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on 8 January 2011
I read "The Long Walk" fifty years ago and even then I felt a sense of disappointment as there were so many unanswered questions. I have re-read the book every five years or so, and since the internet appeared I have made regular searches to obtain any updates, or absolutely any further news at all.

.Linda Willis has carried out a real labour of love researching the truth behind this story. The book is just so well written that the reader feels a sense of excitement whenever a new fact or contact is made by Linda Willis. I have enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed "The Long Walk".

Well recommended. Thank you Ms Willis for devoting your time and energy into updating and researching.
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on 2 January 2013
I was disappointed in this book. It seemed to me to be not much more than a long list of sources. This would no doubt be helpful to someone who was also trying to find Mr. Smith, as it would prevent going over ground already covered, but as a story it was very uninteresting. Ms Willis seemed to prove that the story was a fabrication or at least a compilation of events but did not offer any explanation as to what really happened to Mr. Smith or indeed any of the others. I would not recommend it.
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on 7 April 2011
Its good to be able to have a clearer picture of who did what, and this is an interesting addition to the enigma.
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on 20 December 2013
After reading 'the long walk' I was intrigued to find out if the story really was true. This book was fascinating but there was too much tedious detail about the research. I can understand why the author wants to show how much work was involved and how frustrating it was but it doesn't make for exciting reading.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 November 2015
Linda Smith tells her story of her research over many years into the truth behind the book by Slavomir Radicwz, The Long Walk.

This is scarcely a page-turner as so many of the avenues of research Linda Smith pursues turn out to be dead ends or cul de sacs. But she does find out some interesting things. Firstly she does identify Mr Smith - at least there is someone with the right kind of pre-history, Russian by birth but having spent many years in the US before returning to Russia and with an engineering background, though not someone who seems to have worked on the Russian Metro. But he is exactly the right age, he may well have had a military background and he is known to have had a scar on his neck when he was at Ellis Island - the scar is as per the book, but the story in the book is about an accident in building the Russian metro. Then she finds a family history of another escapee from a Russian prison camp whose family know he exchanged stories with one Zaro, who tells the same story as in The Long Walk to him (before the book is published). Then another family knows their father, who was working in British Intelligence at the right time and place during the war, says he is the person who picked up the party from Siberia (ie he identifies himself with the role in the book).

Less confirmatory, she finds someone called Glinski who is not mentioned in the book but claims to have been part of the party who did the walk. And Glinski says another member of the party was called Batko and that Batko killed a couple of guards at a railway line over the walk. And that there wasn't an atmosphere of camaraderie, rather a group of disparate individuals tied together by self-interest. He confirms the presence of Mr Smith on the walk. And the existence of Batko in Cornwall in 1948 is confirmed by police records.

And no confirmatory at all, she finds records showing that Rawicz himself was released from Russian prison camp as part of an amnesty for Polish prisoners, so arguably not on the walk at all. Among other avenues she pursues in the history of the ghost writer not he book, Stuart Downing, a writer for the Daily Mail with an interest in yetis (common in the 1950s) who has published some interviews with Rawicz before the book which differ in some minor details from the book…

The reader is left to form his own judgements. I was persuaded by Smith that the walk took place and that Mr Smith and Zaro were of the party. As to the rest, perhaps - just perhaps - Glinski and Downing worked on the story when Glinski says they met after the war (see page 91 of the book), but nothing came of this because Glinski did not want to become well-known (fear of Batko being his alleged reason for keeping quiet for many years). Then Downing meets Rawicz, who doesn't mind grafting some material from his own life onto the beginning of the narrative, then gradually learning the Glinski story before publication. And of course adding in a sighting of yetis, no doubt as per Downing's request...He can never do much nor does he have any motive, to track down his colleagues after the book's publication - that will only lead to exposure….so nothing happens in those days before the interest….

Anyway, an interesting true detective story - but one that leaves the reader, ultimately, guessing….
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on 15 January 2015
Interesting but still leaves a lot of questions.
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