e99 Online Shopping Mall

Geometry.Net - the online learning center Help  
Home  - Authors - Solzhenitsyn Alexander (Books)

  1-20 of 100 | Next 20
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  

click price to see details     click image to enlarge     click link to go to the store

1. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
2. One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich
3. The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
4. Warning to the West
6. The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
7. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
8. Solzhenitsyn: What A Pity! and
10. Stories and Prose Poems
11. Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century
12. Alexander Solzhenitsyn: from under
13. 'Lively' and Other Stories by
15. August 1914
17. We Never Make Mistakes
18. HALF-WAY TO THE MOON, New Writing
20. Alexander Solzhenitsyn's One Day

1. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Paperback: 208 Pages (2009-08-04)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$6.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451228146
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The first published novel of controversial Nobel Prize winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn- now in trade paperback.

First published in 1962, this book is considered one of the most significant works ever to emerge from Soviet Russia. Illuminating a dark chapter in Russian history, it is at once a graphic picture of work camp life and a moving tribute to man's will to prevail over relentless dehumanization, told by "a literary genius whose talent matches that of Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy, [and] Gorky" (Harrison Salisbury, New York Times).Amazon.com Review
Solzhenitsyn's first book, this economical, relentless novelis one of the most forceful artistic indictments of politicaloppression in the Stalin-era Soviet Union. The simply told story of atypical, grueling day of the titular character's life in a labor campin Siberia, is a modern classic of Russian literature and quicklycemented Solzhenitsyn's international reputation upon publication in1962. It is painfully apparent that Solzhenitsyn himself spent time inthe gulags--he was imprisoned for nearly a decade as punishment formaking derogatory statements about Stalin in a letter to a friend. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (201)

4-0 out of 5 stars Gulags R us
Ivan or Shuhkov as he's called through out the book is imprisioned in a Russian prison camp. His days starts with hanging out in bed because he feels ill. The book could really be considered a long story. There are no chapter breaks. And even though the idea of tracing one through a day seems dull its interesting. I especially like the three types of narration which is so subtle you may miss that it changes. It's good literature. I recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Voice for the Countless
"One Day in the Life..." is stark, humane, and ceaselessly hopeful.

Solzhenitsyn spend years in labor camps and exile, and he filters those experiences into this tale of one prisoner going through a day in the freezing wastelands of Siberia. Ivan has a ten-year sentence, and has learned to work the system of guards, gangs, and mess hall. He hates the cold, but he knows ways to fight it and finagle better tools, smokes, and food. He, like the others, is a survivor who thinks mostly of himself; on the other hand, he is willing to share with his favorite Estonians.

Throughout, Solzhenitsyn gives glimpses into the various regions of the former Soviet Union, into the politics and even religious thoughts, and let's us see these things through colorful yet simple language that befits his protagonist. Ivan is anything but self-pitying. He is a voice for the countless prisoners of that day ang age. It's hard to fathom, in our culture, the impact this story had on the international community in the midst of Communism in Russia. Many then were unaware of the abuses under that system. Solzhenitsyn brought into the light the many cruelties suffered under Stalin's rule. I traversed Russia on the Trans-Siberian Express in the late 1980s, and it is sad to think of the many censored artists, writers, poets, and preachers who died in the country's harsh eastern landscape.

The final paragraphs of this book don't rely on heightened drama but on the weighty realism of Ivan's ongoing incarceration. Despite this reality, Ivan is focused on the next day alone, thankful, full of hope, looking for the good in the midst of trouble. It's this attitude that makes "One Day in the Life..." a classic to be shared for generations to come.

4-0 out of 5 stars Bleak and Disturbing
Written from the perspective of a common prisoner, laboring in a Soviet camp, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is the semi-authobiographical novel of former political prisoner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. It is a simple novel, telling the story of Ivan Denisovich, imprisoned in the Gulag for crimes comitted while serving in the Russian Army during WWII. It takes place over the course of a single day, from reveille to retreat. The protagonist spends his day in hard labor, in this instance he and his squad are building a power station, construction on which had been abandoned six months previous. His day begins in misery, cold, and sickness, yet somehow Denisovich manages to end his day, and the novel with a note of hapiness, even hopefulness.

However this book is about so much more than just what Ivan's day to day life is like; it is a political statement. It is a look at the cruelty and oppression of the Soviet regime under Stalin, when a man could be imprisoned for just about any action, real or imagined. Denisovich was imprisoned for supossed desertion (in actuality he had been held as a German POW and escaped) while serving in the Soviet Army during WWII. Another character, Aloyshka - a dedicated Baptist, was imprisoned for his religious beliefs. Tiurin, squad captain, was imprisoned despite his impressive military record, for his birth. Solzhenitsyn, himself, was imprisoned for supossed derogatory remarks regarding Stalin.

It was suprisingly published in 1962, despite the rampanent censorship of the Soviet era, after gaining the approval of Kruschev while having one of his "anti-Stalin" days. It was later banned in Russia and Solzhenitsyn expelled after the ouster of Khrushchev, yet elsewhere the novel was so important and widely regarded that it's author received the Nobel Prize.

The novel itself is short, my edition only 139 pages, and the writing style spare, almost simplistic. However I feel this to be a reflection of the experience it is telling. One living in Stalin workcamp isn't going to have the time or energy for superflous words or emotion. Solzhenitsyn's austere style only served to emphasize the horror of the topic, and made it that much more powerful. The labor camps of Stalinist Russia rank right up there with Hitler's Death Camps as one of humanity's darkest moments. In a way that no history text could, Solzhenitsyn and One Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovich shed light on events that should horrify and sicken anyone. This is one novel that should be required reading in any history of the world.

4-0 out of 5 stars Essential Russian Literature
A central twentieth century Russian literary work, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is significant for many reasons. It is best known as a highly autobiographical novel exposing the Soviet Union's infamous gulags and is certainly noteworthy in this way. However, it is also excellent in itself, a gripping, highly moving story of determination, endurance, and in the end, hope. Anyone at all interested in twentieth century Russian literature or history must read it.

