SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2022 BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2022 WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2023 RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 WINGATE LITERARY PRIZE
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
A MAIL ON SUNDAY, THE TIMES, THE ECONOMIST, GUARDIAN, THE SPECTATOR, TIME, AND DAILY EXPRESS/DAILY MIRROR BOOK OF THE YEAR
'Thrilling' Daily Mail
'Heartwrenching' Yuval Noah Harari
'Magnificent' Philip Pullman
'Excellent' Sunday Times
'Inspiring' Daily Mail
'An immediate classic' Antony Beevor
'Awe inspiring' Simon Sebag Montefiore
'Shattering' Simon Schama
'Utterly compelling' Philippe Sands
'A must-read' Emily Maitlis
'Indispensable' Howard Jacobson
Anne Frank. Primo Levi. Oskar Schindler . . . Rudolf Vrba.
In April 1944 nineteen-year-old Rudolf Vrba and fellow inmate Fred Wetzler became two of the very first Jews ever known 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
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
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
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
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
The Escape Artist is marvellous. It is original, meticulous and utterly compelling - and ultimately a deeply tragic tale
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
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
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
The story of Vrba's escape from Auschwitz, exquisitely told by Jonathan Freedland, soars like a thriller. Exhilarating, deeply moving, and historically important
Powerful, important, compelling and superbly told. This is a book that needs to be read
An indispensable, unflinching, bone-hard book. Compelling reading
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
Meticulously researched . . . shocking but thrilling, and ultimately overwhelmingly inspiring
Astonishing . . . An indispensable part of Holocaust history . . . Gripping
An utterly gripping narrative, incorporating a restrained though harrowing picture of life in Auschwitz and a kind of heroic adventure story
Such an important piece of history . . . This dramatic, compelling and deeply sensitive account raises issues around courage, agency and the credibility of facts that still resonate today
This really is an extraordinary book