Synopses & Reviews
Solzhenitsyn's gripping epic masterpiece, the searing record of four decades of Soviet terror and oppression, in one abridged volume, authorized by the author
“Best Nonfiction Book of the Twentieth Century” Time magazine
Herewith the unchallenged epic of our era. A towering masterpiece of world literature, the searing record of four decades of terror and oppression, distilled into one abridged volume (authorized by the author).
Drawing on his own experiences before, during and after his eleven years of incarceration and exile, on evidence provided by more than 200 fellow prisoners, and on Soviet archives, Solzhenitsyn reveals with torrential narrative and dramatic power the entire apparatus of Soviet repression, the state within the state that once ruled all-powerfully with its creation by Lenin in 1918. Through truly Shakespearean portraits of its victims-this man, that woman, that child-we encounter the secret police operations, the labor camps and prisons, the uprooting or extermination of whole populations, the "welcome" that awaited Russian soldiers who had been German prisoners of war. Yet we also witness astounding moral courage, the incorruptibility with which the occasional individual or a few scattered groups, all defenseless, endured brutality and degradation. And Solzhenitsyn's genius has transmuted this grisly indictment into a literary miracle.
About the Author
After serving as a decorated captain in the Soviet Army during World War II, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) was sentenced to prison for eight years for criticizing Stalin and the Soviet government in private letters. Solzhenitsyn vaulted from unknown schoolteacher to internationally famous writer in 1962 with the publication of his novella One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich; he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968. The writer's increasingly vocal opposition to the regime resulted in another arrest, a charge of treason, and expulsion from the USSR in 1974, the year The Gulag Archipelago, his epic history of the Soviet prison system, first appeared in the West. For eighteen years, he and his family lived in Vermont. In 1994 he returned to Russia. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died at his home in Moscow in 2008.