Slavomir Rawicz was a young Polish cavalry officer. On 19 November 1939 he was arrested by the Russians and after brutal interrogation he was sentenced to twenty-five years in a gulag. After a three-month journey in the dead of winter to Siberia, life in a Soviet labor camp meant enduring hunger, extreme cold, untreated wounds and illnesses and facing the daily risk of arbitrary execution. Realizing that to remain meant almost certain death, Rawicz, along with six companions, escaped. In June 1941, they crossed the trans-Siberian railway and headed south, climbing into Tibet and freedom in British India nine months later, in March 1942, having travelled over four thousand miles on foot through some of the harshest regions in the world, including the Gobi Desert, Tibet and the Himalayas.