Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Long Walk or a Big Fib?

Off on our hols. As we fly from freezing Beijing to hot Bangkok, so I'm reading a book by an ex-Polish soldier, Slavomir Rawicz, about an incredible journey by a group of escaped prisoners from a Siberian gulag in 1941. They walked through the feeezing tigra, across Mongolia, into the Gobi desert where two of them died, across north-western China and into Tibet, where two more died, and finally over the Himalayas to India.
It's a harrowing tale and ends very abruptly. I wanted to find out what happened to him and the four other survivors in the intervening years but apart from a brief blurb that Rawicz moved to England, there's no real postscript. A quick google revealed that his story is extremely suspect. One source says that he was actually released by the Soviets in 1942; another says that the story is true but that it was about someone else. You'd think that, in this day and age, proof could be found to determine the truth, but it seems not. In any event, I also found out that Peter Weir made a film about it called The Way Back, in 2010. All in all, a rather disappointing conclusion to what otherwise was a cracking tale.   

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