The historical angle is such that the book would be well worth reading for it alone. Before One Day, gulags were hardly even publicly admitted; having its horrors given in such detail was astonishing, one of the most dramatic examples of the Soviet Union's anti-Stalin program. To put this in perspective, it is necessary to remember that Boris Pasternak, whose Doctor Zhivago criticized Soviet tactics less openly, had to refuse the Nobel Prize only four years before to avoid scandal after the Soviets told the Nobel committee not to award him. This would of course be a mere historical footnote if One Day had no other value, but it does even in this sense. Years after gulags - and even the Soviet Union itself -- are gone, it is an invaluable, practically first-person account of the important phenomenon. Anyone wanting to know about gulags would do well to start here; it introduced them to the world and arguably remains the best source.

Noteworthy as this is, the literary merit is at least as great. Alexander Solzhenitsyn tells a remarkable story in straight-forward, admirably concise prose that cuts to the proverbial core; his story is so immediate that he has no time for verbal trappings. This is to the book's benefit, as the story more than stands on its own -- an utterly engrossing, distinctly modern drama of humanity's inhumanity. We identify with the title hero's trials and sufferings, which are detailed in a vividly visceral way that makes them unforgettable. Yet this is not a work of despair. Dark as it is at times, especially considering its nearly autobiographical nature, it is ultimately a triumph of the human spirit. It shows, as few works can, just how much a person can survive. We do not see Ivan leave the camp, but we know Solzhenitsyn did, which means much. Despite all, the book thus leaves us with hope.

Few twentieth century Russian works can be more essential, but it is important to remember that this is very different from nineteenth century Russian masterpieces. It is short and sticks firmly to the bare subject, lacking the long, philosophical digressions so characteristic of those works. Anyone expecting an update of them will be disappointed, but One Day in many ways strongly resembles them in spirit. The seemingly paradoxical Russian soul -- partly overflowing with goodness, even self-sacrificing saintliness, partly crowded with darkness leading to oppression -- is on prominent display here as there, as is profound psychological insight. Fans of those great works may find much to like, and those who usually dislike Russian literature are at least as likely to appreciate the book. One Day is that rare work that probes deeply yet still has wide appeal, which is high praise indeed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Man's Inhumanity on Display
As you read this slim novel, you keep shaking your head about man's inhumanity towards his fellow man. You wonder how a political system could be set up in which people are sent off to live under near-impossible conditions for decades, and why other people acquiesced to the insanity. Even though we know today that the Soviet system collapsed, we also know that Russia has penal colonies and prisons that are filled with innocents who are living scarcely better than Ivan Denisovich Sukhov does in the book.

The blunt language of Alexander Solzhenitsyn brings out the utter barrenness of existence in a Siberian labor camp. As other reviewers have said, you actually find yourself shivering as you read about ill-clothed men standing for an hour in minus-20 degree weather, waiting to be frisked by prison guards. You mind reels at the thought that a bowl of thin gruel, gulped down in less than 5 minutes, is so great of a luxury that it feels to these men as if time has stopped. You try to imagine being sent to live in those conditions for 10 years or more, and you come away feeling that you would lose all hope.How could you do otherwise?

It's a remarkable book.By showing the typical day in a prison camp -- in fact, a day that Ivan Denisovich considers "good" because he got an extra ration of soup and bread and avoided getting in trouble for anything -- you see the Soviet system in all its brutality.And you see how people tried to maintain their dignity and hope in the face of oppression on an industrial scale.While the system is inhuman, the people remain humans, as they try to survive on hope, pride, and ingenuity.

There's a reason that high schoolers were assigned this book 20 years ago, and there's still good reason to have young people (and older people) read it.The book is a warning about the depths to which a political system and social system can descend. ... Read more

2. One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Paperback: 204 Pages (1976)
-- used & new: US$8.52
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000I34AQO
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Brutal and Depressing
This book provides a powerful statement agaoub brutality, hopelessness, and unjustice imprisonment.No doubt drawing from his own experiences in the Stalinist gulag, author Alexander Solzhentisyn (1918-2008) describes a single day as experienced by prisoner Ivan Denisovich Sukhov in 1951.His crime?While fighting in the Red Army he was captured by the Germans, so his escape must have been (so felt the Soviet secret police) due to making a deal with the enemy.More than halfway thru his ten-year sentence, Ivan has learned how to survive in this barren, desolate camp.He must work hard, scrounge for food, avoid the attention of the guards, and stay as warm as he can.For his existence is one of ceaseless labor, meager rations, and bitter cold in the Siberian wilderness. Yet Ivan never gives up hope, and even sees some good in some of his nameless captors.

Solzhentisyn conveys the barren desolation of the gulag and the monotony of harsh prison life.In this regard his writing matches that of THE FIXER (by Malamud), NIGHT (by Weisel), and perhas DIARY OF ANN FRANK.Yet somehow the author never quite grabs the reader.Perhaps this was due to the translation, but some suspect his acclaim was due more to opposing communist oppression than for stirring prose.At any rate, a powerful book, if not a completely engrossing one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very compelling
Obviously influenced from Solzhenitsyn's personal experiences. This book is beautifully constructed and I personally think translated very well, It's surprisingly readable, I read it in 3 days.
The idea is to follow ivan denisovich's day at the camp. We see the importance of some of the most simple things that we take for granted, an extra bowl of oatmeal, a piece of bread and the layers that covers one's body.
Solzhenitsyn really is a master of imagery, you can almost feel the biting of the cold and the thumping footsteps on the snow. It also is emotional without over doing the romanticism which could easily have happened.
You definitely admire the main character, whether it's his obedience or just the amount of human warmth that comes from his presence. It's also his slow departure from reality and human warmth that takes most of the book, his animalistic idea of survival, and the need to survive.
I would strongly recommend it to anyone with taste.

3-0 out of 5 stars Tough to get through but worth it
Of the Russian/Soviet writers only three are noteworthy and Solzhenitsyn is one of the best.While this was my first book by the author, I knew its impact would be great.The basis behind the book is the life of prisoners in the GULAG.Unless you are a die-hard historian or really enjoy this type of bare bones information, you may not like this book.I find it valuable for 20th Century history to show the extremes man has forced on himself and others and how man can survive no matter what.

