The Long Walk By: Slavomir Rawicz

Essay by JMunnHigh School, 11th gradeA+, December 2008

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Jon Munn

Per. 3, English 11


The Long Walk

By: Slavomir Rawicz

The book The Long Walk is a truly heartbreaking journey of seven desperate individuals trying to make home free from a prisoner camp north of Moscow. The story begins with a twenty-five year old Polish officer named Slavomir Rawicz in a POW camp telling his cell life. He tells of torturing and making people confess to things they did not do was a frequent thing in the Lubyanka Prison. Rawicz is forced to sign a document stating that he is a Polish spy plotting against the motherland of Russia (USSR at the time). His sentence to the "confession" is twenty-five years minimum to serve as a slave for Camp 303 located south of Yakutsk, Siberia. The long trek there took two weeks by train and fifty days by foot through the snow bearing lands. Frostbite and death were common among the prisoners.

When Slavomir reaches the camp, he plans to escape with the help of the commissar and the commissar's wife. He plans to escape with six other people with only a week's stock of bread. Eventually, after some careful planning, seven men escape including Slavomir and cross the Lena River on towards northern Mongolia. When they arrive, the Mongols help them on their journey by giving them food and water. As they leave Mongolia, they decide to head south towards northern China and the Gobi Desert. Their walk through the Gobi desert was one that only few could survive. A man of the party dies along with a teenage woman from a labor camp that they met on their way. The five escapees, survived with only an axe, a knife and the willpower of their minds. They soon realize that snakes are edible in the desert...