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am 2. Dezember 1999
Today, Most of us have a soft, comfortable and safe life. We are confident that we are in control. It is most likely the people featured in this book felt the same way at one time. Yes, this is a true story about several innocent individuals leading normal lives until the Second World War came along. Then, through the toss of the dice, they found themselves together in a Russian prison camp in Siberia.
I felt they would perish many times over before they arrived at the prison compound. They not only survived up to this point in time, but after their escape, went on to suffer hardships many times greater than all previous. This is not a sob story about people feeling sorry for themselves. No, it is about determination, miracles, grit and attitude.
My Father introduced this book to me. I now have passed it along to my son. When I first read it, I could not put it down. I read through the day, into the evening and finally finished it in the early morning hours. I have never experienced this passion for a book. I wish a movie was made based on this hardship. The best part is that it is told by Slavomir Rawicz, who was one of the escapees. I feel certain that after this humbling and shattering life experience, he told it from deep within his soul. I do not feel there was any fluff added.
I liked it as I have never liked a book, ever. It was as if I got on board a roller coaster, strapped myself in, and took off on a scary but thrilling journey, completly safe, yet somtimes a little frightened at what I saw. I came away with the feeling that today, in America, there is truly no cause for anyone to complain about their petty problems. Relatively speaking, we have no problems. We are pampered. I used it as a learning experience. I tucked it away in my memory. For today we too, are comfortable, safe, and confident. Who knows what the dice hold in store for us?
0Kommentar|9 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 12. Februar 2000
This is an amazing book which is among the most compelling accounts of the human spirit that I have ever read or heard. At the same time it is a beacon on the inhumanity that man can impart upon his fellow human beings. There is beautiful juxtaposition of these two qualities throughout the book. I was almost moved to tears several times throughout the book (and I think the last time I cried was during E.T.!) My sister gave this book to me after she read it in one sitting because she could not put it down. It is the kind of book that will forever stay with you, and that is really the gift of Mr. Rawicz, and the gift to him as well. He imparts us never to forget what has happened and to learn from our past, to realize that to all injustices there are human faces attached, and very real consequences. However, at the same time it is an adventure story which is so incredible it grips you and does not release its hold. If this were fiction it would be amazing, the fact that it is true stretches the mind to new dimensions. Definitely one of the most powerful books you can read. A must for anyone who seeks to learn and to grow as a human, and in this way we can pay tribute to men like Slavomir Rawicz.
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am 10. Februar 1999
I highly recommend this book. The best part about it is the contrast between the insane society under totalitarian Stalin and the compassionate society seen in Tibet and Tibet-influenced Mongolia and Buryatia.
Now, as to the truth of the account: Some aspects of the book ring true:
1.) As someone who has walked over 2000 miles in a 6 month period, I can say that the distances covered in the book (20-30 miles/day) are reasonable. 2.) Descriptions of Tibetans, Mongols & Buryats ring true with my experience & knowledge. 3.) Description of incarcerated life seems quite real & perhaps is hard to fake in detail.
However, some things don't quite jibe: 1.) I'm told its almost impossible to live beyond 3-5 days with out water. (Weeks with out food is not problem however) 2.) What about the other members of the journey. They could not go home so they are in free countries with free media who would be glad to tell their tale. Especially the American (conveniently named "Smith") would have come to light by now, unless, of course, he really was a spy.
The most likely scenario in my opinion is that some sort of escape through Tibet took place, but that the escapees were much less innocent than described in the book. Some of the escapees may have died in other ways, and indeed Russians may have been killed by the desperate prisoners to avoid capture. Note that when the woman is discovered, the prisoners initially say "we will have to kill him" Something like this may have happened in real life.
In spite of likely creative remembering above, in the end we should probably let bygones be bygones and appaud Rawicz for (rightfully) pointing out the sad fate of fogotten Poland at the hands of communist invaders. His cry for freedom is as applicable today as in 1941, especially when we consider the genocidal repression under which Rawicz benefactors, the Tibetans, now live.
One Irony, had the prisoners chosen to enter Lhasa (as I think they should have) they might have met up with fellow escapee Heinrich Harrier (author of "Seven Years in Tibet")....