4-0 out of 5 stars One day in the life of a Siberian concentration camp!
"One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" is Alexander Solzhenitsyn's first book, a classic of modern Russian literature and the title that propelled him onto the literary world stage. As for the plot - well, the title itself serves as a synopsis. The story, such as it is, describes a single day in the life of Ivan Denisovich Shukhov who is serving a term in a Stalinist labor camp for offenses against the state.That they were never clearly described is surely Solzhenitsyn's method of making his readers aware of the fact that millions of prisoners were suffering the same fate on meaningless charges fabricated from thin air with nothing by way of evidence to support them. The novel, clearly built on a foundation of Solzhenitsyn's personal experiences spent in a gulag, is a courageous (and, under the circumstances, perhaps almost foolhardy) critique of the tyranny that was the Russian experience under the dictatorship of Stalin.

The story that Solzhenitsyn tells could hardly be categorized as compelling. In fact, it's anything but. Solzhenitsyn has expertly portrayed an overwhelming atmosphere of dreary darkness, hopelessness, despair and exhaustion through the banality of the prisoners' daily existence - the hunger, the cold, the de-humanization, the repetitive grinding work, the isolation, and the stark paucity of everyday living in a setting without joy. It wasn't so much that there were physical punishments, cruelty or the terror that one reads about in other prison stories such as "Papillon", "The Shawshank Redemption" or "A Tale of Two Cities", for example.The punishment in Shukhov's camp arose more obviously out of the deprivation and unutterable tedium of an inhumanly spare existence devoid of pleasurable experience. Indeed, it was clear that even the guards and prison staff were probably suffering only a scant degree less than the unfortunate inmates.

On hunger:

"How often had Shukhov in his youth fed oats to horses! Never had it occurred to him that there'd come a time when his whole soul would crave for a handful of them."

On sleeping in the inhumanly cold Siberian winter:

"He must make his bed now - there wasn't much to it. Strip his mattress of the grubby blanket and lie on it (it must have been '41 when he last slept in sheets - that was at home; it even seemed odd for women to bother about sheets, all that extra laundering). Head on the pillow, stuffed with shavings of wood: feet in jacket sleeve; coat on top of blanket and - Glory be to Thee, O Lord. Another day over."

As I said, spare writing that is itself a metaphor for the very things it so powerfully describes.

Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss

5-0 out of 5 stars Beyond Belief
It's a MUST read and should have already been read by everyone who considers themselves enlightened and informed... long before NOW. ... Read more

3. The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 (Trans by Thomas P. Whitney)
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Hardcover: Pages (1973)
-- used & new: US$48.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000GR0EXA
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Cheka vs. Inquisition; Trotsky; Solzhenitsyn Denounces Yalta, Warsaw-Uprising-Betrayal, Russian Imperialisms against Poland
This monumental work and successive volumes (reviewed also by me), provide priceless information about the Gulags, arcane details about Russian history, insights into Soviet thinking and policies, etc. I can only touch on a few of these.

Anti-Christians never tire of bringing up the Spanish Inquisition. Yet this most severe of inquisitions paled in comparison not only with the killings under Communism, but even with just the deeds of the Cheka further limited to early post-Revolution times. "...in a period of sixteen months (June 1918 to October 1919) more than sixteen thousand persons were shot, which is to say MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND A MONTH...during the eighty years of the Inquisition's peak effort (1420 to 1498), in all of Spain ten thousand persons were condemned to be burned at the stake--in other words, about ten a month." (p. 435; emphasis his).

Some Communist apologists have claimed that Communism "went bad" only because of Stalin, and that, had Trotsky (Bronshtein) ruled instead, Communism would've been rosy. In actuality, Trotsky wasn't substantially different from Stalin. Solzhenitsyn quotes Trotsky as saying: "'Terror is a powerful means of policy and one would have to be a hypocrite not to understand this.'" (p. 300). Also: "The terror Trotsky inspired as Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council was something he acquired very cheaply, and does not at all demonstrate any true strength of character or courage." (p. 410).

The 1939 Soviet conquest of Poland's Kresy had been justified as a protection of the Byelorussians and Ukrainians (and, of course, liberation from those big, bad "Polish landlords"). Ironic to this, Solzhenitsyn condemns the imprisonment of successful members of those groups, and of Poles, which, he admits, led to Katyn. (p. 77). Otherwise, he rarely mentions Gulag Poles (e. g., p. 81, 86).

Solzhenitsyn has choice words about Teheran and Yalta: "In their own countries Roosevelt and Churchill are honored as embodiments of statesmanlike wisdom. To us, in our Russian prison conversations, their consistent shortsightedness and stupidity stood out as astonishingly obvious. How could they, in their decline from 1941 to 1945, fail to secure any guarantees whatsoever of the independence of Eastern Europe?" (p. 259).

Contrary to his portrayal as a "Russian nationalist" (who, one would think, would adopt a blame-the-victim approach), Solzhenitsyn is very candid about both old and new Russian imperialisms against Poland: "Still worse: In October, 1944, the Germans threw in Kaminsky's brigade--with its Moslem units--to suppress the Warsaw Uprising. While one group of Russians sat traitorously dozing behind the Vistula, watching the death of Warsaw through their binoculars, other Russians crushed the Uprising. Hadn't the Poles had enough Russian villainy to bear in the nineteenth century without having to endure more of it in the twentieth? For that matter, was that the last of it? Perhaps more is still to come." (p. 257). God forbid!

5-0 out of 5 stars Eloquent Expose of Stalinist Tyranny
I read this book, both volumes and part of the third, years ago in the wake of this work becoming a political slogan and football bandied about so much during the Reagan years, as it turns out by people who obviously had not read it.While intially approaching that task with some skepticism, I quickly concluded that it was very well written and informed, being worth the time spent in reading it.

