“BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE 20TH CENTURY” —TimeVolume 1 of the gripping epic masterpiece, Solzhenitsyn’s chilling report of his arrest and interrogation, which exposed to the world the vast bureaucracy of secret police that haunted Soviet society. Features a new foreword by Anne Applebaum.“The greatest and most powerful single indictment of a political regime ever leveled in modern times.” —George F. Kennan“It is impossible to name a book that had a greater effect on the political and moral consciousness of the late twentieth century.” —David Remnick, The New Yorker“Solzhenitsyn’s masterpiece. … The Gulag Archipelago helped create the world we live in today.” —Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag: A History, from the foreword
Deliver to China
August 7, 2007
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“Best Nonfiction Book of the Twentieth Century” (Time magazine)“The greatest and most powerful single indictment of a political regime ever leveled in modern times.” (George F. Kennan)“It is impossible to name a book that had a greater effect on the political and moral consciousness of the late twentieth century.” (David Remnick, The New Yorker)“Solzhenitsyn’s masterpiece. … The Gulag Archipelago helped create the world we live in today.” (Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag: A History, from the foreword) From the Back Cover Volume 1 of the gripping epic masterpiece, Solzhenitsyn’s chilling report of his arrest and interrogation, which exposed to the world the vast bureaucracy of secret police that haunted Soviet society 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. Read more <div id="
I was brought here by Jordan Peterson and am embarrassed to say I hadn’t heard about these volumes of work before. Shockingly (or maybe not so shockingly) the education system failed to mention this, even though I was in private school. That being said, I’ve felt the need since around March to delve deeper into what we are looking at in the USA – defined by what can only be called a hybrid mix of cultural marxism, communism, post-modernism, and Maoism. It is my belief that we are facing an existential threat to our country.This book is a horrifying and haunting tale of what could be on deck if Americans don’t stand up now. I encourage anyone to read it just to get a small taste of what went on in the Soviet Union, and to understand truly what communism is and what it does/has done to people, but I think it is especially pertinent to the USA as we face down a pseudo maoist cultural revolution that China saw in the 1960s. Between this and the words of the infamous KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov, I would say the USA is well into the second ‘destabilization’ phase and has even entered into the third phase of ‘crisis.’ I truly would advise people to read these books as a warning, and to take Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s words seriously as we face the rest of 2020 and beyond:”I would like to call upon America to be more careful with its trust and prevent those wise persons who are attempting to establish even finer degrees of justice and even finer legal shades of equality – some because of their distorted outlook, others because of short-sightedness and still others out of self-interest – from falsely using the struggle for peace and for social justice to lead you down a false road. Because they are trying to weaken you; they are trying to disarm your strong and magnificent country in the face of this fearful threat – one which has never been seen before in the history of the world.”
I have not finished this book but saw a review that said there were no author’s notes in this version of The Gulag Archipelago.This is not true. This version, the red-covered Volume 1 of the Gulag Archipelago DOES have authors notes, and lots of them. However, the abridged version which is by the same publisher and has a similar cover to this book, does not have author’s notes obviously. Just clearing up this confusion. This Volume 1 does have the original author’s notes.
A must-read for those of us raised in comfort. A reminder that life needn’t be (and through most of human history, wasn’t) so comfortable. It is a reminder of the dangers posed by Authoritarianism, and a lesson that “evil” is not “out there” somewhere, lurking in a foreign land, but swirling amidst the “good” in the heart of every man. The vagaries of fate and disposition can leave any man as either executor or executed… or both at different times.A few quotes:”If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn’t change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil. Socrates taught us: Know thyself! Confronted by the pit into which we are about to toss those who have done us harm, we halt, stricken dumb: it is after all only because of the way things worked out that they were the executioners and we weren’t.”“Ideology—that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors. That was how the agents of the Inquisition fortified their wills: by invoking Christianity; the conquerors of foreign lands, by extolling the grandeur of their Motherland; the colonizers, by civilization; the Nazis, by race; and the Jacobins (early and late), by equality, brotherhood, and the happiness of future generations. Thanks to ideology, the twentieth century was fated to experience evildoing on a scale calculated in the millions. This cannot be denied, nor passed over, nor suppressed.”“There is a simple truth which one can learn only through suffering: in war not victories are blessed but defeats. Governments need victories and the people need defeats. Victory gives rise to the desire for more victories. But after a defeat it is freedom that men desire—and usually attain. A people needs defeat just as an individual needs suffering and misfortune: they compel the deepening of the inner life and generate a spiritual upsurge.”
