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The Long Walk: The True Story of Trek to Freedom

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  12,698 Ratings  ·  1,900 Reviews
The film The Way Back, starring Colin Farrell and Ed Harris, is based on this amazing true story. 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 as ...more
Published April 1st 2007 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1956)
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Dana Hall The book is difficult to believe. The prison camp commander sure trusted him alone with his wife, in his house, for long periods of time. The Siberian…moreThe book is difficult to believe. The prison camp commander sure trusted him alone with his wife, in his house, for long periods of time. The Siberian gulag at times seems like a ski making camp. I expected it to be far worse. He was able to walk extraordinary distances without food and water. The walking party almost never argued or got on each other's nerves, or had personality clashes, and apparently made no attempt to ever find each other after the war. No one told their side of the story publically except him. Mr. Smith never revealed a first name, why not just make one up? It is just hard to believe.(less)
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Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in what humans can endure and still survive
Recommended to Ed by: Warren B. Jones
There is much controversy as to whether this account is fact or fiction. I googled the author's name and the book title and after reading dozens of articles and opinions, I'm still not sure, though I lean towards thinking that the narrative is actually a composite of a number of experiences including Rawicz's.

As was said in an account on the web entitled "#18 Anderson's Long Walk Expedition", in which a group of people retraced Rawicz's journey, although on camels not on foot:

Attempting to find
Clif Hostetler
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
When this novel was first published in 1956 it created a sensation. It claimed to be a memoir of a man, who with seven others, had escaped from a Siberian prison work camp in 1942 and managed to walk all the way to British India. The story was eagerly consumed by the cold war era public who were enamored by the tale of an escape from the evil empire of the Soviet Union. It was an incredible story of endurance that required walking across the Gobi Desert and over the Himalayan Mountains.

Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in reading
I found this book truly inspirational and gripping. I read it in 2 nights. There is some banter about whether or not it is true. I'm still not decided on what I think about this debate. What I do know, from having lived in Russia for a number of years and having toured an obscure KGB "prison" in Lithuania 3 times, that the author's description of his torture in Minsk and in Moscow were especially haunting. From what I saw in Vilnius, he was actually given light treatment. Some of the rooms in th ...more
Dec 31, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A memoir must be an unrewarding thing to write today. So many have been discredited as either full of untruths or completely fabricated. Jerzy Kosinski's "Painted Bird", Carlos Casteneda's "The Teaching of Don Juan", more than a few of Oprah-publicized books, and now (a revelation for me) "The Long Walk", a book that has sold half a million copies since it was first published in 1956. I started to get suspicious about 1/3 of the way through this book. There were too many implausible incidents, s ...more
Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tragic and difficult but also hypnotic.

The reader may question the complete veracity of the account and and may be somewhat disappointed to learn of the amount of criticism and doubt surrounding his story. Essentially, a group of political prisoners in a Soviet prison in Siberia literally walk out of captivity. The idea is that an escaped prisoner will die in the bitter cold and unforgiving wilderness of eastern Asia. The group walks across Siberia and into the Gobi desert and then to the Himal
Opening Line: “It was about nine o’clock one bleak November day that the key rattles in the heavy lock of my cell in the Lubyanka Prison and the two broad-shouldered guards marched purposely in.”

Wow what an amazing story, epic is I guess more the word I’m looking for. I read this after watching the movie The Way Back and as is usually the case the book is much better, vastly different yet obviously maintaining the gist of the year long trek across an entire continent to freedom. As a point of in
I'm not going to get all wrapped up in whether or not this account is true as the book claims. It's a remarkable story regardless, much like the book I just read, Das Boot: The Boat, was a remarkable story and may have some kernels of truth from the author's real life. The story itself is good and empowering, and that's all that really matters to me.

