The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom

The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Slavomir Rawicz

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  • Publisher: Robinson Publishing
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 22mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 26 April 2007
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1845296443
  • ISBN 13: 9781845296445
  • Illustrations note: maps
  • Sales rank: 1,136

Product description

Slavomir Rawicz was a young Polish cavalry officer. On 19th November 1939 he was arrested by the Russians and after brutal interrogation he was sentenced to 25 years in the Gulags. After a three month journey to Siberia in the depths of winter he escaped with six companions, realising that to stay in the camp meant almost certain death. In June 1941 they crossed the trans-Siberian railway and headed south, climbing into Tibet and freedom nine months later in March 1942 after travelling on foot through some of the harshest regions in the world, including the Gobi Desert. First published in 1956, this is one of the world's greatest true stories of adventure, survival and escape, has been the inspiration for the film The Way Back, directed by Peter Weir and starring Colin Farrell and Ed Harris.

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Author information

Slavomir Rawicz was born in Pinsk in 1915. After his ordeal of The Long Walk he settled in England in 1944 were he remained for the rest of his life working in education. He died in 2004.

Customer reviews

By Russell Richard Matthews 29 Jan 2013 5

I read many WWII books and this one tops the list on POW escapes! Much much better than the movie.."The Way Back"

By Gill griffin 03 Sep 2010 5

In 2004 a remarkable man died. His name was Slavomir Rawicz, who in 1955 wrote a true account of his escape in 1941 from a Siberian Labour Camp and the epic and gruelling journey which followed.

Slav's account started in the notorious Lubyanka prison in Moscow, as he was sentenced to 25 years' hard labour for "spying", after the 12 months of interrogation that had followed his arrest in November 1939. He and thousands of others were transported in open cattle trucks, in sub-zero temperatures, to the end of the line at Irkutsk. They were chained together, and force-marched hundreds of miles to Camp 303 - which the survivors had to build from scratch.

In April 1941, Slav and six others escaped in a blizzard. They walked 4,000 miles south, living off the land, through the Gobi desert and over the Himalayas, until they reached India and were rescued by a Gurkha patrol. The dream of freedom had seen them overcome bitter cold, sweltering heat, thirst, starvation and injury. Sadly three of them died on the way. This gripping book holds the reader from the first page to the last as this story of triumph over seemingly impossible odds unfolds.

Review quote

One of the most epic treks of the human race...It must be read - and re-read. -- Sebastian Junger An heroic tale desperately live and compellingly told, Rawicz carries us with each weakening step, sustained by his simple undying vision of the liberty that lies beyond the cruel emptiness of Siberia and the sterile gravles of the Gobi. The Long Walk is an odyssey through the wastelands of Asia and the vastness of the soul - a classic of triumph over despair, of beauty found in the Void. Benedict Allen Positively Homeric. Cyril Connolly, The Times