Read this book. It is one of the most powerful things ever written. It acts as a history of Soviet Russia, and a insightful depiction of Soviet the process of arrest in Soviet Russia. This Volume of The Gulag Archipelago covers the process of Arrest, the Corrupt courts, the various statutes under which people were charged as well as many stories about people within the Soviet system. Their triumphs and their depravities.Solzhenitsyn calls the book “An Experiment in Literary Investigation”, and there really isn’t a better way to refer to it. Due to the lack of available documentation Solzhenitsyn was forced to piece all of this information together from official soviet propaganda, books which had been banned that he was able to get his hands on, and the personal account of many, many people.The second aspect of the book, and perhaps the more powerful one is the Book’s analysis of the nature of humanity. IT is difficult to summarize this aspect, but the ideas contained herein deserve consideration.Please read this book, if you read it seriously it may give you insights into human nature that you need.
Tried to read this on the recommendation of Jordan Peterson but it was too heavy a read. Make sure you’re definitely interested in this genre of books or era of history before buying.
Where to start? The expose of the millennium, which lays bare the brutality of the USSR. A window into the human soul – our ability to twist and contort our morality to do the most heinous acts, but how, in rare cases, people do not lose their sense of morality even as the system they live in crushes them.You will be left in no doubt about the failures of utopian visions, how rhetoric and lofty ideals come to mask what is simply evil, the moral bankruptcy of socialism.
an important read for everyone to know what happened in soviet russia and a warning of what comes with communi9sm
If you’re prone to retching on hearing stories of gruel being served up in washbasins, human corpses being shoved under beds, prisoners eating the remains of a dead horse and 80 prisoners crammed into a transit train being left to wet themselves because visits to the toilet took too long to supervise, THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO is not for you. But if your stomach can stand such tales, and many far worse, the book is quite simply a masterpiece. Written in the spirit of the Star Trekkers, its Nobel Prize-winning author boldly going, like Captain Kirk and his crew, where no man had gone before, it was the first-ever true exposé of the brutality that occurred in the Stalin-era labour camps, or GULAGs as they were known. Predictably its publication in the West resulted in serious consequences for Solzhenitsyn – he was deported to the USA in 1974 – but thank God it was published.I first became acquainted with Solzhenitsyn’s writings whilst a pupil at a well-regarded grammar school in the Home Counties in the 1970s. My third-year class studied ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH, which documents a typical day in the life of a prisoner in the “special” camps in which Solzhenitsyn served eight years as an “Article 58er” (basically an anti-Soviet agitator). It interested me sufficiently follow it up with GULAG, to which IVAN DENISOVICH is effectively a prequel. So I purchased a copy in Foyles Bookshop back in late 1976 and read it over the subsequent six months. It really does make IVAN DENISOVICH seem rather tame. Unfortunately, I gave the book away some years after reading it, but the invention of e-books and my recent retirement gave me the money and time to purchase it and re-read it.What struck me in the ‘70s, and now, were the similarities between the attitudes and mindsets of the GULAGs and those which I encountered daily at my school. Was this surprising? Not really, when you consider that many of the parents and teachers of the time had served in prisoner of war camps, albeit more likely German rather than Russian ones. Let’s look at just two examples. The main weapon of torture against GULAG prisoners was the cold. Prisoners working in mine shafts had to strip naked, have cold water poured over them and run naked to their compound. This evokes memories of the compulsory showers that pupils had to endure after compulsory games three days a week, even in midwinter. Not only was the water freezing, the teachers would walk round the changing rooms, obviously “checking out” the naked teenage bodies of their pupils. In Stalinist Russia, the state was always right and its subjects always wrong. Every complaint ever made to a camp chief was somehow proven wrong. This sounds like a parallel to my school experience, where a succession of complaints about sex abuse by a “Jimmy Saville” teacher were dismissed for alleged “lack of evidence” even though they had been well documented with dates and times. The offender was caught, pleaded guilty and jailed – 20 years later. Sexual abuse of women prisoners was commonplace in GULAGs ; many women got favourable treatment in return for granting sexual favours to male guards.The GULAG experience stayed in prisoners’ minds for many years afterwards. Solzhenitsyn deserves kudos for recognising that the human defence mechanism does not allow such experiences to be forgotten. In Volume 3, he appeals to fellow writers not to write that people discharged from camps have forgotten it all and are happy. Absolutely true, and a parallel to some of my unfortunate classmates who were on anti-depressants for a long time after leaving the school,With free speech now under serious threat from moral totalitarianism, GULAG is actually more relevant now than it has ever been. In Volume 1, Solzhenitsyn recalls a case of a university lecturer losing his job for quoting Lenin, but not Stalin, in a lecture. The parallels with what is happening now, with academics losing their jobs and receiving death threats for questioning the wisdom of gender self-identification, and stating the biologically provable fact that only women can get pregnant, are alarming. A central message of GULAG is that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. Now, it would seem, is a good time to reiterate that message and read this book, to which I award five well-deserved stars.
This one is going on my list of “books everyone should read”. The extent to which Stalin’s regime subjugated his people is unbelievable.
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