Author(s): Rawicz, Slavomir,
Date of Publication: 26/04/2007,
Pagination: 256 pages, maps,
Series: 20th Century Architects,
Imprint: Robinson Publishing,
Published By: Constable and Robinson,
Book Classification: Autobiography: historical political & military, European history, Second World War
'I hope The Long Walk will remain as a memorial to all those who live and die for freedom, and for all those who for many reasons could not speak for themselves' - Slavomir Rawicz
Slavomir Rawicz was a young Polish cavalry officer. On 19 November 1939 he was arrested by the Russians and after brutal interrogation he was sentenced to twenty-five years in a gulag. After a three-month journey in the dead of winter to Siberia, life in a Soviet labour camp meant enduring hunger, extreme cold, untreated wounds and illnesses and facing the daily risk of arbitrary execution.
Realising that to remain meant almost certain death, Rawicz, along with six companions, escaped. In June 1941, they crossed the trans-Siberian railway and headed south, climbing into Tibet and freedom in British India nine months later, in March 1942, having travelled over four thousand miles on foot through some of the harshest regions in the world, including the Gobi Desert, Tibet and the Himalayas. First published in 1956, this is one of the greatest true stories of escape, adventure and survival against all odds.
In 2010, a film, The Way Back, based on the book, directed by six-time Academy Award-nominee Peter Weir (Master and Commander, The Truman Show, and The Dead Poets Society) was released. It starred Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess and Ed Harris.