Saturday, January 04, 2014

Review- Four Miles To Freedom: Escape From A Pakistani POW Camp by Faith Johnston

Goodreads Summary: 

When Flight Lieutenant Dilip Parulkar was shot down over Pakistan on 10 December 1971, he quickly turned that catastrophe into the greatest adventure of his life. On 13 August 1972 Parulkar, along with Malvinder Singh Grewal and Harish Sinhji escaped from a POW camp in Rawalpindi. Four Miles To Freedom is their story.

Based on interviews with eight Indian fighter pilots who helped prepare the escape and two who escaped, as well as research into other sources, Four Miles is also the moving, sometimes amusing, account of how twelve fighter pilots from different ranks and backgrounds coped with deprivation, forced intimacy, and the pervasive uncertainty of a year in captivity, and how they came together to support Parulkar's courageous escape.


*NOTE: We (The Readdicts) received a copy of Four Miles To Freedom: Escape From A Pakistani POW Camp by Faith Johnston from Random House India in exchange for an honest review. We thank the publishing house for book! 

Four Miles To Freedom: Escape From A Pakistani POW Camp is a tale set in the backdrop of the 1971 war between India and Pakistan which ultimately led to the creation and recognition of the independent country of Bangladesh. While the entire political situation is something I have studied and know very well, what I wasn't aware of was the battle both Indian and Pakistani soldiers had to face while being held as prisoners of war in the opposition camp. 

Four Miles To Freedom is the tale of a bunch of Indian army men who, while being stuck as prisoners of war in Pakistan, decide to make an escape plan to get back to their country. The reason I call the book a tale is because it is a piece of work put together by author 
Faith Johnston after having interviewed army men who were actually soldiers in the 1971 war and some of them even fought the 1965 India- Pakistan war. For a non-fiction read, this tale is very well executed and quite gripping, for which the retelling of a brave and courageous act of the soldiers and the brilliant execution of it by the author deserve credit. 

While there have been and still are many books depicting the army lifestyle in general, Four Miles To Freedom took a fresh and new turn by focusing on the duties and work of army men rather than their way of life. What adds even more to the reality of an already real tale is the use of illustrations for geographical representations made by the soldiers, the sharing of letters exchanged between them and their loved ones and a set of absolutely lovely black and white photos that are showcased as well. 

Four Miles To Freedom wasn't as moving a tale as I would have liked it to be or even expected it to be, but it was still a great piece of work put together. Even though I did not like the book as much as I would have loved to like it, I still liked reading the tale as it was put down brilliantly. 



  1. While this war and historical aspect you're familiar with, I cannot say I know much about it. I'm not big on war stories because they bring some bad memories but this one sounds like something that makes you see the reality. Sorry you didn't love it, but glad you enjoyed it. Great review, Sarika :)

    1. Yes, this one was a real story and it was pretty good. Thank you, Tanja!

  2. There are many untold tales of 65 or 71 war, which are better untold. I've had the displeasure of witnessing some firsthand since I was actively involved in both wars. Heroics, in general, are blown out of proportion, and failures invariably camouflaged for posterity. I haven't read this book, but an escape from a Pakistani prison should've interested you more. I do, however, appreciate an honest opinion. I for one would never like a false applause, though I have given a few not to hurt fellow writers.


Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time out to share your thoughts with us. We really appreciate it!