rawiczI nipped this book from MB while we were in Mongolia and could not put it down. It is the true story (although many have questioned its veracity) of 6 men’s escape from a Russian prison during WWII and the long trek that took them through the outer reaches of Siberia, into Mongolia, the Gobi, Tibet, the Himalayas, and eventually into India. I had hoped that more of the book would be about Mongolia, as I was in Mongolia at the time of reading, but it was in fact more about Russia for much of the first half of the book. We start at the prison, where Rawicz was taken as a prisoner of war. He had been in the Polish cavalry and went home to visit his family who lived very near to the Russian border. After several months of torture, he is eventually transferred to a work camp, one of the harshest in Russia, where he later plots his escape.

This is the type of book I lovingly call “a boy book” because it is a story about survival and beating the odds against some of the worst conditions possible. There is very little emotional description in the book, although there are parts that will make you shed some tears. However, unlike many “boy books” I have read in the past, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Some of the old timey words in the book had me looking through the dictionary more than a few times, but otherwise this is a compelling story that you just won’t want to put down.