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Download Donbas: A True Story of an Escape Across Russia epub

by Jacques Sandulescu

A boy becomes a man of truly heroic dimensions in this stark story of escape across Russia in the dead of winter.The Fresno Bee Riveting suspenseOnce started I could not stop, once done could not forget it. Ever.Lael Wertenbaker, The Berkshire Eagle Simply written, direct and extraordinarily movinga very old-fashioned, very personal story that, in this most negative of ages, is an unassuming statement of deep affirmation.John Leonard, The New York Times Book Review
Download Donbas: A True Story of an Escape Across Russia epub
ISBN: 0595150438
ISBN13: 978-0595150434
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: Historical
Author: Jacques Sandulescu
Language: English
Publisher: iUniverse (November 30, 2000)
Pages: 264 pages
ePUB size: 1908 kb
FB2 size: 1242 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 196
Other Formats: lrf azw rtf lrf

This was an inspiring true life tale of how one man rose above his dire circumstances. You can almost feel the coldness of the ore mines in the middle of a Russian winter, where the author was forced into slave labor. This book reminds me of Night (by Elie Wiesel). Read it--you won't be sorry!
Good read that slows down mid way and picks up again when he escapes. Great service
When I met Jacques Sandulescu, I was a pasty college kid whose idea of exertion involved a highlighter and a textbook. Jacques was twice my age, a giant, rock hard, with hands that swallowed pens whole. Romania was deep in his past, as was his career as a professional boxer; in l968, when we met, he was a Greenwich Village bar owner.

Like Big Daddy Lipscomb --- the legendary giant of a football player who used to help opponents up "so the children won't think Big Daddy's mean" --- Jacques was a calming force in every room he entered. You couldn't imagine trouble erupting with him around; he was that big and strong. And, at the same time, peaceful --- he had the kind of calm only people who have passed through fire seem to know.

It wasn't until I read his book that I understood the horror Jacques survived.

"I was arrested in Brasov on my way to school," his book begins. And right there your stomach sinks. Because you know what's coming: a terrible story, told in unadorned prose.

Well, brace yourself, you're about to be devastated.

As "Donbas" opens, Jacques is 16 years old, 6 feet 2 inches tall, 180 pounds. He's the youngest person in the box car filled with Romanians that the Russians are shipping east in January of 1945. But his youth vanishes fast when he watches guards execute some would-be escapees. On one hand, he envies their death: "no more cold, misery, hunger." On the other, he wants to live. Which means he'll have to escape.

This is a book about noticing everything, paying sharp attention, looking for an opening. His first conclusion: Don't try to escape in winter, don't think you can get out of Russia without knowing Russian.

But after a few days of working in the mines of Donbas (now considered part of the Ukraine), his thoughts turn from escape to survival. The work is wet and cold. A cave-in could come at any time. Exhaustion, exposure, hunger --- death comes in many forms here.

I have never read an account of work in a coal mine that made me so claustrophobic. I found myself reading faster, as if getting to the end of a particularly horrible shift would provide some relief. But it didn't --- above ground, there were sadistic guards and icy winds. "Many prisoners died," Jacques reports matter-of-factly. "Over half the camp. Four hundred and fifty weak and sick weren't suffering any more."

Jacques is comparatively well off. He is strong and uncomplaining, a good worker. He gets privileges --- when he goes to nearby homes for dinner, it's a delight to read as he eats and eats and eats. But he's never fooled; there's always a power-mad guard around the corner. And one does beat him so badly he almost dies. Which makes it all the more satisfying when, with the permission of a senior officer, Jacques stomps that sadist mercilessly. "It was a good feeling while it lasted," he says. I think even a pacifist would agree.

After two and a half years, his luck runs out --- Jacques is trapped in a cave-in and rescued only by a friend's heroic efforts. He fears his legs will be amputated. He must escape. His legs are running with pus, he is a mass of sores, but he slips onto a train, hides in an open coal car and begins the slow, freezing ride to the West.

Books like this have a built-in handicap --- we know the author survived. Only the best of the breed make us forget that there's a happy ending. And this is the best; reading these pages, you will feel cold and hungry, raging with fever, wet and dispirited. But mostly, you will feel Jacques Sandulescu's spirit, his unyielding insistence on life, life in free air, life at all costs. And, after you put his book down, you will, literally, take a deep breath
My husband read and loved this true story as a pre-teen and I have just read it as an adult. I feel that this is a "character building" book. All spoiled teenagers should read this. Reading ooks like these in our formative years are why my husband and I have a strong work ethic, a sense of personal responsibility and gratitude for our American abundance. There is No preaching, no morals, just a darn fine story told about kidnap, life in a forced labor coal mining camp (Oh, the horror) and escape to freedom.
I keep wondering what happend to all those fine, helpful people this guy met on his arduous journey to freedom and what ever happened to them. Very tight, clean prose that reminds me Hemingway. No hysterical whining or philosophies. Just the facts and boy do they make you think. It's something boys would like to read, but I, as a grown woman loved it. I read it yesterday cover to cover and cried, gagged and then laughed hysterically at the end.
This book was recommended to me by a friend. I knocked it out in about 5 hours of reading. I couldn't put it down. It is an autobiographical story of a young man who was forced into a Russian slave labor shortly after the end of WWII. He was 17 when he was picked up off the street on his way to school. In an odd twist of fate, his father saw him locked in his train car. Their eyes met for just a moment before the train pulled away. Although he later was able to communicate with his parents after his escape, he never saw his father again. After 2 1/2 years in a mining slave labor camp he makes a miraculous escape to freedom. It is an incredible story and would be worthwhile for teenagers to read just to come to understand the great blessings of freedom that we enjoy and that those things are worth fighting for to maintain.
I first read donbus in my sophmore year in high school. It was a 1st edition copy quite tattered and worn. I figured it looked easy enough to read to get my credit for the book report that would follow. In the week that followed, I became attached to the book. Every free moment was spent reading it. His story facinated me. I couldn't put it down. Needless to say, the book never made it back to the school library. I re-read it every year and enjoy it more and more. I contacted the author a few years ago and told him of my enjoyment of his work and how i had permanently borrowed the book. To my surprise, i recieved an autographed copy from him i treasure! This book is incredible. Read it and enjoy the story of one mans will to survive. You wont regret it!