I SURVIVED by Godfrey Lias


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A reporter tells the first-person true story of ""Pepi"", an Austrian soldier who spent ten years shuttling about from one Soviet prison camp to another, covering territory from Finland to the Asian wastes. Except for rare instances of thumbscrew torture, Pepi's captors gave him a good life, and treated the prisoner as well as the local citizens. Pepi spent time with Russians in neighboring towns achieving intimacies to the point of love affairs. He liked the Russians and ended with two strong feelings; sympathy for individual lives constantly sacrificed to the whims of Sovietized policy, and trepidation that peoples so ill-educated and primitive be permitted to sweep across more mature civilizations. Pepi followed every trade from kitchen managing and stove-fitting to dam building, cattle-herding and logging. His is a picaresque account filled with details of life in Russia, some interesting, some a mere recital of trivia. The book has many amusing and informative moments, but it is extremely disjointed. It lacks a sense of reality as well as any emotional identification with the cold-blooded observer that Mr. Lias makes of Pepi.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1954
Publisher: John Day