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186 of 192 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From paranoid nightmare to a triumph of survival.
From page one this is a gripping and absorbing read. We start off with the capture and imprisonment of Polish cavalry officer Slavomir Rawicz, an ordeal that Franz Kafka would have been proud to have written. Accused of spying on the Russians, Slavomir is brutually tortured and beaten before being given a farcical trail that ends up with him being given the sentence of 25...
Published on 30 July 2001

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars disapointing
The beginning of the story gave great interest but as soon as the journey of freedom started i became bored . The book does not give enough information about the men for you to really engage and care what happens to them. You do not get to know them. There is scant description of any conversations. The gobi desert appears to be no more than a bit of a hot few days when...
Published on 11 Mar 2010 by Mrs. G. J. Fake


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Long Walk, 19 Sep 2011
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I first read this book as a boy about 45 years ago - it was my mothers.
It made such an impact on me at the time that I could remember certain passages and events in the book even after all these years.
While the events in the book are quite harrowing it is not written in in the modern style of sensationalism but it is a product of its time written when there were many people still alive had actually lived through and survived far worse treatment and conditions (maybe far worse may be a little strong - but certainly worse) and so it is slightly understated in comparison to modern literature.
There is some controversy surrounding this book but even if the events did not occur exactly as described it bears testament to the human spirit and I would recommend this to anyone interested in learning a little more about the human mind, spirit and desire for freedom.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good yarn, 15 July 2009
By 
Philpy (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
A good story but not all that well written and, after reading an article in the Reader's Digest I am left wondering if the right man wrote the book. It is alleged that the author did not experience the "long walk" but "stole" the story from the person that did. Either way, if it happened and they walked 4,000 miles suffering what they did, it was an incredible story.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some answers to other reviewers, 22 Jan 2003
By A Customer
I had the very great privelege of meeting this man, who for the last 40 years or so has lived in a humble cottage in the UK Midlands. Some people cast doubt on his story, especially as none of his fellow escapees can now be traced. However, as part of the research into our meeting with him, we did a lot of digging, and we did succeed in finding a former British army officer stationed in Calcutta who remembered the group's arrival, their internment in the camp hospital, and their subsequent departure for different destinations.
Rawicz himself is utterly convincing, and absolutely never contradicts himself. He hasn't made a lot of money from his story (although he will get something if it is made into a movie), and constantly pushes the line that we should all be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy. A man to be admired.
Has anyone thought of making this into a movie? Yes - I have. But the rights are in the hands of a small Californian production company - at least for now.
As for Mr. Smith speaking Russian without any trace of an accent, you should take that at face value. I am British, born and bred, and I speak Russian extremely well. Not once in over 20 years of coming to Russia have I been accused of being a foreigner... sometimes people think I come from the Baltics (which now, of course, WOULD qualify me as a foreigner!). I know many other foreigners from as far afield as Japan and Italy who speak Russian to a very high degree of fluency. In short, I have no difficulty believing Rawicz on this point.
Some of the things other reviewers have posted I can agree with: I also have my doubts about crossing the Gobi without water, but maybe it wasn't the Gobi? Someone told me there is an area in that part of the world where there is, indeed, intermittent rainful of the kind described in the book. Some more thorough research would probably clear up this point. Just remember, these people only had the very roughest idea of where they were on the face of the planet.
Buy the book. Read it. Pass it on to your kids. And then your grandchildren. When I met him, Rawicz sought only to stress one thing: that we should all learn to value the freedoms we enjoy. On the balance of probabilities that his story is true, we owe the man that much.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, 5 May 2004
By 
Andrew Watt (london United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I read this book in little more than one sitting - it is one of those stories that just grabs you and doesn't let go.
I have tried to find out more information on this book - surely it would be good to find out what happened after to the 4 survivors - and found out that Rawicz died on April 5th this year after living after the war in the UK. There is an obituary on the Times Online.
Yes, some of the story does not ring true in places (for example; the commandant's wifes role, the Yeti episode) but I am sure that no-one could make up the vast bulk of this tale. For the most part, fact can sometimes be a lot stranger than fiction and this is a story of human endurance and survival like almost no other.
If anyone out there knows what happened to the rest of the escapers, I'd love to know.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fiction, not fact, 3 Nov 2013
This story has been utterly discredited. Interesting to read, but simply not true. The Daily Mail journalist asked the man about Yeti stories, and believed everything he was told!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Story, or True Story, and does it matter?, 12 Mar 2012
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This review is from: The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom (Kindle Edition)
In 1939 Slavomir Rawicz, a young Pole (like many Poles) had a chilling and brutal encounter with the USSR State machinery,at the time when Germany and Russia had a neutrality towards each other, but both saw Poland as a place to slake territorial hunger.

