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As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Escape from a Siberian Labour Camp and His 3-Year Trek to Freedom
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As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Escape from a Siberian Labour Camp and His 3-Year Trek to Freedom

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  785 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Originally published in 1955, As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me has seen international success ever since. It has been translated into fifteen languages, sold more than 12 million copies, and is the basis for an award-winning German entry at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. Recounting an incredible real-life adventure, it tracks the destiny of German soldier Clemens Forrell wh ...more
Paperback, 275 pages
Published August 12th 2003 by Da Capo Press (first published 1955)
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Community Reviews

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This book had been sitting awhile in my bookcase, when after recently watching the Polish film (fictional) “The Way Back” (2010), I was reminded of Bauer’s book.

There is a b/w photograph on the back cover, showing the back of the principal protagonist, Clemens Forell (an alias), who faces the author and his publisher. To modern eyes the image appears stiff, staged and ill at ease; but taking a moment to consider 1940s and 1950s film technology, that may just be normal for the period.

Descriptive
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Drew
Pretty gripping. Basically a German prisoner of war escapes from the Siberian lead mines and walks halfway across Russia, with all the adventure that that entails: wolves, bears, outlaws, reindeer men, etc. And better written than I expected, though that's probably because I didn't know that Josef Bauer was a real writer. But at times I wondered whether everything I was reading was true. For instance, at one point the main character falls in with some Russian outlaws, and together they basically ...more
Valerie
I admit, it sometimes takes me a while to catch up with things. This book is one of these cases. The book was originally published in German "So weit die Füße tragen" in 1955. "As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me" has seen international success ever since. It was released as a film in 2001 and was the basis for an award-winning German entry at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. The DVD was released in 2011. The book, by Josef M Bauer, has also been translated into fifteen languages and sold more than 12 ...more
Scott
You know those really good story tellers. The ones where you can listen to anything they're talking about. They can make the most banal story interesting. Well that is what this story is missing. The author is pretty lame. It feels like somebody droning on and on with the same voice of the guy who says "Bueller." There is probably around 50 or so pages that is actually enjoyable. The rest of it is just not that good. The 50 pages that I liked were when the escaped prisoner joins up with 3 other ...more
Johann Manstein
I am not one to criticize the authors experience or willingness to share his escape. I was engrossed in the book and constantly referring to encounters with the map. I grew alarmed as 4/5 of the book had been covered and approx half of the Soviet Union had been crossed. This left me disappointed in that I was given the impression that half of that journey was 'boring' for the lack of a better word. When he returned ragged and starving to the Jew that eventually helped him escape, it seemed to me ...more
Judi
This is a tale of a man whose will to live free and to survive took him out of a Siberian labor camp and slavery and eventual death in the lead mine there. He survived against all odds, enduring hunger and the very real specter of starvation and horrific winters. In his travel across Russia he was frequently in danger of betrayal by Russians who would turn him in to the authorities and by unsavory men who could easily have killed him. To survive he had to become an accomplished thief and liar. A ...more
Benjamin
The best adventure story I have ever read. Need some courage? Read this book.
Amerynth
Josef Martin Bauer's "As far as my feet will carry me" is the extraordinary true story of a German prisoner of war who is sentenced to work in a lead mine in Siberia. The prisoner, dubbed "Clemens Forell" manages to escape and embarks on a three-year trek across the Russian landscape while attempting to reach his home.

The story is pretty amazing. I had a difficult time with the writing, which is best described as stilted. Despite being a short book, it took me ages to read it... the author is so
...more
Michelle
In the Intro the translator/writer takes pains to say that he often stopped the book out of disbelief and spent much time trying to verify accounts. I thought this intro was oddly long, a bit paranoid. But you don't realize how necessary it is until you read the book.

The story is beyond belief. It's inspiring. And the voice is from some one with nothing left to prove.

