Summary

Twenty-six-year-old cavalry officer Slavomir Rawicz was captured by the Red Army in 1939 during the German-Soviet partition of Poland and sent to the Siberian Gulag. In the spring of 1941, he escaped with six of his fellow prisoners, including one American. Thus began their astonishing trek to freedom. With no map or compass but only an ax head, a homemade knife, and a week's supply of food, the compatriots spent a year making their way on foot to British India, through 4,000 miles of the most forbidding terrain on earth. They braved the Himalayas, the desolate Siberian tundra, icy rivers, and the great Gobi Desert, always a hair's breadth from death. Finally arriving, Rawicz reenlisted in the Polish army to fight the Germans.
©2006 Slavomir Rawicz (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.
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Critic reviews

"Positively Homeric." ( London Times)
"One of the most amazing, heroic stories of this or any other time." ( Chicago Tribune)
"It is a book filled with the spirit of human dignity and the courage of men seeking freedom." ( Los Angeles Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Clare on 02-11-09

Long swindle, more like

There's something about this kind of book that attracts people like me to pay good money to read (or listen to it): namely that it's a factual account of something that happened. Tales of endurance and hardship are only inspiring if they've happened to real people. It's hard to get inspired by the exploits of Reme in Ratatouille for example.

My suspicions about this book were only aroused near the end with Rawicz's description of, yes, I'm serious, an encounter with two Yeti. Eight feet tall (falling to seven a little later).

I'm the kind of person who wants to know how it ended beyond the book. You know, what was the rest of his life like? What about the others on the walk? What ultimately happened to them? So I consulted Wikipedia, which in no time at all informed me that this story (not least the Yeti episode) doesn't stand close scrutiny.

All of which leaves me, frankly, feeling like I've been swindled. I hope this review serves as a 'errata' sticker for the front cover of this book.

To sum up? Well written but deceptive.

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28 of 30 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Tim on 05-02-11

A guilty confession

I started listening to this book fully anticipating an interesting and informative experience. Unfortunately I was let down. Not by the subject matter, what could be more exciting than a remarkable true story of escape and endurance beyond belief. It was just the way the story was told. I feel guilty saying this but it was just boring.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Roger on 13-09-07

Good story, well read

This is a very gripping adventure story. There seem to be grave doubts about its truth, however. My guess is that it is a compendium of different stories, including that of the author, and that the gaps and other oddities in the book resulted from the ghostwriter's transitions from one story to another. Still well worth reading!

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By A. Millard on 30-05-07

Inspiring and absorbing

To me, a great audiobook must contain both great writing and great narration/interpretation. This one has both. The story is absorbing, uplifting, inspiring and educational. In addition, the narrator nails the mood, pace, tempo and inflection. There is some dispute as to the veracity of the story (the book has been around for about 50 years), with some saying it can't possibly be true and others questioning only some episodes. I have done enough research to have a fairly high confidence level in the general truth of the story, but that is really beside the point. It is a great yarn, an inspiration worth your time.

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25 of 27 people found this review helpful

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