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With God in Russia

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  766 ratings  ·  84 reviews
By Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J. Father Walter Ciszek, S.J., author of the best-selling He Leadeth Me, tells here the gripping, astounding story of his twenty-three years in Russian prison camps in Siberia, how he was falsely imprisoned as an "American spy", the incredible rigors of daily life as a prisoner, and his extraordinary faith in God and commitment to his priestly vows ...more
Paperback, 433 pages
Published February 1st 1997 by Ignatius Press (first published 1964)
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Laura I have not completed the book, but thus far, I would define it as a memoir.

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4.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  766 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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Jun 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is Walter Ciszek's first book about his experience as a priest living in captivity in the Soviet Union. Whereas "He Leadeth Me" deals with the spiritual side of his experience, "With God in Russia" is more of a factual account of what happened, albeit one that is told in a dramatic, suspenseful style that makes it almost read like an adventure novel. A great read and very inspiring. Be sure to read "He Leadeth Me" to get the FULL story of this heroic Jesuit's life.
Mar 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
True story. A hard-nosed Jesuit priest slipped behind soviet lines during WWII and got trapped there for 23 years. Through tortuous interrogations, 15 years of hard labor in Siberian labor camps, and plenty of laugh-or-else-you'd-cry hijinx, Walter Ciszek was convinced that he was made for this struggle. He was possibly the most disciplined and stubborn man of the 20th Century: blown up in coal mines, stuck in solitary for 5 years, nearly executed during a prison uprising, electrocuted while wor ...more
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A man without faith could not have survived -- psychologically, if not physically -- the ordeals this man endured in communist Russia. From total isolation for years in prison, torture, constant interrogations, brutal work camps in Siberia, Walter Ciszek retained not only his sanity, but his humor, his kindness, and his ability to serve others as a priest. His faith was often his only sustenance through years of torment, and his relationship with God allowed him to endure even the worst treatmen ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have now read both "He Leadeth Me" and this book. Unintentionally, I read them backwards, but I enjoyed both immensely. I always love a good Autobiography :) . My initial thoughts were "why did he write two separate books? He could of just combined both books into one." But after reading them both, I realized why he had written two books. The reliving of the actual story to share his experience with the rest of us must have been challenging in of itself.

His story is very captivating and thoug
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Knihu jsem si víceméně náhodně vybral na Audiotéce, protože téma znělo zajímavě. Nebyl jsem zklamán, příběh mě zcela pohltil. Jedná se o příběh jezuity z USA, který se rozhodnul sloužit v období kolem druhé světové války věřícím v Rusku. Jeho přání se splnilo a za své dobré skutky byl po zásluze odměněn patnáctiletým pobytem v pracovním táboře na Sibiři. Podmínky tam zcela dle očekávání naprosto šílené. Ani tam se nenechal zlomit a dál sloužil mše, dál křtil a oddával. Odhodlání a víra opravdu i ...more
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Incredible memoir of incredible man. Good overview of Soviet Union, gulags, Siberia... it's amazing what people can endure. Would have liked more spiritual account here, but that's in his other book.
This is autobiographical, about his imprisonment in Russia.

Just started reading a couple of days ago. It reminds me of the memoir by Ginzburg a bit (Journey into the Whirlwind) which basically also had to do with the Russian prisons, interrogations and work camps in Siberia and Ginzburg also was a political prisoner, but obviously this author has a rather different perspective as an American and a priest. (As far as I remember, it seemed that the interrogators were tougher on Ginzburg. I wonde
Mar 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to booklady by: Jackie
This is Father Ciszek's first book, the one which gives the factual account of his early life, decision to become a priest, seminary years, journey to Poland and behind the Iron Curtain where he lived and was eventually held captive for many years, presumed dead by his family and all who knew him in the US. It's a fascinating account, both humorous and inspiring in turns and yet Fr. Ciszek only wrote it because he was asked to. It wasn't the book he wanted to write. Later he went on to write He ...more
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fr. Ciszek’s account of his years in Soviet solitary confinement, Siberian prison camps, and finally serving as parish priest while under constant KGB surveillance is all the more harrowing and inspirational for the frank, humble, matter-of-fact manner in which it’s told.
Rosemary Blevins
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: nonfic-faves
Before I get into this, I just want to say that, even as someone who doesn't associate with any form of religion, this biography is very much worth reading.

When I first bought this book, I was at a point where I was questioning religion, and I had stopped into a little religion-oriented bookstore in my town. I'm a very big fan of world history, more specifically, even, Russian history, and so this book caught my eye almost as soon as I walked in the door.

