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The Long Walk

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  109,575 ratings  ·  6,253 reviews
In this #1 national bestseller, “master storyteller” (Houston Chronicle) Stephen King, writing as Richard Bachman, tells the tale of the contestants of a grueling walking competition where there can only be one winner—the one that survives.

In the near future, when America has become a police state, one hundred boys are selected to enter an annual contest where the winner
Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 19th 2016 by Pocket Books (first published July 1979)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  109,575 ratings  ·  6,253 reviews

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Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those unafriad of raw pain and mindless philosophizing
Recommended to Kay by: my feet will get nightmares
If this book does not make you feel physical pain, I don't know what will.

This isn't a book about killer clowns or haunted hotels. It's not a Hunger Games type of book, despite the "game show" element of the Long Walk, nor is it a world attached to any tower, Dark or not. This book is in-your-face and physical, while simultaneously never losing that dreamy, philosophic quality of existenstial fiction.

The premise of the book is very simple: Every year, 100 boys enter a contest called the Long
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
(4.5) Every time someone asks me which Stephen King book I would recommend, I mention this one. After reading quite a few of his books, it's still my favorite!

The downward spiral into madness and overall despair were very well written. Reading this book literally made my body ache.

I do wish there were a few more details about the world, how the long walk came about, etc.
The ending wasn't fully satisfying, as seem to be most endings for SK, but I enjoyed the book anyway.
Updated Review - Re-read May 2019

Have you ever been watching a movie in the middle of summer that takes place in the middle of a very cold winter? Even though it is 90 degrees outside you start to feel like you need to bundle up under a blanket. That happened to me with the movie The Day After Tomorrow. I had a similar response to The Long Walk. As I read, I could feel the exhaustion and I was waiting for my legs to cramp. When you can truly feel a book deep in your muscles and bones, you know
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Stephen King at his creepy best. I’m on vacation and I ripped through this in a day. As I read, the water became less blue, the beach became less sunny, the drinks stopped getting the job done...LOL. You get the idea, getting pulled into Stephen King’s world, even for a day, is a dark, dark place.

Also? Suzanne Collins ripped off Stephen King so shamelessly in writing The Hunger Games that I have secondhand embarrassment for her.
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopian
i’m procrastinating schoolwork, so here’s a shitty review

what i liked:
- this was BLEAK, baby. kids getting killed left and right for the sake of entertainment with no end in sight? (i’d say “sound familiar?” except this was released well before the hunger games, anyway i digress) ‘twas good shit.
- it was a simple concept that packed a punch, and i like that

what i disliked:
- this is hands down the HORNIEST stephen king i have read yet. at this point i’ve just learned to accept that he writes
Johann (jobis89)
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"They walked through the rainy dark like gaunt ghosts, and Garraty didn't like to look at them. They were the walking dead."

On the first day of May each year, one hundred boys will take part in "The Long Walk". Breaking the rules results in warnings. More than three warnings and you'll get your ticket and you're out of the race.

I've felt for quite a while now that my top 10 Kings are pretty solid - before reading this I had about 13 or 14 left to read and none of them really seem like possible
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Petrik by: Celeste
Shelves: owned-ebooks
To think something so dark and depressing could come out of a premise so simple.

I'll keep this brief, Richard Bachman (a pseudonym of Stephen King) has made something short and great here. The premise of the book is annually, 100 teenagers entered a competition called "The Long Walk" where they have to walk literally non-stop until only one person remaining. The winner gets to have anything they want. It's a very simple premise and it somehow made Hunger Games looks like Disneyland. The slow
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Man, I've read this book at least 10 times and it is just as horrific as all the other times I've read it. Definitely in my roving top 5 of Mr. Kings stories. I would actually like to thank my library, "Lewis and Clark" and all library's that do ebooks. What a difference! I've got hard and soft bound copies of all my favorite books, but I can't read them because of arthritis. So, I get these intense urges to re-read something, and unless I've bought it for my kindle, then I'm skee-rude! I hate ...more
I kind of blame Stephen King for reality television.