"Gulag" is an acronym in Russian for an agency that was known as the Central Administration of Corrective Labor Camps which the author, a former Red Army officer, entered in 1945 as a "zek" or prisoner.The book(s) is a very absorbing chronicle of the history of this system in general and through the personal stories of specific individuals that became known to the author.While Solshinitsyn is very explicit, obviously, in making his bitterly and well earned anti-communist outlook known, this work is not a hysterial rant or screed, but a serious memoir and work of historical literature, one that is neither boring nor tendentious.Moreover, while the author's affinity for Russia's Orthodox traditions shines through, a certain social-revolutionary sensiblity that has also been a hallmark of that culture during the last century and half of upheaval also emerges.As Herzen observed about Bakunin, who endured his own stuggles with Russian Tsarist tyranny in the previous century, it seems that the Gulag's author was not born under any ordinary star, but a comet.

The forced labor camp system set up by Stalin was designed to purge his political opponents, set up a system of cheap forced labor to subsize his economic development and industrialization programs and as a vehicle for the implementation of his own peculiar take on ostensible Marxist-Leninist social cleansing and transformation.Thus the first section is entitled "The history of our sewage disposal sytem," detailing how a quarter of "Leningrad" was "cleaned out" in the political and psuedo legal context of the newly adopted Soviet Constitution (Article 10 as I recall) that criminalized the formerly privileged classes and "socially hostile elements."In the camp context this meant that the common criminal element, "the socially friendly", that may have been present was pandered to while being incited against political enemies of the state, parts of this story being reminiscent of MacKinlay Kantor's fictional descrition of POW life in "Andersonville", although in this context it was a concious policy pursued as part of the "institutionalization of the dictatorship of the proletariat."And how does one recognize the socially friendly?The presence of tatoos on their bodies, for one thing, the author astutely observes.

The first camp that was set up was in the Solovetsky Islands during the era of the Bolshevik Revolution in the early 20s and was not particulary egregious by prison standards of the time.The theme was set by the slogan on the Herring Gate which stated the theme, "For the Workers and Peasants!", a context in which one not atypical prisoner arrived garbed in a tuxedo.Later, in the days of the Great Purge and thereafter, privileged seeming arrivals would be jeeringly greeted at the Kolyma by the socially friendly with comments like "Welcome to Vorkuta, Fascist Gentlemen!"At this point, however, the definition of socially privileged was dramatically lowered to include "kulaks" or landed peasants; the campaign of the Russian state against whom was an unmitigated moral and economic disaster.

The Gulag system in its maturity was set up under the leadership one Neftely Frenkel, a former Turkish businessman who oversaw the creation of a large network or "archipelago" of camps all over the Soviet Union, reaching to the remotest parts of Eastern Siberia.He supervised this vast fiefdom from his personal railroad car in which he traveled where he willed in the manner of a robber baron.

Solshenitsyn describes the pathological paronoia that set in during the era of the Great Purge and the arbitrary predations of Stalin's petty "Chekist" hacks, whose own subsequent demise provides some sweet irony to the author.All this actually weakened Russia, from the destruction of its officer corps to the inefficient and shoddy projects completed by convict labor, such as the Belamor Canal which Stalin forced to be built by hand and which turned out to be too shallow.Given the meagre rations that were based on Frenkel's concept of the "differentiated ration pot" which meant that, in theory, food was given out on the basis of labor expended, but in reality meant the socially friendly and others with relative privileges got more, survival meant getting out of "general assignment" into some special assignment outside of working in the main labor project.This the author managed to do by getting a job in camp administration based on his education.Otherwise he would have faced the prospect, leaving execution aside, of slow starvation after he fell out as one of the camp's "last leggers." Although executions are described in these camps, including en masse, they were not death camps on the Nazi model, as Stalin's regime, for the most part, didn't wait to ship people off it had already marked for death before killing them. In this connection, the abuses of the "differentiated ration pot" are discussed, a theory by which people were fed according to the amount of work they did, but more often in reality according to who was in favor leading to the weak and dissident elements being worked and starved to death.

While the author disparges Marxism and atheism, he gives some grudging respect to Bolshevik and revolutionary traditions when linked with the struggles of the common folk and Russian patriotism.Thus we have the story of the Cossack who polevaulted over the camp walls to join the front line fight against the German invaders and Volume 2 concludes with the story of the Red Army veteran in 1945 who walks off a job cleaning up war rubble in protest of not having any shoes.When confronted by a cop with a threat of arrest and deportation to camp, he responds angrily that he is veteran of the war and a Bolshevik, willing to make further great sacrifices, but insists on at least having shoes.The cop backs off.Thus the theme is returned to that opened the work when the author,indignantly informs those arresting him, for writing comments critical of Stalin in personal letters, of his status as a Red Army tanker.Then of course there was his angry implication in reponse to the students that heckled him at Harvard in the late 70s that those privileged socially hostile elements could perhaps use some corrective labor.

I am surprised that Solshentisyn has not emerged more as a public figure in post-Soviet Russia.It seems that he would have a lot to contribute. I encourage people to read this work.It fully deserves the awards and accolades it has achieved.

5-0 out of 5 stars If It Sounds Too Good to be True, It Probably Is!
Gulag Archipelago is the award winning expose that shocked the world with its revelations about the true nature of life in the, "worker's paradise," a.k.a,the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) The author, a once dedicated Communist himself, shows how millions of Soviet citizens were arrested, tortured into "confessing" various "crimes against the state" and imprisoned for long periods to satisfy Josef Stalin's paranoia concerning the threat posed by his "enemies" both real and imagined.His personal experience forms the basis for this saga, perhaps, the saddest of all time.

Solzhenitsyn takes the reader through the arrest and brutal interrogation process that broke the strongest of men.He then carries them with him in grossly overcrowded "Stolypin" prison rail cars and prison ships called "Black Maria's" into transit camps where prisoners were deprived of almost all the basic necessities of life.God help the attractive, female prisoner sentenced to ride in either!

At the transit camps prisoners are fed only "gruel" which often had to be eaten by hand as no eating utensils were provided.The strongest men ate well.The weak starved.A trip to the latrine was the highlight of ones day!Almost unbelievable is the fact, the worst was yet to come.