That's a lot of walking, even for fictional characters.
The Long Walk, by Slavomir Rawicz, purports to be the true story of an heroic flight to freedom. He claims to have been a Polish officer grabbed by the Russians in 1939, imprisoned and marched to "camp 303" in Siberia. From there he and six companions escape, with the help of the commandants wife. THey begin a year long trek south, past Lake Baikal, through Mongolia, across the Gobi, over Tibet and to India and freedom. Hurray! What a triumph of the human spirit. The book had the taint of improb ...more
SoManyBooks SoLittleTime (Aven Shore)
InCREDible adventure story. Unbelievable what people are physically able to endure and survive. Just riveting.
This man, and others, walked, after escaping, from a work camp in Siberia, through Mongolia (desert), oh, and then OVER the Himalayas. Walked. Several of them died.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Amazing true account of courage and determination. 4.5 stars.
This group of men escaped from a Siberian prison camp in 1941 and spent a year making their way to safety in India. They crossed very harsh terrain including the Gobi Desert and the Himalayas. Sadly, not all of them survived the journey.
Most interesting were the locals they met along the way, especially the Mongolians and Tibetans.
Very well edited and not too long. Reads like a novel.
Perhaps I’ve been missing references to this book and gulags for years, but now I see them everywhere. The night after I finished this book, I laughed uproariously to find this book (and its movie) being referenced in the new Muppets movie. I think I was the only person in the theater who got the joke when the actress that played Christina in the movie started doing ballet against scene cuts of Muppets treacherously traversing snowy mountains and hot deserts to get to Kermit the Frog in his Sibe ...more
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing true story of the human spirit's will to live. Russia invaded Poland in 1939 and took hundreds of thousands of Polish soldiers prisoner...

One man, the author of this book, not only survived torture in Russian hands, and an inhumane train ride and walk to a Siberian labor camp... but after all that, he decided to escape. He recruited 6 other prisoners to join him and the 7 of them walked to India. Through Siberian blizzards, the Gobi desert's deadly heat, the treacherous landscape of t
Javier Calle
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una increíble novela de aventura y superación que tiene el aliciente extra de estar basada en hechos reales, lo que te permite conocer parte de la negra historia de los campos de concentración rusos. Muy bien escrita y con un ritmo que te lleva de página en página hasta el final.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lee Bridgers
Nov 17, 2009 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who believes the Bible is literally true
Recommended to Lee by: no one
This book was a real disappointment, so stupid a lie that it is almost as hard to believe that so many people fall for it--oh well, the Bible comes to mind. I love non-fiction, especially books on mid 20th century history. I had just finished reading One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and found this book in the Falcon Press racks at an airport. I began to read it, and inch by inch I started to feel the lie. Ivan Denisovich is a made-up story (based on the author's actual experience, but fict ...more
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book says it's the "true story of a trek to freedom" and I began reading it as such. It takes the reader on a harrowing journey beginning with Soviet imprisonment where the Polish author is eventually sentenced to 25 years in a Siberian labor camp. The trip to the labor camp alone was a torturous mix of walking and riding in a packed rail car. Once at the camp, the author begins making plans and choosing associates to break out. His group of 6 prisoners is ultimately successful... and so be ...more
Misty Hobbs
Cavalry officer Slavomir Rawicz was captured by the Red Army in 1939 during the German-Soviet partition of Poland and was sent to the Siberian Gulag ...more. This book has had a huge influence in my life. It is the book that I read when I need to be reminded of how much the human heart and body can endure. It is the story I think of when I feel that my life is out of my control. When I need to be reminded that my life is not that bad that I really don't have it as tough as I think I do. What Raw ...more
Fredrick Danysh
After Germany and Russia partitioned Poland just before World War II made them enemies, the Russians arrested Polish cavalry officer Slavomir Rawicz at his home. Tortured and imprisoned for months, Ramicz was then sent to a slave labor camp in Siberia with a twenty-five year sentence. A few months later and six others escape and set off on a foot trek across southern Russia, the Gobi Desert, and the Himalayan Mountains. I first read this book for the first time about 50 years ago.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, pārgājieni, poļu
Kad es uzzināju par šo grāmatu, man nebija divu domu, ka tā jāizlasa. Interesanti, cik cilvēku nopietni apsvēra domu izbēgt no labošanas darbu nometnēm Sibīrijā padomju gados - no šiem absurdajiem, simtiem kilometru no lielām apdzīvotām vietām esošajiem cietumiem? Bet, lūk, septiņi vīri, kuri uzdrīkstējās ne tikai domāt par kaut ko tik nereālu, bet arī to realizēt, turklāt viens no tiem - latvietis.

