In May of 1940, 25,000 Polish Army officers were led into the Katyn Forest in eastern Poland by their Red Army captors and executed. Adamczyk's father was one of them. In this finely wrought memoir of loss and survival, Adamczyk tells his family's story against the backdrop of a little known chapter of WWII—the forced exile of thousands of Poles by the Soviet government in the opening weeks of the war. Adamczyk's upper-middle-class family was taken at gunpoint and sent on a harrowing 3,000-mile journey to the barren wastes of Kazakhstan. Life in Stalin's U.S.S.R. was a horror—there was little food, clothing or shelter for the downtrodden natives, let alone for the refugees flooding the area. The family survived through the sheer will and constant ingenuity of the author's mother, who guided the family in an escape from the U.S.S.R. to British-occupied Iran and, exhausted from her efforts, died. Adamczyk's language is earthy, intense and moving. In addition to the strong portraits of his family, Adamczyk fills the book with unforgettable characters from their odyssey—brutal Red Army soldiers; desperately impoverished yet generous Kazakhs; and the clean, well-dressed Americans. With this work, Adamczyk has brought illumination and honor to the families of the thousands who suffered the same terrible fate.