Life in the camps was unbearably hard.Prisoners performed back-breaking labor including digging canals and logging forests by hand in sub-zero temperatures wearing only summer weight clothing.Their "crimes:" One man got a tenner (i.e. a ten year prison sentence) for being the first to stop applauding after a Stalin speech.Others included being a Priest/Nun who refused to renounce his/her faith.A third was being female and telling a State Security Officer, "No!"A Soviet jailer said it best:"The punishment for doing absolutely nothing is ten years!"

Archipelago is the work that showed the world the difference between what Communism promised and what it actually delivered.It deserves recognition as one of the most effective pieces of social literature ever published and serves as a tribute to the millions who perished under the most repressive regime of all time.It should be required reading for everyone aspiring to a government leadership position because, God forbid, it CAN happen again!Five Stars!!

Harold Y. Grooms
... Read more

4. Warning to the West
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
 Hardcover: Pages (1976)
-- used & new: US$102.14
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B001PEZPUK
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Published 1976 ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Relevant these many years later
Reread tonight after a couple of decades. How interesting to see George Meany and Lane Kirkland writing introductions...the American labor movement has "moved" away from these guys for sure. Written in the 70's, this title is as relevant today as it was then: Liberty versus tyranny. This is "brief" for Solzhenitsyn, so take advantage. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars What our Government needs to know & listen to.
It is not very often that one person can have such an influence and an understanding of what is wrong with our world; the United States in particular.
It isn't even a warning from a religious point of view, but can be viewed as such, even though it is from a secular slant.
We need to wake up to the encroaching persistence of socialism, humanism, and most importantly, atheism. Our need for God back into our government has never been more needed.
Our present governing body (and to a degree that from the past century)has slowly eroded our freedoms given us by our founders. One day we will wake up and say, "what happened?"

5-0 out of 5 stars Those who fail to learn the lessons of history...
The warnings of the Cold War are just as poignant today with regards to the new enemy of Western Civilization.Appeasement is always doomed to failure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Early warnings...still current
These are powerful reminders of the underlying driving force of secular humanism and communism.We see the u.s. closer than ever, to giving up it founding principals in favor of these "religions of man".Every step taken is ground that is never surrendered.We need to learn these lessons now, before this collapse hits critical mass.you can find audio of some of these speeches online.This book should be required reading for all.

5-0 out of 5 stars height of apostasy
Predictions all correct.Writing clear and prophetic.Coming true in vivid detail.Could be instrumental immediately in averting disaster in the West. ... Read more

by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Paperback: Pages (1963)

Asin: B000JWFX4C
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

6. The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 - An Experiment In Literary Investigation I-II
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
 Hardcover: Pages (1974)

Isbn: 000262253X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (65)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent abridgment
I originally read the three-volume "Gulag" while in college and then later read this abridgment. This abridgment is very well done; it definitely captures the meat of what Solzhenitsyn wanted to convey.The three-volume work had a lot of detailed accounts of those who did not survive the Gulag or the Stalinist state, but those details can be hard to absorb and are easily forgotten.This volume provides the essence of what is THEbook of the 20th century.

5-0 out of 5 stars An expose on the evil heart of Communism
One of the most monumental accounts of one of the cruellest ideologies of history,this book should be read by all
Layer by layer Solzhenitsyn exposes the hideous system of imprisonment ,death and torture that he refers to as the 'Gulag Archipelago'
He strips away that the misconception of the good Tsar Lenin betrayed by his evil heirs and exposes how it was Lenin and his henchmen who put into place the brutal totalitarianism , which would be inherited and continued by Stalin
In fact the only thing that Stalin really did differently was to introduce a more personalised ,Imperial style of rule but otherwise carried on the evil work of Lenin
It was Lenin who imprisoned the Cadets (Constitutional Democrats) , Mensheviks,Social Democrats,Social Revolutionaries Anarchists and independent intelligentsia and had many killed
In this way he completely destroyed all opposition to Bolshevik hegemony
Under Lenin the persecution started of anybody convicted of religious activity and the complete destruction of the church in Russia
And it was Lenin who began the genocide of whole ethnic groups that would later gain momentum under Stalin
Under the Communist system all that is spiritual or not purely material in nature is destroyed.And we discover what a horror Marx's idea of 'dialectic materialism ' really is
But I cannot describe the horrors which Solzhenitsyn outlines in this book :the hideous torutres,the slave markets selling of young women into sexual slavery
Solzhenitsyn describes how the prison system of the Tsarist system was compassionate by comparison but the mild abuses of Tsarist imprisonment where reacted to with a shrill outcry that never greeted the horrors of Bolshevism and Communism
As he says in his ever present biting sarcasm "Its just not fashionable,just not fashionable
And even today,even after the fall of Communism in Europe (though its iron grip remains strong in parts of Asia,Africa and in Cuba) its still not regarded as fashionable to highlight the horrors of Communism as it is to do so for other human rights abuses of this and other centuries

5-0 out of 5 stars A powerful book
Probably one of the most important works I have ever read.Solzhenitsyn gives voice to the millions of voiceless victims of Stalin's Soviet Russia.Unfortunately this is one of histories lesser known crimes, and the power of this man's voice helps to rectify this.This book is powerful and brutal.Solzhenitsyn forces his readers to stare into the face of evil and see the horrors that can happen when tyrants are allowed to run roughshod over a people.

This book is so tremendously important as a warning for all people to take care that tyranny does not get the opportunity to capture a people.It illustrates the inhumanity that man is capable of, and he shows readers the terrible price that dictators impose.

This book needs to be required reading because it has the affect of so eloquently exposing readers to the reality that people all over the world face.This is why this book is so powerful.It is the universal nature of this work that shows the reader what happens to people in this situation.This book forces the reader to be empathetic to the plight of suffering people the world over.What this work shows is that this type of oppression becomes so pervasive that it is almost impossible to overcome.The people don't want this nor do they simply acquiesce to this tyranny.What happens is that a society becomes totally corrupted to the point where there is nothing left.

This is an extremely important work that needs to be read.

