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Breakaway: From Behind the Iron Curtain to the NHL--The Untold Story of Hockey's Great Escapes Hardcover – Aug 7 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (Aug. 7 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118095006
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118095003
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.5 x 25 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #163,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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By Brian Maitland TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 29 2013
Format: Hardcover
Simply an outstanding sports book let alone hockey. The author takes you behind the scenes to all the international intrigue, danger, joy and tears of the defection of hockey players from the former Eastern Bloc nations of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union.

The author won me over immediately by starting with the Czech star Vacalav Nedomansky's defection. Because the NHL so dominates hockey I'm glad the author did not forget the late great WHA and the Toronto Toros to whom Nedomansky played on.

His tale was the first but certainly not the most compelling. I found Michal Pivonka and Statsny brothers' harrowing adventures most enthralling. Peter and Anton Stastny and their families really had quite the escape. It was like something out of those John Le Carre spy novels.

This book also helps explains why it wasn't just culture shock that fueled the ups and downs of some of these players' NHL or WHA careers. There was the horrible situation family members left behind faced such as loss of jobs, constant surveillance, etc. There was the loneliness of it all in Petr Klima's case as he turned to drink before straightened out his career. The sheer fear for his life (unfounded in the end) in Pivonka's voice as his team Washington Capitals went on a pre-season tour of games in the Soviet Union is very very real.

Plus after reading this you'll gain much more respect for what these players went through even the ones like Slava Fetisov and the rest of the vaunted Green Unit (Igor Larionov, Vladimir Krutov, Alexander Kasatonov, Sergei Makarov) of the Central Red Army and USSR national team who "legally" transferred to the NHL.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great read Oct. 25 2013
By Rebecca - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a great read, I enjoyed it from cover to cover. The author did a fantastic job of telling the amazing stories of Eastern Bloc hockey players making the sometimes dangerous escape to freedom and the NHL. As a relatively new hockey fan it gave me a great appreciation for these players and this period of hockey history. I highly recommend this book for any hockey fan.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A interesting topic worth writing about Jan. 28 2013
By R. Hetrick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had heard about this book when the author was on NHL radio and started looking for it immediately. For hockey fans, or fans of the history of hockey, I would highly recommend this. The author is clearly a fan of hockey first and shares the statistical side of things as part of the overall story. For me, that is a plus, however, I could see a non-hockey fan struggling through the parts where detailed parts of seasons seem to bog the stories down. Reading this book in some ways brings back a part of life that I never liked which was the uncomfortable stand-off the U.S. had with the former Soviet regime that existed during my childhood. But, seeing things from the other side is worth every bit of the unease.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding Nov. 9 2012
By J. Hirsch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Simply put this is the best non-fiction book sports books I've read in a very long time. For me most sports books are like frozen pizza, mildly enjoyable when your going throught it and then completely forgotten about 5 minutes later. Breakaway is a book that will stay with you. And for young people who also assumed players like Malkin, Ovechkin and Chara were always here it gives great historical perspective.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
great historical hockey read Feb. 16 2013
By jers43 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed the stories of the eastern bloc players hoping to get out. The book combines the greatest sport and one of the darkest periods in our history. It was very well written and I would suggest it to anyone interested in the history of Ice hockey or Czechoslovakia.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Really paints a great picture of what some players went through Dec 24 2012
By Dan C - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am huge NHL fan who was very interested in what some of these players faced. It went even deeper than I had hoped. It was very interesting, especially with the cloak and dagger scenarios that occurred.

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