This is a phenomenal story about the escape of a German POW from a Soviet labor camp on the Bering Straight and his journey overland to Iran and freedom. Taking place in 1949-1951, Josef Bauer tells the story of an anonymous German POW from World War II who was sentenced to a 25 year term of hard labor in a lead mine in the very far corner of the Soviet empire. His escape and his encounters with nature and humans make for a wonderful, page-turning thriller.
The weak part of this work is the ending. Eighty per cent of the book sets up the escape and traces the journey across about one-third of Siberia. The last twenty per cent of the book takes the subject across two-thirds of Siberia and into Iran, thus giving a very superficial account of this part of the journey.
Reading between the lines, Bauer appears to have had a difficult time securing the cooperation of the subject of this story and his name is not given. It appears that while the subject may have cooperated with Bauer initially, the cooperation ceased and the story was brought to an abrupt conclusion. If this is true, the accuracy of the story can then be questioned and the anonymity of the central character does nothing to instill confidence in the reader that these events happened in the way that they are portrayed.
Even with these problems, however, the book is worth a read for its entertainment value alone.