Reading The Volunteer by Jack Fairweather, a British journalist, it quickly becomes clear that Pilecki was a man of great courage reinforced by an implacable sense of duty and white-hot patriotic spirit...A disappointment of The Volunteer is that, despite Fairweather’s diligent sleuthing and his abundant use of Pilecki’s memoirs, the man does not spark into life. He remains rather one-dimensional, a paragon of duty, almost a stuffed shirt...Despite that caveat, the book rises admirably to the challenge of telling his extraordinary story.
What distinguishes The Volunteer is Fairweather’s meticulous attention to accuracy. He spent five years in the archives in Poland, the UK, the USA, Israel and Germany unearthing more family papers and interviewing the surviving men who had fought with Pilecki. His notes and bibliography run to almost 100 pages, and he uses speculation only very sparingly and when the facts seem irrefutable...If it sometimes seems as though there is nothing left to uncover about the Holocaust, Fairweather’s gripping book proves otherwise.