Tuesday, 14 July 2020

I'm reviewing The Volunteer...

... by Jack Fairweather...

It's been a while since I've had a book review on here, so today I'm putting that right with a book that was short-listed for the Costa Book Awards.  I don't normally set any store by awards and badges and it wasn't the decal on the cover that made me buy this book.  It was a recommendation from a friend that caused me to seek it out, and I am so glad that I did.

Jack Fairweather is a journalist and I have come across his articles in my daily paper from time to time.  It was good to know that the subject matter in this book was in very good hands.  Meticulously researched, this is the story of Witold Pilecki. 

Born on May 13th, 1901, Witold became a cavalry officer in the Polish army.  He fought in the Polish-Soviet conflict and subsequently joined the reservists.  He was mobilised again in August 1939 and fought for his country.  In September 1939, The Soviet union invaded Poland and the city of Warsaw fell.  Pilecki went into hiding and began to work in the resistance.  Fairweather's book picks up the story from this point.

Using archive material, witness statements, interviews and some reports written by Pilecki himself, Fairweather has put together a detailed, almost day by day account of Pilecki's life during the 1939/45 war.  The book covers his time in Auschwitz, the privations suffered and at times, is difficult to read.  But the narrative style flows and although completely factual, it feels as though you are reading a novel.

A fascinating slice of history that had to be made known.  It is a story that becomes all the more poignant when you discover what happened to Pilecki once the 1939/45 conflict had ended and the Paris Peace Treaties were signed.

Since creating this post, the cover of the book has been refreshed.


  1. Sounds interesting. I always enjoy novels set in this time period and this subject mater.

    1. Thanks for visiting Allan. It is a very interesting period of history that always fascinated me from being a teenager.

  2. Sounds fascinating. Is it possible to obtain a copy?

  3. Hi, Janet and thanks for visiting the blog. The book is available in various formats on Amazon and in bookstores.