5-0 out of 5 stars true believer in the power of literature
I cannot stop admiring the courage of the author and his belief in art as the most powerful and necessary form of preserving memory of history and humanity. His writing, neither history nor memoir, is compelling, and passionate, and inspite of his passionate criticism, I think I read his love for Russia and his people. I enjoyed reading his lecture as well, which shows more of his brilliant and yet rather humble analysis on the mission of literature/artists in the time of pervasive and universal atrocities againt humanity.He not only wrote but also lived his convictions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Do You Believe Man Has the Capacity for Pure Evil?
I'm encouraged to see this book is still a good seller despite its publication back in 1976.We should never forget the lessons contained herein.

In my younger liberal days, I thought we were all pretty much the same: basically good, trying to be honest and compassionate, with desire for an open society in which individual rewards are based on merit and work, supported by a transparent government based on the rule of law, not the capricious rules of men."The Gulag Archipelago," on the other hand, shows us raw human nature as it is in reality.

Someone said, "A conservative is a liberal who's been mugged."Well, Solzhenitsyn's book will figuratively mug you if, like many of us in the U.S., you have been sheltered from the pure evil our fellow men can commit.That evil is in all of us, but that's an issue for another day.This is a mugging you will survive; it will make you a stronger and better person.

Totalitarian regimes like Soviet communism and German Nazism require legions of supporters.As you read this book, try to imagine which of your acquaintances would willingly participate or acquiesce.Would you?The answer is not as straightforward as it seems.

-Steve Parker, M.D., author of The Advanced Mediterranean Diet: Lose Weight, Feel Better, Live Longer ... Read more

7. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Hardcover: 210 Pages (1963)

Asin: B001CAVEKM
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

8. Solzhenitsyn: What A Pity! and Other Short Stories (Russian Studies)
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Paperback: 160 Pages (1996-07-01)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$17.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1853994251
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This edition contains three of Ta'tiana Tolstaia's stories: "Sweet Shura" ("Milaia Shura"), "Peters" ("Peters"), and "The Okkerril River" ("Reka Okkerril"). The book is in Russian language with English notes and vocabulary that explain Tolstaia's stylistic characteristics. ... Read more

by Alexander; Glenny, Michael (translator) Solzhenitsyn
 Paperback: Pages (1971)

Asin: B000OWTJVA
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

10. Stories and Prose Poems
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
 Hardcover: Pages (1971-01-01)
-- used & new: US$14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000R0E84W
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

11. Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century in His Life
by D. M. Thomas
Hardcover: 583 Pages (1998-09-01)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$22.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756760119
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Thomas has prepared this extraordinary work on Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Russian Nobel Laureate for Literature. He paints a deeply affecting portrait of the intricate relationship between Solzhenitsyn's life & his art, always framing this biography in the context of the historical times. Beginning with the years of Revolution & Civil War, Solzhenitsyn's life embodies the cruelty, passion, & chaos that have characterized Russian history over the last century. This account covers all the major periods of the Russian author's remarkable life, from childhood to his years in the Stalinist labor camps, his battle against censorship & his expulsion from the U.S.S.R. in 1974, & his Vermont period & return to a Russia. Photos.Amazon.com Review
Russian writer/moralist Alexander Solzhenitsyn is not pleased about thisbiography that draws on interviews with his first wife.Nonetheless, British novelist D. M. Thomas views Solzhenitsyn throughoutwith sympathy, depicting a difficult but admirable man as importantfor his role in the struggle against Soviet totalitarianism as forthe artistry of his fiction. The final chapters, on Solzhenitsyn'sreturn home in 1994 after 20 years in exile, show "the ultimatedissident" still alone, disdained as old-fashioned and irrelevantin the new Russia. Thomas writes with a lyrical soulfulness thatunderscores his sense of connection to Russian artists. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars He Chose Freedom
DM Thomas, in this volume, traces the life of Alexander Solzhenitsyn the great Russian novelist and dissident against Communist tyranny in his homeland. Well known for such classics as A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch, First Circle,Cancer Ward and the Gulag Archipelago.
Alexander Isaevitch Solzhentisyn was born in Kislovodsk in 1918. He served four years in the Soviet army during World War II. In 1945, while still in the army Solzhenitsyn was falsely accused ofa political crime. He was arrested and spent eight years in labour camps and three years in exile. Solzhenitsyn's novels reflect his prison and war experiences.
In his works, Solzhenitsyn used the prisons and hospital as symbols of Soviet society, dramatizing the contrast between revolutionary ideals and harsh realities. His heroes express the triumph of the human spirit over suffering and brutality.

Solzhenitsyn rightly pointed out that revolutions are nothing more than massive destruction and bloodshed which destroy the organic structure of life. Revolutions cut off the best lives while giving free reign to the worst. Indeed the world would be a far better place without revolutions, revolutionary ideals, revolutionary regimes and revolutionaries.
Solzhenitsyn won the the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature. He could have retired and lived a life of wealth, comfort and peace but instead chose to continue the struggle against the monstrous Communist tyranny. He chose freedom.

In 1973 he completed the Gulag Archipelago, a factual work, which recounted the horrors of the hellish gulag system of slavery and death, which existed in the soviet Union.
He was harassed and terrorized by the Soviet authorities and the KGB who even tried to poison him. In 1974 he was arrested and exiled. He settled in Cavendish, Vermont in the USA. Solzhenitsyn correctly supported nationalism and passionately opposed the false idea that nationalism and nations do not matter.
"To lose one's sense of nationhood is to lose the right simply to love the land of our birth blindly and unpremeditated...was for a people to risk losing their historical memory and even the language in which that memory is embedded".

While he did not focus on the persecution of the Jews in the Soviet Union, like other dissidents such as Andrei Sakharov did, he was not anti-Semitic as Soviet and leftist propagandists tried to make out. Indeed Elie Wiesel pointed out that he respected that Solzhenitsyn's focus was on the Russian people as his own was on the Jewish people.

In exile Solzhenitsyn attacked the gross hypocrisy of the western left, which could not and cannot accept that communist tyranny was ruthless and evil. In a message that should and must be heeded today he denounced terrorism, condemning "the universal adulation of revolutionaries, the more so the more extreme they are. similarly before the revolution...people in good positions, intellectuals, professors, liberals spent a great deal of effort, anger and indignation defending terrorists".
If this was true when he wrote this in the 1970s how much more son today in the age when the loathsome Noam Chomsky's pro-terror ravings are accepted so widely and a terror-appeasing President has been elected in the USA.

