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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Shallow Graves in Siberia
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 22 June 2012
I thought this book would be bigger since the author was supposed to have escaped through Afghanistan. I read it because I bought it but it was a struggle. It appeared to be a work of fiction, and nothing like as interesting as "As far as my feet will carry me". I hardly believe a word of it. It's going to a charity book sale with a warning - not to be taken seriously.

Merv Plummer in Brussels.
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on 3 September 2012
//This true story details the journey of Michael Krupa. Captured by the Soviets and accused of being a German spy he is tortured and sentenced to a term in the notorious Russian Gulags. Whilst there he acquires a prestigious and trusted job as a Telephone repair man, a job that allows him weeks of travel unescorted, he soon begins to think of escape.

We follow his trek fromSiberia to safety in Afghanistan.

In the novel there are some graphic details of torture (including a woman interogator who removes tesicles with a poker), and many touching moments (such as the help given by strangers, in particular a couple who's son has also gone missing into the Gulags).

I really enjoyed this book, the only reason I gave it 4 stars was that a number of reviews have questioned the integrity of the authors story. I don't know if it is all true, but I would certainly like to think so.

22/9/13 - I have received a comment on here from the Authors daughter, and this made me want to reread the book again. Having done so, I have now altered the rating to 5 stars. And would urge everyone to try the book and be amazed at the adventures. :)
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on 13 August 2011
We can all be thankful to Solzhenitsyn for his seminal work detailing the realities of the Gulag, and especially in naming the monsters who created this system. Despite an unending barrage of tear-jerking propaganda about the alleged evil of the Nazis, there is still relatively little work about the truly monstrous Soviet system. This system was responsible for the deaths of countless millions of innocents who mostly died slowly in utter misery. It was a system which was designed to kill them in this way and at the same time produce a profit. One is struck by how mild the German occupation of Poland was in 1939 in comparison to that of the Soviet occupation in the east of the country. The vast majority of Polish officers captured by the Germans survived the war while the vast majority of Polish officers captured by the Soviets were murdered. In the chaos of the war the author lost contact with his family. Like most Poles he was unaware of the nature of the Soviet system and crossed from German territory to the communist side in search of them and was swallowed by the voracious monster. Through luck, intelligence and will power he survived the worst system in history ever devised and made his escape. Before blaming them one should understand that by 1939 the Russian people had experienced a reign of terror for twenty years unlike any in history. Only the worst types thrived in that environment, as described in Krupa's trials in Lubyanka and the slave camp. Krupa relates how he was helped even then by ordinary Russians at great risk to themselves. I will not describe the details of his escape to Afghanistan except to say that it gives an interesting insight to life in the Soviet Union at that time that we rarely hear about in the west. The book is well edited and reads almost like a novel. It is an inspiring tale of how the human spirit can sometimes prevail over the most appalling conditions.
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on 16 December 2013
What a story! Life writes the scenarios that we do not even dream of. Mr. Michał was not the only one who survived the tragedy of war, but he was one of the "few" who wanted to talk about it. Sometimes these experiences was easier to hold in themselves, because they were so terrible and returning to them so painful that man prefers to hide them as deeply in themself as possible. About the book, you may think that this is pure fiction, but I know that it is true that Mr. Michał is a survivor. How I know this, because I saw the trace of a bullet in his neck … I had the incredible pleasure of meeting Mr. Michał three years ago and sit on a chair in his living room and listen with bated breath to his story ... A tear in the eye turns as you hear these stories and you can only come to the conclusion how lucky we are to be alive here and now. You have to appreciate and ask that such stories will NEVER happen again.

Michael Krupa died on 6th October 2013 aged 98

Niech spoczywa w spokoju.

Polakowi Polka
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on 16 November 2011
A gripping tale, made all the more poignant and shocking since it is all true. Similar to tales of the holocaust, Michael Krupa's book should be read by anyone wanting an insight into the realities of dispair and the dehumanisation techniques of a regime (here the Soviet Stalinist one) that cares only for its own order, power and prowess. This is how low some humans can stoop to given the right combination of tools and appointed dictators bent solely on absolute power at all costs. Shallow Graves is also a very uplifting book showing how the human spirit can survive the hardest of situations and conditions and the lengths one will go to obtain freedom. Krupa does an excellent job of keeping us hooked to the very last page. The prose are uncluttered, clear and 'to the point' which makes the account of his escape to freedom all the more powerful and moving. Indeed the last half of the book reads like a virtual thriller. I found this book a superb read, and an important and moving account that I didn't want to end, and one that will stay with me for the rest of me life.
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on 1 May 2012
If you haven't read similar books you may enjoy this one. I found it boring as it is no different to lots of others of a similar elk, apart from the fact that I found I simply did not believe some of the things which (so say) happened.
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on 20 June 2014
What a story this man has to tell. Torn from his home and family during the war and subjected to incredible hardship in Russia. The chances of him surviving at every turn were close to zero but with his own common sense and miraculous luck he survived to live a long life and have a family in England. I hope he was not haunted too much by all his near-misses. An exciting book.
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on 12 February 2018
Thought provoking, but extremely readable. Gives a great sense of perspective on the Soviet gulags, whilst leaving you with an uplifting sense of hope.
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on 10 August 2015
Gripping. Could not put down. Fast moving. Really gets into how the person felt in those most inhumane of situations. Shows how hope and determination wins through. Puts a lot of things into perspective for us all. Problems? Do we have them? Surely not in light of the suffering these people experienced.
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on 5 April 2017
Wonderfully written account of a harrowing journey. A testament to spirit and will of the author. Couldn't put it down!
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