I picked this book up after reading about the new film ‘The Way Back’ by Peter Weir. The period really interests me and there was the added bonus of an escapist novel in the tradition of Papillon. I was not disappointed. It is a beautifully constructed novel that is emotional and real. There is a huge debate as to whether Slavomir Rawicz stole the idea from another Polish émigré in England or was just exaggerating his own experiences. Irrespective of its shady past, the story is beautiful and the narration exceptional. Highly recommended.
I enjoyed this book, but it wasn't my favorite. The narrator is falsely convicted of espionage and sent to a Siberian gulag. This prison seems relatively lax compared to Solzhenitsyn's world. The narrator escapes along with several others, and embarks on trek south past Lake Baikal, through Mongolia, Tibet, and into West Bengal. Along the way, the party encounters the sort of hardships that you might expect on such a journey. For such a harrowing adventure, there is relatively little suspense about the outcome.
Don't expect drama or tension, pretty much a straight telling of the story, but definitely inspirational as far as the hardship, suffering and extremities human beings are capable of enduring.
Like 8 days without water in the Gobi Desert, climbing part of the Himalaya's with no climbing gear, passing Yeti's on the track, and finally finding rescue in a never-knew-exactly-where Indian military camp. Hmmmm...
This true story captivated me right from the beginning. 9.5 hrs never went so fast. You begin to empathize with the characters and I found myself with a few tears at one point. I wish there was a sequel. Will have to research what happens to Slavomir beyond this book.
First off, I enjoyed this book a great deal. It is a great adventure story, pretty well written, and narrated brilliantly by John Lee.
Now that that is out of the way, I have a few criticisms. I rarely say this, but the story isn't long enough. I say this because there are large chunks of missing story, geographically speaking. I was waiting for more detail, more accounts. I also craved a bit more of the nuts and bolts of their survival, but that probably has more to do with where my personal interests lie.
The story seemed a bit rushed at the end also, with a less than satisfying conclusion.
Then there's the Yetis. I have to say that even if it is true that they saw these unidentified creatures, it should have been omitted as it detracts from the general credibility of the story. It's too tough a sell.
Still, I enjoyed listening to this book very much and heartily recommend it. I gave it 4 stars for the mentioned flaws but it would get 5 stars based solely on entertainment value.
A riveting tale, simply told. I was even able to suspend disbelief--which wasn't always easy--up until the Yetis arrived on the scene. I understand there is real controversy over the truth of this supposedly real-life account, but it is at any rate a good story.