Ciszek's time in Eastern Europe and Rus
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From the moment Fr Walter Ciszek heard the appeal from Rome to Jesuit priests to serve the Catholic Church in Russia he was convinced that this was God’s will for him. Nothing was going to stop him fulfilling it. And he did. Perhaps not in the way he might have anticipated, but there is no doubt he did it. He heroically and faithfully served the Church in Russia between 1939 and 1963 while falsely imprisoned in Moscow and Siberia and while he was “free” in Norilsk and Abakan. How he survived is ...more
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book on the recommendation of a colleague because I had a group of students who specifically requested a book about Catholicism, but not a book that was instructional or expositional on the theory of Catholic beliefs. These students were looking for a traditional novel structure: plot, character development, themes centered around their Catholic beliefs, etc. This book is definitely structured as such, but the history and the plot sort of overwhelms the theology and doesn't do enough ...more
May 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-book-club
I finished this book in the nick of time for a Catholic book club with one of our parish priests who admires Fr. Ciszek. I enjoyed the book, and was amazed by how easily and openly he spoke of extreme hardships. I expect the fruit of reading this book will be revealed when I read his later books; understanding someone's life experience often helps understand the...I don't want to say angle, but choice of words and which lessons to try and pass on. That said, this book on its own is quite good. I ...more
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
WE enjoyed this. (It was a "car read.") Ciszek was a Jesuit priest who chose to go to Eastern Europe to work with Eastern rite Catholics toward the end of WWII, only to be arrested as a "spy" for the Vatican. He spent 23 years in work camps and prisons before bing released. And the it was a number of more years before after that before he was able to leave Russia, primarily because of the work of his sisters. He gets discouraged many times but never does he lose is faith or his ability to befrie ...more
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing book. Edge of your seat suspense coupled with inspirational faith in God in a true life story that follows a priest who devoted his life to spread the faith to the atheistic Soviet Union. His survival in the Gulag against brutal cold, little food, thuggish gangs, sadistic guards not to mention the ever dangerous work in the mines makes for compelling reading. Might be the finest book I've read this year.
Jill  M Caldwell
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is not for the faint of heart. It describes the lengths human beings go to hurt and attempt to destroy each other. The good news is for many of these captives, the horrific trial was honorable and heroic and shows how our faith keeps us focused on our eternal life and not this temporary exile. An added plus is Jim Martin's afterward.
Luis Enrique Vega
Amazing biography

This was a wonderful read. Inspiring moments. I couldn't put it down. Amazing in that he was able to withstand and live all those years in prison, gulag hard labor in Siberian winters, and throughout his ordeal he never lost his faith in God.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thought-provoking and well-written, Fr. Ciszek went through hell in the Russian work prisons and amazingly not only lived to tell the tale, but made it back to the United States. A dark chapter in human history to say the least...
Augustine Hilander
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Many times spiritual writers skip the first steps of the spiritual life. This has it all. If you are dealing with pride, this is an excellent beginning.
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very good, emotional book. A fairly quick read, but certainly leaves an impact.
Ernesto Sanz
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The spectacular account of Fr. Ciszek’s life under the brutal Communist regime in the USSR. A must read for the historically inclined.
Michele Balcerzak
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and readable.
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is really amazing to me is how Fr. Ciszek clung onto his faith during many years of isolation with no hope of ever escaping from the Soviet system. This is truly inspirational.
Ben Larson
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding. Reading Father Ciszek's story makes all the trials and troubles of one's life seem trivial.
Roy Johnston
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing story. Fr. Walter is a Servant of God.
Pat King
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You cannot forget this man

I have read this book three times. I can't get enough of this amazing and deeply spiritual tale. Please tell everyone how incredible Father Criseks story is.
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved it. Had a difficult time putting it down.
Carol Greer
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Walter Ciszek, an American, Eastern rite Catholic priest called to assist the persecuted faithful in the Soviet Union.

In order to enter the Soviet Union, Father Ciszek volunteered to work in a logging camp. He traveled incognito, worked in the camp and performed his priestly office to the best of his abilities until he was eventually arrested and sent to Lubianka. He remained there for five years--mostly in solitary confinement--until he succumbed to torture and signed a co

Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Another top favorite of mine. This autobiography details the life of Fr. Walter Ciscek, an American Jesuit priest who went to minister in Russia in 1941 and was soon arrested by the communist government and imprisoned in Lubyanka, the famous Gulag prison that many people did not survive. Father was imprisoned there and subjected to near-starvation, torture and forced-labor for nearly 25 years. During this time he remained devoutly faithful to his vocation and priestly duties. During the entire t ...more
Chas Tomac
Father Walter Ciszek, SJ tells the story of his first years as a Jesuit priest who volunteered to go into Russia before WWll. He was a American who took his vows in Rome to be a Priest than was assigned to Poland in a attempt to get into Russia. It all worked out but at the wrong time, when he got into Russia the war was starting and he was accused of being a German spy. This landed him in different jails in Moscow for 8 years before they finally sentenced him to 15 years hard labor in Siberia. ...more
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Walter Joseph Ciszek, S.J. was a Polish-American Jesuit priest who conducted clandestine missionary work in the Soviet Union between 1939 and 1963.

Fifteen of these years were spent in confinement and hard labor in the Gulag, plus five preceding them in Moscow's infamous Lubyanka prison. He was released and returned to the United States in 1963, after which he wrote two books, including the memoir