Bads, slāpes, absolūts bezspēks līdz kāju ļimšanai un krišanai ar seju smiltīs. Nenormāla piepūle,
Slavomir Rawicz is in the Polish army and is arrested by the Russians, accused of spying. He spends a year in Russian prison, then is given a trial and sentenced to 25 years labor. He is transported by train from Moscow to Irkutsk, then is on a forced march in chains with hundreds of other prisoners to Camp 303 in Northern Siberia. After a few months he decides to escape, gathers a group of like minded men, is helped by the Camp Commander's wife who is sympathetic. They successfully escape the c ...more
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am constantly amazed at the human spirit and will to survive. I often wonder, after reading books like this, if I would be one to make it. I'm not sure I would. This reminds me of Life and Death in Shanghai and of David Faber's story. How is it possible for humankind to be so diverse and affected by governments that you would find it in yourself to treat people the way prisoners are treated at times? How can you be so convinced of the "common good" that you allow yourself to degrade another li ...more
Suppose to be TRUE. I don't know. Google'd the book but recently some critics are skeptical on how TRUE the story plays out.
Seven inmates from a Soviet labor camp in Siberia escape and WALKED thousands of miles thru bitter cold and then later thru the Gobi Desert,Tibet then finally made it to India seems far, FAR fetched. Again it could be True. It is NOT written anywhere near Laura Hillenbrand"s book,UNBROKEN. It had some of the same elements - one trying event after another - but it still is
Avtar Dhaliwal
Feb 01, 2012 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I am on page 79 in the book, right now the book is really taking a new step. (view spoiler) I think that this book really represents dehumanisation with the treatment of the main characters, and comradship with the pri ...more
Apr 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really great story though extremley depressing, but when you hear prisoner of war and Siberian prison camp it ain't gonna be unicorns and rainbows.

This is the amazing tale a prisonor who escapes this wretched prison camp in Siberia with 6 friends and they travel through the epic forests to getaway. They go to mongolia, western china, tibet and all through to India. It is cold then it is hot then it gets cold again and then.... you guessed it more hot.
Halfway through reading this I fou
Around The World = Siberia.

I've just finished reading The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz, which, if true, is a simple unembellished telling of an amazing feat of endurance. Rawicz, an officer of the Polish cavalry, is captured by the Soviet forces and imprisoned in a Siberian gulag. With a band of other prisoners, Poles, Lithuanians, a Czech and an American, they escape the camp and travel south. First through Siberia, on a route running parallel to Lake Baikal, before crossing the Trans-Siberian
Apr 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition's the deal...

I totally would've given this 5 stars because it was an amazing story of survival and the human will to overcome difficult challenges. That being said, when I had like 30 pages left, I googled the author to see if he was still alive and what I discovered were a whole bunch of articles (including a BBC documentary) that exposes him as a fake! It said he could never prove that he was there when the story takes place and all this other stuff, so I don't know if it's true or n
May 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written history, with all of the elements of travel survival that make your pulse quicken... It is not an easy read, there are many places where you will wince and want to turn away - but it is a history important to note. Stalinist Russia was full of bizarre and improbable cruelties, we should never forget the lives that were devastated by the tangled web of paranoia and totalitarianism.

On another level, the human survival story is inspiring and jaw dropping. The things these human beings
Inês Beato
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-paper, 2017
Um livro poderoso, baseado em factos verídicos, que relata a fuga de um campo de trabalhos forçados na Rússia do próprio Slavomir Rawicz, após ter sido preso injustamente.
Uma história de luta, força e preserverança, bem como um hino à amizade, que faz todos os nossos problemas e queixas parecerem uma ninharia quando comparados com o sofrimento deste Homem e de muitos outros durante a II Guerra Mundial. Um retrato emocionante do melhor e do pior de que o Ser Humano é capaz.
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Sławomir Rawicz was a Polish Army lieutenant who was imprisoned by the Soviets after the German-Soviet invasion of Poland. In a ghost-written book called The Long Walk, he claimed that in 1941 he and six others had escaped from a Siberian Gulag camp and walked over 6,500 km (4,000 mi) south, through the Gobi Desert, Tibet, and the Himalayas to finally reach British India in the winter of 1942. In ...more
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“What is most important is the deeply felt conviction that freedom is like oxygen, and I hope The Long Walk is a reminder that when lost, freedom is difficult to regain.” 9 likes
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