the brutality he witnessed and experience in Auchwitz and Birkenau is graphic and haunting. Nevertheless, his strength of mind and spirit of self preservation did not break.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, with the caveat that the reader should be aware that the narrative contains detail that is at times horrifying; certainly, this book is not for everyone.