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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

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  1,173 Ratings  ·  81 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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Mark Neuffer I am pondering the same question. The movie based on this book was quite spectacular, so I imagine the book might be intriguing at the least.

"As Far…more
I am pondering the same question. The movie based on this book was quite spectacular, so I imagine the book might be intriguing at the least.

"As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me" may exist in the same realm as "The Long Walk" by Sławomir Rawicz, a Polish army officer imprisoned by the Soviets in World War II, who escaped to India over the Himalayas. There continue to be doubts about its authenticity, but it's one heck of a story.

Happy reading!(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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May 10, 2012 ^ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like stories of survival
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
...more
Scott
Feb 27, 2014 Scott rated it it was ok
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
Jan 23, 2014 Johann Manstein rated it really liked it
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
Drew
Nov 05, 2011 Drew rated it liked it
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
♥ 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
Jul 31, 2014 Taylor rated it it was amazing
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.
Dan Harrington
Aug 06, 2016 Dan Harrington rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a good book. Heart-wrenching. For me, it was a bit of a struggle to read, however, since there were not traditional "chapters" and instead were small breaks every 10-15 pages.
Benjamin Sigrist
Nov 20, 2009 Benjamin Sigrist rated it it was amazing
The best adventure story I have ever read. Need some courage? Read this book.
Dave
Mar 23, 2017 Dave rated it it was ok
Boringly average. There may be a good story in there somewhere, but not by this author
Cindy Tomamichel
Mar 05, 2017 Cindy Tomamichel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic tale of endurance and an insight into how a human will degenerate when on the edge of survival for a long time. While the writing style is a little dated, the elements of the story will keep you going thru blizzards, wolf attacks, starvation, you name it, he survived it.

The people he meets are well described, from the doctor that helps him, to the reindeer herding peasants. Most of the people he meets help him, which provides the better view of humanity. In contrast, the mai
...more
Val Penny
Jul 05, 2014 Val Penny rated it it was amazing
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
Judi
Apr 26, 2014 Judi rated it really liked it
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
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
Sep 19, 2013 Michelle rated it it was amazing
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.
Rachel
Oct 11, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: a, 2014, male-author
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
Dennis Raymond
Oct 01, 2016 Dennis Raymond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating book, relating a true-life adventure by a German prisoner of war's escape from a lead mine prison camp in far eastern Siberia (that point Sarah Palin can see from her kitchen window). His trek across Siberia, and through several other countries, finally leads him home to Munich after 38 months. His encounters with reindeer herders, escaped political prisoners, native Russians, another German prisoner from WWI, and others, keeps the storyline moving along. It's a story that ...more
Andrew
Sep 11, 2012 Andrew rated it liked it
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
Mar 12, 2012 Callie rated it liked it
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
Gene McAvoy
Dec 27, 2016 Gene McAvoy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable book. I used it as a filler for waiting times in my day, Could actually have read it through very quickly and at times I hated to put it down. I won't mention any spoilers here because I enjoyed the book so much and you should too. The only criticism I would have is that the earlier portions of the book gave a much more detailed description of the journey than the later sections did. I didn't know there was a movie version until after I had started reading the book - will have t ...more
Wifenotlodger Sunflower
Feb 04, 2013 Wifenotlodger Sunflower rated it did not like it
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.
bibliotekker Holman
Jan 23, 2016 bibliotekker Holman rated it really liked it
I read this and watched the German film with the same name some years ago, but Goodreads keeps telling me to read it based on my other books so I thought I'd comment on it.

This is another from the genre of World War Two wilderness survival literature. It is hard to know what is true or false in some of these tales, still the story is there waiting for further investigation and verification. If true, it is an incredible story of survival. If not, it is still a good story and read.
Lance Gideon
May 21, 2009 Lance Gideon rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended! An amazing true story of determination, courage, and strength! This story takes survival to the next level - in one of the harshest places on earth. I'll be watching the movie next!
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.
Jill
Apr 23, 2016 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This well-written story tells of one German soldier’s escape from a Siberian labor camp and his cross county trek to return home. It has excellent detail, pacing, and descriptions of the landscape and people encountered.
Heather
Mar 04, 2012 Heather rated it it was ok
The story was great but it felt so underwhelming by the way it was written. You got no sense of personal connection with Forell; the whole thing felt like a very clinical retelling of a timeline series of events and that's it.
love
Dec 16, 2013 love rated it it was amazing
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.
Erin Beck
May 29, 2007 Erin Beck rated it it was amazing
This poor guy walks for 3 years in 50 below weather to escape from a labor camp that he was wrongly locked up in. silly backwards Russia. He never would have made it without the kindness of strangers.
Shyam Parekh
Dec 13, 2012 Shyam Parekh rated it really liked it
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.
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