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am 7. April 2005
This is an amazing (adventure) story, even if, as some people claim, not all of it really happened the way described here. It reminded me strongly of the famous SOWEIT DIE FUESSE TRAGEN (AS FAR AS MY FEET WILL CARRY ME). I also have the feeling that it would be a great idea to turn this story into a film.
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am 8. Februar 2000
This book starts with crisp, vivid detail and the author gives a startling view of Soviet imprisonment and a fascinating account of his 3 week train ride to a gulag. But after a brief period of confinement, the escape takes on something of a familiar pattern which stretches the limits of credibility. While still a good book, I ask you, even when pushed to your absoulute limits, if you could walk across Siberia in the winter, the Gobi desert in the Summer, and climb the Himalya's in the winter, all while being ill-equipped and averaging 30 miles a day for 4000 miles. No way. Everyone truly wants to beleive what is simply an unbelievable tale. And then to throw in a sighting of the Yeti, I think 'ole Slavomir is laughing all the way to the bank.
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am 1. Juli 1999
Like many readers I have found this a great inspiration since I was a teenager. One of the most important issues readers raise is whether the story is true. My own feeling is that, barring some lapses of memory and simplifications to the story, the tale is truth. Not least of my reasons for reading this is that Slavomir lives about 50 miles from me and I have corresponded wiht him. If he is a liar why risk giving his name and address away to any inquisitive person who could start asking awkward questions. Secondly he gives a detailed account of seeing yetis. Why do this if he wants his tale to be taken seriously ? Thirdly, there is excellent detail in the book "the Telefunken's wiring", the Mongols bowls, the Mongol's watch, the inscriptions on a Soviet border post and the time when he wraps deerskin around the lock of a stolen gun (a hunter and solider would think of this). The story is not unique; compare it with "As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me" by JM Bauer (Granada paperbacks 1957). The German officer in this book escaped from a leadmine in a far harsher part of Siberia than Slavomir's. The German gives incredible detail of how he walked to Persia (Iran). It can be done. In respect of the ill-advised Gobi trek, I have read many documented accounts of when military men made such foolish expeditions (and went beyond the accepted limits of survival). Remember that Slavomir's party were terrified of capture. Any Mongol soldiers would have handed them back to the Russians(refer to JM Bauer's book). Slavomir did not know who was fighting who in WW2 (or whether the war was still on). Did the Japanese support Russia? Did the Tibetans? The Chinese? I suspect that capture (even if they were not handed to the Russians) would have broken his spirit and killed him. Lastly, I think that a Hollywood film would wreck this book. Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and George Clooney anyone? Yuk! Feel free to e-mail me with any views on this book.
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am 11. März 1998
This was a moving and profound true story and I didn't want the book to end. A story of ordinary human beings reaching into the innermost recesses of their being to do extraordinary things in order to survive. I felt like one of their close traveling companions and rooted and felt deeply for them at every horrible step of their way. In this book you will share their joys and their sorrows, seeing life through their eyes. Does every chapter or sentence convey a horrible or sad experience? Not at all. There are humorous moments which are all the more touching because they illustrate humanity's ability to laugh and play and be silly in the gravest of circumstances. These people were heroes. And they could have been you or me. I think one challenge any writer would face in relating such a tale is to do so without making oneself the leader or the center of the group. In short, without making oneself into some kind of hero or superman. The narrator overcomes this challenge successfully. You never get the sense that there is an ego getting in the way of the facts. The story is told fully yet simply. This guy wrote the book at the repeated urging not only of friends who knew him well and his pain but also at the express direction of his doctor who told him it might help exorcise some of his demons. He teamed up with a British journalist who developed a sufficiently trusting relationship with the Polish-born author to get him to open up and talk. This author didn't do it for the money. This author basically has made very little on the book over the years. It is still not a widely known book and no one has ever made a movie of it. It had a small printing and then after many years became sort of an underground classic. I think anyone would like this book. If you are human and have friends and can relate to others, you are going to identify with one or another of the primary characters and will quickly become spellbound. Let's never forget these poor souls who fell victim to Stalin's gulag. It's the least we can do for them - the living and those they buried along their escape route together.
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am 10. November 1999
Having seen a review of this book in a literary journal I recieve, I was struck with the urge to read this testimony of hardship, loss and perserverance.
I was not disapointed when I put the book down, finished with the gripping tale of a man and his friends that can be described only with the heart, not in words. I cannot imagine the trials and tribulations of such a daring escape from the clutches of the former "Evil Empire".
