The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz
"In 1941, the author and six fellow prisoners escaped a Soviet labor camp in Yakutsk-a camp where hunger, cold, untended wounds, untreated illness, and daily executions were everyday fare. Their route-thousands of miles by foot-out of Siberia, through China, the Gobi Desert, Tibet, and over the Himalayas to British India endures as a statement of man's desire to be free."
If you crave adventure stories that delineate the determination and endurance of the human spirit, this book is for you. Even if you don't, this story is incredible and will blow you away with the simple reiteration of a miraculous tale. I had to keep reminding myself that it truly happened over and over again; whoever said that sometimes reality is crazier than fiction possessed a great amount of wisdom.
This tale takes you from bleak, torturous winters in the Russian wilderness where you might see reindeer, to the warm people in Mongolia, the harshness of heat in the Gobi to civilization. The people in this true story encounter trials that no human should have to face, and it's amazing to see there endurance to keep putting one foot in front of the other day after weary day.
Even though this story took place during World War II in places I have never been (except Mongolia), I felt the penetrating cold, the desperate hunger, and the deep longing to be free. This story is a testament to the persistence of humanity, and will change your view on what humans can or cannot do.
I'm not going to rate this book because it is less of a work of art than a story of several men's search for a chance to live again, and it just seems wrong to rate their life's experiences, as if I have the power to do so. However, it is well worth your time and nicely written. Recommended for 15 yr olds and up because of a few torture scenes at the beginning of the novel.
What I learned from the novel: Humans can survive unimaginable horrors and walk thousands of miles with little rest and nutrition. The Russians were particularly paranoid and savage of espionage during World War II.