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Customer Review

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some answers to other reviewers, 22 Jan. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom (Paperback)
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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