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The Long Walk: The Story that Inspired the Major Motion Picture: The Way Back Paperback – 16 Dec 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 565 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (16 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849012091
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849012096
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (565 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 846,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


One of the most epic treks of the human race...It must be read - and re-read. (Sebastian Junger)

An heroic tale desperately live and compellingly told, Rawicz carries us with each weakening step, sustained by his simple undying vision of the liberty that lies beyond the cruel emptiness of Siberia and the sterile gravles of the Gobi. The Long Walk is an odyssey through the wastelands of Asia and the vastness of the soul - a classic of triumph over despair, of beauty found in the Void. (Benedict Allen)

Positively Homeric. (Cyril Connolly, The Times)

Book Description

A classic of epic endurance now a major motion picture, The Way Back, starring Ed Harris, Mark Strong and Colin Farrell, directed by Peter Weir.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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 years in a Siberian forced labour camp, on the basis of no evidence and a forged confession. It is here that the action begins to kick in to a more gung-ho spirit. Loaded into freezing cold railway cars and then slowly "chugged" across Russia, almost four thousand miles, to what was thought to be the prison. More agony is piled onto the men as they are chained together and frog marched hundreds of miles through bitter winds and biting snow blizzards until many weeks and many deaths later, prisoners and guards alike, the men finally arrive at their destination. It is a tribute to the writer that while writing of his tribulations he never once seems to feel bitter outrage or acrimony against his Siberian jailers, rather he feels an apathy for them as it seems to be indicated that even the guards here are victims of some small fault against the Russian mother state. Once the prison camp is reached, fans of great escape stories will become gripped as allegiances are formed and slowly an escape plan is hatched. To write too much would be to give too much away, but surfice to say that the team of seven men escape with some help from a very unexpected source and the escape is well and truly underway.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
....I tend to re-read this book in its entirety every year or so. I also read random chapters much more often and I have probably read this book more times than any other book that I own (The Great Escape comes second).
It's a great story of the hardships endured by prisoners of the Russian system in the early years of world war 2 and covers the capture of Slavomir Rawics while an officer in the Polish cavalry, his interrogation in Russia (for the crime of being a Polish cavalry officer) and the train journey and forced march to the Siberian prison camp with many deaths along the way. With the co-operation of the commandant's wife he has the opportunity to escape and finally does so with a small group of like minded prisoners.
Then begins another long period of torment as they set out to walk south to freedom, which they finally achieve in India.
A great read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Every now and again one comes across a book which though is so clearly the experience of the author it nevertheless beggars belief. It is, though, almost impossible to believe that anyone could make up so many elements of this epic. The author is a man who writes compellingly; I truly found it hard to put down, almost led on by the horror and relentless suffering as by wanting to know what happened next. Please don't be put off by that statement, though. The horror was real, is real as you read it, but the dominating feeling is one of the towering human Spirit that overcomes the incredible adversity this man and his friends endured. This book inspired me and left me wondering how on Earth anyone could get through this, and how would I fare under those conditions? The truth is I don't know but I fear nowhere near as well. If you want a book that is inspiring and leaves you breathless, this is one to buy.
Some months later . .
Since writing the review above I have come across criticism and a heated debate over the possibility that this book was not written by the author but plagiarised from another's work and dressed up considerably.
The thought this may be so was disappointing but on examining the evidence I find myself still believing in the authenticity of this book and the author. There are too many questions of a fundamental nature that even the author's detractors do not address and some take on controversial elements in the book and use prejudice as part of the argument to undermine the whole thing.
The author is no longer around to defend himself - how many times does THAT happen! - and so it is ultimately left to the reader to decide and then it becomes a matter of opinion. I do, however, believe in the book, the story and the author and the more I consider it the more I find reasons to. Unfortunately detractors find the sounds of their own voices preferable to reasoned and considered thought.
Buy this book, be inspired and be moved.
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Format: Paperback
Once I started to read this book I quite literally couldn't put it down. Slavomir's inhuman treatment in Russian prisons after his arrest was quite graphic. The 3-week rail journey taken by the prisoners to Eastern Siberia in the depths of winter with almost no food or water meant that older or weaker men died quickly in the icy cold box-cars. Those who survived that ordeal then had to walk 1000 miles to their camp in the far north. The story really begins with the escape-an adventure of truly epic proportions follows as they journey to India some 4000 miles away. Always they meet with people who have little themselves but are willing to share their homes and their food with the strangers. Several of them die on the journey. The crossing of the Gobi Desert made me wonder how they could possibly survive for 12 days without water in that environment. The encounter with yeti in the Himalayas caused me to question how much of the story was fact and how much was fiction. But that doesn't spoil a story that will remain in readers hearts for long afterwards. Has anyone thought of turning this amazing story into a feature film?
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