The writing starts of disjointed and in some parts unintelligible. But the author picks up flow about 1/3 of the way in. And by t
...more
Ronja
Je to už hrozně dávno, co jsem poprvé viděla film Bílé peklo a tehdy mi bylo okamžitě jasné, že knižní předloha se mi prostě musí dostat do rukou. No, trvalo to, ale konečně se povedlo. A je to zklamání :(

Pro jednou budu zcela bezostyše tvrdit, že film je lepší než kniha. Pro všechny knihomoly docela kacířská myšlenka, ale jo, je to tak. Autor knihy má jednoduše smůlu, že není zrovna poutavý vypravěč, čímž hodně ubírá příběhu, který je sám o sobě hodně silný. A vážně, popsat útěk vojáka z gulagu
...more
Pipsa Mankinen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jonathan
Good read. German escapes from a Soviet gulag and trudges home. My only gripe is the anticlimactic ending. It would have been interesting to hear about his homecoming. If you enjoyed "The Long Walk" and similar tales, you'll like this book.
Rachel
How much of this is based on any kind of fact is hard to know. I imagine most of the journey is fiction, but time in the Gulags of Russia could be varied. Therefore despite what the title says, take much of it with a pinch of salt. However, it was quite a funny read in places and quite emotive in others and I simply cannot comprehend the need to escape from a location so desperately. It does highlight human compassion as many of the men he meets along the way provide him with food and shelter fo ...more
Betsy Weiler
An amazing true account, not as fast paced as "the Long Walk" one of my favorites, but fascinating account of this mans endurance and will to survive.
Aletha
Reads like a fiction adventure novel. Reminded me of Louis Lamour's LAST OF THE BREED (fiction). Hard to imagine that this would be a true story. Enjoyed it a lot. Glad I read it.
Andrew
I enjoyed this book, it is a very interesting story, but a few parts of it are a bit hard to follow. I think the story would have benefited from some additional details, though, admittedly they might have been hard to come by given that Forrell would have had to remember them all. The second half of his journey seemed to take up very few pages in the book, which was disappointing, though the author does offer an explanation at the beginning.

Despite some flaws, the feat accomplished by Forrell it
...more
Callie
Feb 27, 2015 Callie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2015
Read for my 2015 reading challenge, caterogy: A book based on a true story. This is the story of a Germna POW sentencced to 25 yrs hard labor in the Soviet gulag in Siberia. This is the story of how he escaped and over the course of 3 years made his way westward towards home. The details and veracity of this account are contested, at least according to Wikipedia and the story is pretty hard to believe. Traveling across Siberia with just the clothes on his back. Regardless of how truthful it may ...more
Riley
A potboiler about a German prisoner of war's escape from Siberia.
Chrisann Justice
They made a movie of this book but I loved the book a whole lot more.
Amanda
Unbelievable, but true.
Hunter Barton
This book was a gripping tale of a man's escape from a Soviet Labor Camp. This is a tale of his brave journey, and his motivation through insurmountable odds. I'm not a huge reader, but I honestly couldn't put this book down.
Wifenotlodger Sunflower
Started off in a gripping manner, then some of the minute detail and long descriptions of food and equipment made my interest wane. Then whilst googling for a decent map of his route I read in more than one place that the story may not be authentic and the Gulag never existed! I know the Russians have a vested interest in keeping the truth quiet but I was hoping for book based on more truth. Interesting but a slog.
♥ Marlene♥
A really good survival book. A German prisoner is brought to the very east of Siberia together with many other prisoners of war to be a slave. He gets help from a doctor to escape and then the story gets really interesting. All the struggles he had to endure, it is hard to comprehend even after reading this book.
I really enjoyed reading it. Loved his dog. Wished that the end had been a bit more prolonged though.
Taylor
This was a great book! Perhaps I liked it because it was so similar to one of my all time favorites, The Long Walk, by Slavomir Rawicz. When I finished, I was left wishing it were longer, with more details about the last year of the journey, and what happened after he returned home. But these limitations made it more intriguing.
Kent
This truly is an amazing story. Quite an adventure!
love
I loved this book. It was so interesting to hear a different perspective on wwII. A little from the german side as well as soviet. It wasn't political, just informative about one mans struggle to survive in siberia. The book was easy to understand and follow and kept you on your toes.
Shyam Parekh
Great adventure but evidence is that the story probably isn't as true as the author might have you believe. Even with those doubts, it is a worthwhile read about a period of history which most of aren't that familiar. I recommend it for those who love epic nonfiction historic adventure stories.
David Foster
I had to give this top rating simply on the content. The story was riveting. I guess I'm a sucker for escapism. Critics have suggested that the tale leaves out too much near the end but I didn't feel that way. The story was over at the Russian border.
Richard
From the January 2012 issue of Backpacker magazine: Required Reading, Top picks from our Facebook fans:
For all who wished The LongWalk was true, this tale of escape from a Siberian prison camp will satisfy.
...more
Amy
Mar 03, 2012 Amy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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