Is it possible to escape from Siberia? In The Long Walk, author Slavomir Rawicz tells his story of an amazing escape from some of the most unforgiving land on earth where he was held as a political prisoner.
In 1938 Slavomir Rawicz went on leave from his position in the Polish cavalry, returning to his home on the Russian border. The Soviet army discovered him there and arrested him under suspicion of spying against them for the Germans, during his mock trial Slav hears the word that sealed the fate of hundreds before him…Siberia.
However, Rawicz could not admit defeat and finally convinced six other men to join him in what many though to be a suicidal escape from the Siberian camp. Their goal: to walk 4,000 miles from Siberia to British India through the Himalayas and the Gobi Desert.
Obviously, Rawicz lived to tell the tale and write his autobiography, The Long Walk; what is not so obvious is how he managed to do it. In his own words, he recounts every painstaking and death-defying step of the way in his book. Many have offered conjecture on whether the events told in The Long Walk are real, or just a spectacular work of fiction. From a reader’s standpoint, I can say I don’t really care if it’s real or not because the book itself is a real treat to read.
In my opinion, if Rawicz did not really make the trek he describes then he should go down in history as one of the literary greats; because in my opinion the story is told in such a complete, detailed way that a person would pretty much have to be there to match it. I am especially impressed by the style of the writing; not only does the story move along with unfaltering pace, but even the structure of each sentence seems to be illustrating the endless walking these men endured.
As the narrator of The Long Walk, John Lee takes the precise sentence structure to heart as the slow cadence of his voice further illustrates the idea of walking for thousands of miles even as the story itself fills in the details, making this audio book a must-listen.