The book also outlines the history of Russia during the 20th century, the horrors of the Bolshevik terror and later Stalinism. It all began with the bloodthirsty Lenin who rejected humanity and 'bourgeois morality' advocating mass murder and terror as political instruments. Between the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 and Stalin's death in 1953, an estimated 60 million people died asresult of Communist terror, including deliberately created famine, and the genocide of ethnic groups such as the Kazakhs, Ukrainians and Chechens.
A fascinating insight into the soul of a great fighter for true freedom, and into the hideous rape by an evil soulless ideology of a great nation.

5-0 out of 5 stars A writer who shook the world
Solzhenitsyn is for Thomas the writer of the twentieth century who did the most to change its history. When Khruschev in the early 1950's surprisingly allowed the " The Life of Ivan Denisovich" to be published, this work shook the world. It was this short work , which some still believe to be Solzhenitsyn's finest with which he first brought to the world's attention, the Soviet Gulag. Solzhenitsyn then proceeded to provide to the world the results of his massive research on the Gulag. This epic work would far exceed in its power and literary weight the subsquent fiction, especially the vast "August 1914" which Solzhenitsyn would devote himself to in the years ahead.
Thomas traces the story of Solzhenitsyn from the early orphan years to his service in the Second World War, his imprisonment, his life as Zek, ( prisoner) his bout of cancer, his writing and publication, his becoming known to the world. He also extensively explores Solzhenitzyn's first marriage and reveals details hitherto unknown. The twenty years in exile in Vermont are also covered, including the 1989 Harvard speech in which Solzhenitzyn made it clear he was not the kind of ' liberal democrat' many in the West had thought him to be. The ironic return to a Soviet Union which his work helped collapse and which did not attest to his values is the coda of the story.
As George Steiner reports in 'The New York Times' Thomas shows a masterful knowledge of Russian Literature in this work, and writes passages of great intensity and power.

5-0 out of 5 stars As much about D. M. Thomas as Solzhenitsyn
I first picked up the this book because of the respect I have for its author, British novelist and poet D. M. Thomas.Thomas, in addition to showing so much talent in his own work, has begun to establish himself as a well-respected expert on Russian literature.

His novels also reveal him to be very much a student of Russian literature as well.Thomas is a great lover of Akhmatova as well, and has translated many of her poems.She also figures prominently into this biography, perhaps more so than she really did in Solzhenitsyn's life.This is important because the book is much more than a biography of one writer, but a history of the literary ideal Thomas subscribes to.Compassion.The role of the literal -- the stark, raving, brutal, literal -- to bring truth to people.

Thomas includes many references to his own literary philosophy throughout the work.Perhaps if you were here only for Solzhenitsyn, these passages would seem superfluous.He also injects snippets of the Freudian analysis that dominate his own fiction.If you were unfamiliar with his work, you might think that these sections were completely ridiculous.Even though I knew why they were there, I still thought they were out of place and that Thomas was trying to interject too much of his own personality.

The details of Solzhenitsyn's life are carefully researched.It helps that Thomas is also a novelist and is often of the same mind as his subject.Many times, his insights are fabulous.However, Thomas is a bit too subjective in his description of how Solzhenitsyn managed his personal life (and Solzhenitsyn felt he was too rough on him -- ha!).In many places, he spends far too much time finding ways to excuse the author's behavior.True, he does give a voice to to many Solzhenitsyn tampled on over the years, but it rarely extends beyond sympathy -- oh, his poor wife, oh, his poor friend -- into genuine criticism of the author.Not that criticism would have been warranted either.In these, he-said, she-said, situations, cold objectivity would have probably been best.It would led the biographer down fewer blind alleys.

This particular biography is special in that it also closely ties Solzhenitsyn to the history of 20th century Russia.Historical events have obviously influenced the author's work, but Thomas also carves out Solzhenitsyn's role in history, even before he was a literary giant.That interplay is quite important, Solzhenitsyn was not safely observing history unfold, he was living right in the horrible center of it.

I thought it was a little strange that the biography really began to speed up after the Solzhenitsyn's moved to Vermont.The author had a low personal profile during this period, but was still more accessible by the Western press.The author's work was largely fruitless in the 1980's, but Thomas detaches him from history -- as if the Vermont exile had dropped him off the planet -- and lets the 80's go by in a blur.Solzhenitsyn's return to Russia is also treated superficially, and it seemed like Thomas, without any influencial new works from the author to talk about in this period, was just trying to get it over with.But in a way, it was quite consistent with Solzhenitsyn's stature in the 1990's: his work was so literal and so tied to specific events, that the generations in ascendency at the end of 20th century could no longer relate to it personally.Why talk up the author if no one else was doing so?

I came away with a much greater appreciation for D. M. Thomas's fiction and poetry.Maybe that makes this biography, I don't know, less professional?But to me, that was an unexpected bonus.

5-0 out of 5 stars World history and the Russian novel
The Russian novel is an historical mystery, the last act of which gives us the great ones of Solzhenitsyn, whose life is told here briskly and well without hagiography and it adds up just as well to a snapshot version of Russian history that is to the point and acute in its indirect analysis of a suffering and quite mad civilization given a knockout blow by the novelist's exposure of the Gulags. The anti-modernism of Solzhenitsyn weighs in to the measure of the effect, but it would seem merely Dostoeyevskian liability at this point. Hits the mark.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Shockingly Beautiful Biography of a Powerful Man!
This book touched me in ways I had not anticipated!The author brings Solzhenitsyn's life to the lay man in easy-to-understand terminology and fascinating facts.I could not put this very thick book down; from the moment I got it I was enthralled.The rich characters and cultural reflections given in this book are enough to make any Russian history buff salivate!I was inspired and truly blessed by this amazing biography. ... Read more