That’s not fair because he certainly wasn't the first person to do stories about murderous games done as entertainment, and it’s not like he produced Survivor or Big Brother. However, two of the books he did under the Richard Bachman pen name before being outed are about death contests done to distract the masses in dystopian societies. So whenever I see an ad for those kinds of shows I can’t help but think that the people who make that trash
Aug 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Long distance walkers, totalitarianists and extreme optimists.
The Long Walk is simply exhausting to read. I found myself keep drifting in and out of sleep, needing to eat, drink, and use the bathroom. But most of all, my feet ached a little more after each page. This is not because the book was bad and that I was losing attention, it was simply because I was so involved in the story. I was walking WITH them.The premise is simple and I'm sure if you're reading this review you're aware of what its about. The fact that the story is so simple, allows for it to ...more
“They're animals, all right. But why are you so goddam sure that makes us human beings?”

“They walked through the rainy dark like gaunt ghosts, and Garraty didn't like to look at them. They were the walking dead.”
How much do I love this book? There are too many ways to count actually, which is why no matter how many re-reads I've done of it (and there have been many over the years), The Long Walk has always left me too intimidated to review it. I managed a brief blurb of something when I
I loved this story when I read it. It was compelling. It's one of two novellas that was written by Richard Bachman that I like. This one gets it right.

It's brutal, but it was a foreshadowing of where our culture was heading. Not that we do things to the death yet, but these extreme competitions or reality shows are like this. I didn't have it in my GR and now I do.
Dan Schwent
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Every year, 100 boys take part in a nightmarish pilgrimage called The Long Walk, the winner receiving The Prize and a ton of cash. Ray Garraty is one of the contestants. Will he win The Prize or be one of the ninety-nine dead boys on the road?

Wow. And I thought the six mile hike I went on in October was rough. Imagine walking non-stop, day and night, and getting shot if you stop too long? That's the horror of The Long Walk.

The Long Walk takes place in a slightly different reality, where Germany
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Jesus Christ. A long walk indeed, Steve. A long walk in-fucking-deed.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, dystopian
Full review now posted!

Before The Hunger Games, there was The Long Walk. Except this was way, way more disturbing.

There are going to be spoilers ahead for the overarching plot, though not specifics regarding individual characters. I can’t think of any other way to review this book, so consider yourself warned.

Imagine a version of America that is completely obsessed with an annual “game” known as the Long Walk. In this new national pastime, teenage boys from all around the nation put their names
Oct 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-kindle, reviewed, 2013
The Long Walk is a book by an elusive author named Richard Bachman—whom no one has ever met—about a bunch of kids being slaughtered in a near-future (or alternate reality) dystopian America. Which, been there, done that, right? Can’t unknown authors write about something that wouldn’t be covered again decades later? The lack of foresight here is really disappointing.

There are differences, though, between The Hunger Games and this book, particularly in that the kids in The Long Walk are mowed
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Direct and relentless, like the best of Poe’s work.

Edgar Allan Poe’s work was characterized by one simple concept and a brutal and undeviating delivery. The “Cask of Amontillado” was an inevitable march to the bricking up of the victim. “The Tell-Tale Heart” was unescapable towards its conclusion. Foreshadowing and an inexorable conclusion marked the horrific legend of the “Fall of the House of Usher”.

Like Poe, King took a devilishly simple idea and delivered one of his strongest works, but lean
Raeleen Lemay
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
VERY GOOD. This book felt like the boys from Stand by Me had to walk for a long long time and this was the result. I really liked how the boys bonded and acted silly (like 16 year old boys are wont to do) because it felt very genuine. However, this book made me feel bad because I was sitting on the couch reading while they were walking for days and days lol
Matt Tandy
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A relentless, horrifying journey into the extremes of human physical and mental endurance, The Long Walk is a harrowing novel, not an outright horror tale, but a terrifying trip that gets under the readers skin as the walk wears on. Bachman (sai King) is able to get the reader to experience the walk in intimate detail; each aching arch, sleeplessness, the gut renching realization of the reality of the situation. As each mile passes, we become as much part of the long walk as the characters. Of ...more
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dystopian world.
100 boys and A Long Walk.
1 simple rule : Keep walking.
If you stop, you'll be shot.
If you slow down, you'll be shot.
There's no finish line.
The Walk continues until 99 drop dead,
The last person standing walking is the winner.

And we’re walking and walking… and walking… and walking...

