• The Endless Steppe

  • Growing Up in Siberia
  • By: Esther Hautzig
  • Narrated by: Alyssa Bresnahan
  • Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (236 ratings)

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The Endless Steppe  By  cover art

The Endless Steppe

By: Esther Hautzig
Narrated by: Alyssa Bresnahan
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Publisher's Summary

Poland, 1940. The Russian army invades the beautiful city streets of Vilna. Soldiers storm 10-year-old Esther Rudomin's house and arrest her entire family. The Rudomins, the soldiers say, are "capitalists - enemies of the people".

Forced from their home and friends, the Rudomins are herded onto crowded cattle cars. Their destination: the endless steppe of Siberia. For five years, Esther and her family live in exile, weeding potato fields and working in mines, fighting against all odds to stay alive. It is not an easy life. But through it all, Esther sustains the hope that one day she will return to Poland - and to freedom.

A National Book Award finalist, The Endless Steppe is the true story of Esther Rudomin Hautzig's girlhood in World War II Siberia. For over 25 years, this extraordinary book has touched the hearts of young people around the world with its vivid portrayal of life during World War II and its inspiring testament to the power of hope in the harshest conditions.

©1968 Esther Hautzig (P)1995 Recorded Books

Editor's Pick

A child’s exile to Siberia. Life is still beautiful.
"How much do I love this classic memoir that feels like a novel? I-burst-into-tears-when-I-met-the-writer-as-an-adult much. (Side note: that’s not usually how I roll. At all.) While I was glued to the twists and turns of Esther’s life from ages 10–16, I also learned so much about the European Jewish experience in WWII. If there’s ever a happy ending from that scenario, Esther’s bittersweet story nails it. Children and adults can appreciate this unpauseable audio."
Christina H., Audible Editor

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What listeners say about The Endless Steppe

Average Customer Ratings
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  • B
  • 02-10-12

Not just a children's book! A+TRUE story&narrative

If you could sum up The Endless Steppe in three words, what would they be?

Inspirational, poignant, enthralling

What did you like best about this story?

A story for the ages, based on the author's true
deportation to Siberia, from her beloved Polish
multigenerational house and garden. The Nazi invasion and occcupation of Poland, and evacuation of the Jewish people, is seen through
the eyes of a bright, articulate,

Any additional comments?

Not too graphic, essential text. I preferred this Award winning book over

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love true stories overcoming incredible hardships

What made the experience of listening to The Endless Steppe the most enjoyable?

Well written-fabulously interesting- warm characters and loved the speaker

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ester

Which scene was your favorite?

Description of Siberia as it was
Understanding the ominous beauty and silence of the Steppe

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A tragic blessing

Any additional comments?

Wonderful story full of heart and reality

2 people found this helpful

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  • TR
  • 12-15-19

Chapters are not correct

Chapter 7 from list states chapter 10. It is very difficult to find the actual beginning of chapters. Deleted and redownloaded but it did not correct the problem.

1 person found this helpful

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Immediately Engaging

I was engaged, with this true story, from the first paragraph to the last. I've seen The Endless Steppe described as a "children's book", but I'm 63 and I loved it!

1 person found this helpful

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Love it!

I really enjoyed this book. The narrator did a good job reading it. Most of all though I love the story. I've read several world war II books and this is one of the best I've found for the 10yo to teen age group. I also found it enjoyable as an adult. The story was well-written and engaging. It shows someone making the best of a difficult situation. Also while it deals with difficult subjects head on it it does it in a way that a child who might be overwhelmed by the horrors of war can take what they're able to understand and not have to confront things they're not ready to deal with yet. I also liked that it told the story of exile to Siberia which is a narrative not often seen in books for younger audiences.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story, narrator is hit and miss

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Being that this is a true story, no, I wouldn't change anything about it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Endless Steppe?

One of the most striking moments of the novel occurs when Esther returns to Poland after the war ends and learns about almost all of her family having died due to the Holocaust.

What three words best describe Alyssa Bresnahan’s performance?

Slow, stale, stagnant.

Any additional comments?

The emotion lies hiding underneath the narrator's voice, but I do not feel her tone or pace change with the emotions of the book. Bresnahan could do more to differentiate character voices; all the males sound the same, and there is little to distinguish Mother from Esther when they have conversations. Her ability to pronounce the foreign words is quite helpful.

1 person found this helpful

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Book That Buffers

Would you try another book from Esther Hautzig and/or Alyssa Bresnahan?

sure

Who was your favorite character and why?

esther

What didn’t you like about Alyssa Bresnahan’s performance?

it was a little slow

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

i loved the book

Any additional comments?

The ability to listen to the audio book is very limited at times. I have had to read aloud several days, because the system continues to experience "Buffering" for a major part of the school day.

1 person found this helpful

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Ezcellent

Excellent book! My whole family was hanging on every word. From the 17 year old to the 6 ye old. Amazing story of the human spirit through the life of a young girl during Ww11. Beautifully read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cw
  • 02-11-22

Loved it when I read it in the 5th grade

...Equally loved this story when I read it again 50 years later. I enjoyed following up on her life through a search..

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Amazing True story

This book should be required reading in every middle/high school. Her story is told in such a real and beautiful manner; conveying a typical child’s(and then teen’s), confusion, angst, sadness, joy, happiness etc and her relationships with others in her world. As we modern people (especially Americans) forget how it is to live under oppression and threats of constant death, it would be wise to have the next generation be familiar with the Endless Steppe.

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  • darren gapp
  • 11-30-18

Timeless !

Read 1st in early 70's at school although now a different perspective through adult eyes