The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World (Paperback)Jonathan Freedland (author)
Both a thrilling story of escape and fortitude and a profoundly important contribution to Holocaust literature, Freedland's expertly crafted account of two Jewish inmates who broke out of Auschwitz and alerted the world to the horrors practiced there is an instant classic of World War II writing.
Waterstones Non-Fiction Book of the Month for June 2023
Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2022
A Radio 4 Book of the Week
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.
Publisher: John Murray Press
Number of pages: 416
Weight: 298 g
Dimensions: 196 x 128 x 32 mm
'A brilliant and heart-wrenching book, with universal and timely lessons about the power of information - and misinformation' - Yuval Noah Harari
'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
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