Questions arise about the truth of the claims in the book, about survival, navigation and the like. To be honest, in a survival situation the mind and your will to survive and ability to live on is the most important thing a person has, and these are traits all members of the party had.
Mr. Rawicz is a testament to the human spirit, and our ability as humans to overcome and adapt, while never losing hope. His claim to having seen two Yeti are pooh-poohed by some, but I would believe it at face value. This mans integrity and spirit are beyong reproach. Let disbelievers to his story try to make a journey of 100 miles on foot with his pary's provisions and they will most certainly fail. Let a person who has the will to live make the journey, and I believe they would easily make it, with dignity intact.
It's said that you can survive three minutes without air, three hours without proper shelter, three days without water, three weeks without food, and three months without love.....
The members of this party stretched the limits of human endurance, and in the end, they had each other to help themselves along the untrodden path to freedom. The Creator was helping Mr. Rawicz along, on his terrible journey. His tale is true, and should be required reading for all children of any nation calling itself "free".
0Kommentar|3 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 20. April 1999
One should really never say never, but... Rawicz' harrowing tale of travel across the Himalayas smacks of an overactive imagination. The circumstances and events he and his mates were able to conquer would be impossible to replicate without everyone dying, and implausible on historical grounds.
1)He consistently states that he tried to travel and average of 20 -30 miles per day walking 8-12 hours and assumes that he actually achieved such an average. It is impossible to travel through the topography of the regions he describes, esp. the Himalayan foothills and achieve anything more than about 10 miles on an exceptionally good day. His average should have been about 8 miles /day. I know this since I have travelled with light pack through much of the area Rawicz describes. With a 16 kilo backpack in very good shape I was able to make an average of 5 miles across rough terrain --- and this is with enough food on established trails. Rawicz states that most of the time they were not on trails.
2) The group was pretty desperate, but why walk to British India. Surely it must have crossed someone's mind to try to find the forces of Chaing Kai Shek and get transferred to the western powers operating in eastern China. It would have saved them a lot of walking. You might say, Well he didn't want to risk hitting the Japanese or Chinese communists. But if they knew about the communists or the Japanese then they must also has known about a certain western presence and military support for China. It might be hard to find, but certainly worth looking for.
3) His climbing descriptions of the trails in the Himalayas bear no relationship to the real conditions and belie and true description of snow conditions in the Himalayas at the time of year he crossed into British India.
4) He describees wandering around what is surely the Taklamantan Desert for 8 days without water. In this environment you'd be dead in 2 days.
5) Perhaps the most damning indictment of his story is the fact that he was never debriefed by British intelligence, merely "given a new uniform and sent to Africa." It is stretching the boundaries of credibility to believe this man walks from a Stalinist labour camp across most of continental asia ( an area where the British and Russians, though allies, have traditionally quarreled) comes crawling through to a British hospital and surprise, surprise, no official from British Intelligence debriefs him or his mates.
Believe what you want, this is an interesting tale but as a betting man, I am sure it isn't true.As piece of fiction it reads quite well. If you want good tales in the same genre read "Fear Drives My Feet." This is real historical adventure in its prime. And true.
0Kommentar|3 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
I first read 'The Long Walk' in 1977, when I chanced upon the paperback in the school library. I was in my first year of high school then, and I remember that once I started, I could not put the book down. What an amazing story!
I kept that book for years afterwards (and I don't normally steal from libraries!). In time the pages became torn and weathered, and eventually I had to throw it away. But I never forgot the story, and despite searching for it at bookshops, I never found another copy.
I had to wait for the internet to come along before I was able to order the book from overseas. I was delighted to find that there were many other people out there who had enjoyed the book as much as I had. I was even more delighted to find that Slavomir Rawicz is still alive and living in England!!
Has anybody tried finding out what happened to his companions? Slavomir writes that they said that after leaving the hospital in Calcutta they would go anywhere rather than live under communism. It is quite possible they emigrated to Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada or England. He also writes in the afterword to the 1997 edition that 'it is very painful not knowing what happened to them'.
If anyone is interested in helping me look for Slavomir's companions, or has information as to their whereabouts, then please email me. Time is running out, as they would be in their eighties now, if they are still alive. In the meantime, I am researching the background to the book.
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