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Posted March 14, 2007
a testimony for humanity
This massive, eloquent, searing account of life under one of the worst tyrannies of all time just might be the gretest book ever written by a single individual. Though it is long and includes accounts of horrifying cruelty and suffering, The GULAG Archipelago is easy to read. That is because of the clear, incisive writing style of the author. All of us lucky enough to live in the free world owe Alexander Solzhenitsyn an immense debt of gratitude for revealing the truth about the Soviet dictators. One way to pay some of that debt is to read this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 15, 2005
A voyage through hell
'The line between good and evil runs through the heart of every human being.' This abridged edition of Solzhenitsyn's hauntingly intimate portrait of his own arrest, interrogation, imprisonment, rebellion, and eventual release during Stalin's purges is a book like no other. This book, written by a constantly watched and persecuted dissident - bent but not broken by the brutality of Stalinist work camps, shares the author's (and his other inmates') personal experiences falling into this dark, usually fatal, abyss. Solzhenitsyn's original work was published in 1971 and produced an absolutely damning indictment of communism in Russia. Indeed, the stunning quality and importance of his writing earned him a Nobel prize. Besides his own experiences, Solzhenitsyn collected personal stories from hundreds of his fellow inmates. The sadism of interrogators, the cruelty of guards, the indifference of neighbors, the paranoia of the public, the betrayal of stoolies, and the true comradery of innocent inmates are presented in vivid, factual detail. In addition to this, the author also presents an encyclopeadic knowledge of the entirety of the gigantic Stalinist security apparatus (normal labor camps, special labor camps, transfer camps, railroad transfers, prisons, holding cells, interrogation cells, NKVD, SMERSH, commissars, exile communities, and still more). But at the heart of it all, the book remains an unforgettable journey through man-made hell. Stalin meant to destroy every man, woman, and child arrested, regardless of their innocence, and he largely succeeded. But survivors like Solzhenitsyn did truly 'tear down the wall' and made this world a far better place to live in. We all owe him a huge debt of gratitude!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 20, 2003
A Horrifying look behind the scenes in the Aftermath of the Bolshevik Rebellion
'For years, I have with reluctant heart withheld from publication this already completed book: my obligation to those still living outweighed my obligation to the . But now that State Security has siezed the book anyway, I have no alternative but to publish it immediately.' The author, Aleksander Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, wrote these immortal words about his massive book, the Gulag Archipelago. I have never been overly concerned with Russian history, but for some reason, this book drew me in, and I found myself both horrified and fascinated by what I read. I was greatly disappointed when I found that I had only the first book of his monumental saga, but perhaps it was for the best; had I realized that SEVEN different texts existed, I might have been a tad hesitant to begin. This outstanding book has whetted my appetite for comprehensive literature and opened my eyes to the absolute insanity that called itself the Soviet Party. One would have to be a complete facist or a 'true' socialist not to be absolutely repulsed by the horrors that ordinary Soviet citizens went through.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 10, 2003
The Life Under the Eye of Stalin
I have read only volume one of this three-volume memoir by Solzhenitsyn. But already I am deeply moved by his attempt to tell the world of the harsh realities of the Soviet Union under the Stalin era. From the first to the last page, he gets the reader involved as he takes the reader step-by-step on how hard life is to be in a prison camp. Even though there is not a lot of storyline put into the book, it does provide us with some history to learn so that these incidents do not repeat themselves. I recommend this book to anyone who is not afraid of learning about the evil acts by the Soviets and who do not easily get sick to their stomach.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.