Every Christian should read this autobiography. It will help you understand what you might expect and how you should react in future persecutions, which might come from the populace (as Hollywood and the media stirs public hatred against Christians, especially Catholics), expansionist totalitarian regimes (now that they have found easy access to so many of our military secrets), or militant religious fundamentalists (as they are in Africa and Malaysia).
Fr. Ciszek is being investigated for possible canonization. He would be a saint along the lines of St. Peter, rather than along the lines of St. Therese of Lisieux. He volunteered for service in Stalinist Russia. He had always wanted to do the will of God, until he was severely challenged by repeated interrogations in prison in Stalinist Russia. His realization of his weakness was the turning point in his life, much as St. Peter's was after he denied Christ.
What we learn from this book is that we should accept and rely on God's will, with our eye on the ultimate goal (union with God), even in our seemingly insignificant daily activities. Now that you know what you would learn, you may decide that you need not read the book. Don't be deceived. You will not learn the lesson from reading that one sentence but rather by reading Fr. Ciszek's own account of his failings, his humility, and his reaction to adverse conditions in prison and out. His experiences, and his insight into his behavior, will burn the lesson into your brain. We all experience the same challenges and frustrations, albeit to a lesser intensity. For example, we are all sometimes placed with people who are obnoxious and overbearing, but not to the intensity of Communist prison guards. You can see how Father turns such circumstances into an opportunity to accede to God's will.
Father will teach you much about life. He will convince you that people can become so imbued with sin that they feel that society owes them something, thereby justifying their actions against society. He will also show that all work, even forced labor, is ennobling; that suffering is good; and that elaborate surroundings are not necessary for a devout Mass. He will show you that keeping people busy is effective in keeping them from a spiritual life - a lesson we might apply to ourselves or to our media-swamped teenagers. He also shows that the atheistic Communists were able to devise an effective moral code by brainwashing everyone, from childhood onward, to believe that living for others is what is good. Their moral code was not far from the mark, being the second great commandment. If they had included the first, reason rather than brainwashing could have been used.
With this book, you will humbly see your human weakness in the awesome sight of God.
Fr. Walter Ciszek's story of 23 years in Siberian prisons seems at first as if it will be a dismal tale.
Rather, Fr. Ciszek embraces his time in prison as God's will. His utter reliance on prayer and on God are truly inspiring.
Each chapter is not only moving, but provides the reader with a different lesson in faith. This book is powerful reading. You will not be disappointed.