Rawicz, living near the border with Russia, and son of a Russian mother, and therefore fluent in Russian, was arrested as an anti-Communist agent. Imprisoned and tortured in the infamous Lubyanka prison, he was sentenced to 25 years hard labour in a prison camp in Siberia. Helped by the camp Commandant's wife, he and a group of other prisoners escaped and, suffering enormous danger and deprivation as they walked across desolate landscapes including Siberia itself in a particularly cold winter, the arid wastes of the Gobi desert, and the harshness of the Himalayas, reaching India and freedom with the Allies. Later, Rawicz moved to this country, and married an English woman. He died in 2004. An astonishing story, well written by a ghost writer. But this book, originally published in 1956, hit the best seller lists precisely because it purports to be 'The TRUE Story of a Trek to Freedom' Unfortunately later research appears to suggest the story is not completely true - or, if it is, that it may not be Rawicz's story at all, but the story of another modest Pole, who also settled in this country, Witold Glinski. A 2006 BBC documentary challenged Rawicz's claims offering Glinski as the real hero; however there have been other investigations which have since challenged Glinski's veracity as well. Does this all matter? Well, yes. However interesting a story I did not set out to read this as a novel. I read it as an account , if you like, of heroism, of strength, of the refusal of the human spirit to be crushed. In other words, to remind myself of the best, as well as the worst, we are capable of. But if the story is fake, only pretending to be true - than the book only reminds me of the worst. If it is a story, or a partial story, or a cobbled together story from several real and several imagined stories, then it is a metaphor or a pointer or a reminder of what the best and the worst might be, but is not the thing itself. I could have read it as The Long Walk BASED on a True Story, with great enjoyment, and given it 5 stars. It is absolutely true that many Poles suffered dreadfully from the historical relationship with their two rapacious totalitarian neighbours. It is absolutely true that the state machinery of both countries dealt appallingly, brutally, inhumanely with those it considered its enemies. Its undoubtedly true that some of those who were so brutally dealt with resisted and overcame, escaped, showing extraordinary strength, resilience, integrity and courage. And its important we know those people's stories, to remind us of what the best of being human might be But if we are sold something as true, and it is a lie, that matters. My sense is someone may have done this journey, or part of this journey, it may even have been Rawicz himself. But was it exactly as he lays out? Hmm much more difficult to believe, sack sewing Commandant's wife, Abominable Snowmen and 13 days in the Gobi desert between waterholes and with only 1 tin cup as a water carrying container between 8 people, and all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring story of survival, 12 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom (Kindle Edition)
This is a gripping read that I found hard to put down. To even contemplate escape through such terrain almost defies belief. Any one section of this journey is a staggering achievement. Put together . . . . a must read
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Long Walk, 28 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom (Kindle Edition)
This is an amazing story. At times the language and flow wasn't brilliant but this was more than made up by the story. It will live with you for ages.The sheer determination and resilience of the human spirit is inspirational. It's a good motivating read if you are feeling life is tough but everyone should read it anyway in my opinion!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 26 Sep 2011
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This book is amazing and inspiring. I actually ready it twice ina row. I would recommend this to anyone. Its a great flowing read
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Long Walk, 26 Aug 2011
A moving, heart-lifting and harrowing (yet still amusing in part) true-life story. Wish I'd taken more notice of my field-craft teaching when younger ...
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