The winner is supposed to get anything they want — money for the rest of their lives, their families taken care of. The losers get nothing.
It’s not until you actually see one of the Walkers receive a
J.K. Grice
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Stephen King did a superb job with the premise, characters, and tension that escalates in this excellent novel.
It's really fascinating to go back and read books you thought you really understood as a kid, and diving into Bachman nee King writing a disturbing dystopian YA really fits the bill for the whole mind-blowing thing. :)

Yeah. Dystopian YA SF.

He gives credit right in the book and all types of other places for cribbing from Shirley Jackson, especially the whole Lottery vibe, but what modern readers will probably latch onto is just how much the Hunger Games is cribbed off of King. :) (Also Battle
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My third reading of this, and I think it gets more harrowing each time. It's incredibly compelling and a difficult story to move on from. It was one of the first Stephen King books I read, and I find myself thinking of it often - it really burrows it's way into your mind.
I thought about doing some clever riff on this, maybe describing how it feels to swim 500 yards in a competition (so stuck in my head), or, in light of events this week, how it feels to have a migraine on and off for the last four days. I felt like I could tap into the structure of the telling rather easily, but honestly, it sounded tedious to write.

And that's about where I am with "The Long Walk." Technically, it is written well although it goes to obvious lengths in the beginning to conceal
I admit that I have about 10 books going right now. Hurricane Harvey has thrown me off my groove. I have attempted to start books and then set them down to deal with shitty reality for a while, and then not gotten back to them. But, I picked this one up and devoured it. It was so compelling to me.

Of course, I love dystopia. I want the future to be seriously fucked-up. I want people to be eating weird pellets that are probably made out of people, an evil overlord with some sort of hatred of
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This tale takes place in the future, I'm not entirely sure when King has this marked for but it sure as hell isn't present day. You've got 100 teens and you tell them that you have to walk at a consistent pace of 4 miles per hour until you just cannot do it any longer. While you're allowed 3 warnings (you’re never quite sure the length allowed before a warning is issued but I can only assume it's about 30 seconds) before you're eliminated, you need to walk for an hour straight to clear your ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

There’s only two things you need to worry about when taking The Long Walk: picking them up and laying them down.

Outwalk the other 99 contestants in this most twisted of games and you’ll win the grand prize – whatever your heart desires for the rest of your life.

Why the hell did I not know about this book for the past billion years I’ve been alive? I’ve been a King fangirl since the discovery of fire and can’t see how this one slipped

The Long Walk is a short story by Richard Bachman, aka a much younger and much more cynical Stephen King. It centers around Ray Garraty, one of the 100 boys selected to participate in this year’s Long Walk. What is the Long Walk you ask? Exactly what it sounds like: a long fucking walk.

The Rules: Keep walking. Keep up the pace. If you don’t, there are armed guards there to put a bullet in your head. Get too tired? Get shot. Stop to chat? Get shot. Run off and try to get free? Get shot. Slow
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been going through a kind of mild Stephen King binge at the moment. I've mentioned before that I thought I wasn't a fan of the King and had given up on him for a while, but with my high enjoyment of his Dark Tower series, I've given him a second chance. This was not a bad idea.

The Long Walk intrigued me when I started hearing people say it was like The Hunger Games, but darker. While I can see where this comparison comes from - a televised game of kids competing (view spoiler)
✨Brithanie Faith✨
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
4/5 stars


Favorite Quotes:

"99 bottles of beer on the wall and if one of those bottles should happen to fall.."

"But of course it had hurt. It had hurt before, in the worst, rupturing way, knowing there would be no more you but the universe would roll on just the same, unharmed and unhampered."

"They’re animals, all right. But why are you so goddam sure that makes us human beings?"


-I felt this novel. Physically. My muscles were aching by the end of this, and I think that says something
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Why does Garraty run at the end? (spoilers) 6 975 Feb 13, 2020 05:21AM  
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The ending 31 1558 Oct 04, 2018 04:18PM  
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This is a Stephen King pseudonym.

At the beginning of Stephen King's career, the general view among publishers was that an author was limited to one book per year, since publishing more would be unacceptable to the public. King therefore wanted to write under another name, in order to increase his publication without over-saturating the market for the King "brand". He convinced his publisher,
“They're animals, all right. But why are you so goddam sure that makes us human beings?” 113 likes
“Just go on dancing with me like this forever and I'll never tire. We'll scrape our shoe on the stars and hang upside down from the moon.” 91 likes
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