12. Alexander Solzhenitsyn: from under the Rubble
by Mikhail, Et Al Agursky
 Hardcover: Pages (1974)

Isbn: 9029554223
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

13. 'Lively' and Other Stories by Boris Mozhaev & A Memoir by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
by Boris A Mozhaev, Alexander I Solzhenitsyn
Paperback: 496 Pages (2008-05-01)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$22.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1906164010
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The writing of Boris Mozhaev, available in English for the first time ever in this volume, stands out in terms of narrative style and bold sincerity amongst contemporary Russian writers already translated into English. His insight into Russian life, politics and society, and the rural community in particular, represents a unique voice among the great writers of the twentieth century, who fearlessly and, at great personal sacrifice, wrote what they knew to be the truth about everyday life in Russia. Mozhaev had to fight against Soviet censorship all his life and some of his works were suppressed for over twenty years before they were allowed to be published - always to great critical acclaim. When Mozhaev's story 'Lively' was published, shortly after Alexander Solzhenitsyn's famous story 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich', it was no less of a cause célèbre in Russian literary circles and society. Stylistically, he combines Chekhov's acute eye for detail, evident in his short stories with the wonderful humour and pathos of Gogol, expressed with a unique ear for rural wit and dialogue. Though the communist regime has collapsed and new leaders have emerged from the shadows, Mozhaev's stories still have a modern resonance and a chillingly poignant relevance, as those in power still conduct themselves with the same Soviet mindset and mentality as they did under the old regime. Mozhaev's writing, still regularly republished in Russia today, has not tarnished with time and it still bears its sharp, critical edge, as cutting as the day it was originally written. Through this volume of translations, Mozhaev is set to take his place amongst the great writers of contemporary Russia accessible to the English-speaking reader. The translator has provided a wealth of background information and copious notes to help the reader better to understand the satire and enjoy the stories. ... Read more

 Hardcover: Pages (1974)

Asin: B00167YSHM
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

15. August 1914
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
 Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1972-01-01)

Asin: B000MVGSFI
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (22)

3-0 out of 5 stars August 1914
I was told that the book was "like new," but upon recept found that it had scratches in the lower portion of the spine. It was only a dollar, so I am not too put out, but if I had known this I may have chosen to purchase a different version, one that was actually "like new."

4-0 out of 5 stars More Russian literature than war novel.
August 1914 does not strive for the same goals as many war novels, and perhaps should not even be seriously included in that category. I view it as part of Solzhenitsyn's "War and Peace in 1914" and approached it more as a reader of Russian literature than of war novels. Despite the time spent, it is not particularly (or really much at all) concerned with discussing the tactical or strategic minutia involved with the Tannenberg campaign, doing so only to advance the plot, but of trying to capture a sense of the people and times in which it took place.

Aside from the disjointed amalgamation of screenplays and newspaper headlines, the characterizations of many of the actors I found to be not terribly compelling, particularly in light of some of the shades-of-Dostoevsky characters created in other similar Solzhenitsyn works such as The First Circle.

I found myself almost constantly wondering when it was characters doing the talking or Solzhenitsyn saying his own thing from 50 years of hindsight through the characters. This sentiment also contributes to the feeling that the characters lack a certain something present in Solzhenitsyn's other works. This may be an inevitable byproduct of the readers' worldview which is shaped by fame Solzhenitsyn has achieved as a chronicler and critic of the USSR. Nevertheless, this flatness is covered up better in many of his other books.

It feels in many places incomplete and Solzhenitsyn himself has implied as much. It is a pity that it didn't get further than it has, but it is still a valuable piece of literature.

2-0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to like this book
I was really hoping that I would like this book. I just don't see why people consider Solzhenitsyn to be such a brilliant writer. This seemed to me to read like an unfinished work. The writing is o.k. but the characters are somewhat flat, the story is confusing and lacking direction and, at the end, it's like he started writing a different story that had little or nothing to do with the first. Like someone else already said: a well-done narrative history would be more informative, more interesting, and more entertaining. I definatly won't be moving on to the next book in the series.

Not recommended.

3-0 out of 5 stars August 1914: Bland
Title: August 1914 by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Pages: 622

Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 4 or 5 years.

Days spent reading it: 6 days.

Why I read it: In high school I was forced to read "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." I remember not liking it at all. I thought it was boring. But many things I found boring in high school I now enjoy. So I thought I would read another novel by Solzhenitsyn, and see how it went.

Brief review: I am not sure what I was expecting, but this book was not it. From Solzenhitsyn I guess I expected a little more. The characters were fairly flat, thus it was difficult to tell one officer from another. The fighting sequences were complicated. I had no idea if an advance was good or bad, even after the battle was explained. I have read good war novels that explain complicated maneuvers. The Killer Angels comes to mind as a good example, where I could envision the entire battle and basic battle plans were given as pictures on occasion so I understood the flow of the battle better. That was not present in August 1914 and I think the book suffers because of it.

I have no deep understanding of the Russian front during World War I. So this was my first real exposure to that era. One thing that is brought out in this book was how terrible the conditions of war are. My tenth grade English teacher once summed up every war novel. She said their theme is always very simple: "War is hell." August 1914 does not press this point as much as other novels, but it does convey the hardships endured by the soldiers of the day. The one overriding theme that I did understand was that the Russian generals were completely incompetent in this battle. From start to finish Solzenhitsyn blasts the generals in charge of this offensive (and defensive) blunder.

I had a few qualms with this book in its current form. First, every now and then the narrative stops and we are given these "scenes" that are written with screen play directions. These directions were apparently how Solzenhitsyn envisioned this book on film. It was strange to break the flow of the story in order to introduce his vision for another medium. It felt like the book was 90% complete, not 100% complete. And, oddly, chapter 22 was omitted "by the request of the author." Strange. I have read that this book was revised later and nearly 200 pages were added to it. I don't think I could read through 200 more pages, but I wonder if it would clarify some of the issues I had with the work.

Anyway, in brief, this book was alright, but I would not read it again and I would not recommend it to anyone unless they were extremely interested in Russian literature (or possibly Russian history).

Favorite quote: "Evil people always support each other; that is their chief strength."

Stars: 2.5 out of 5

Final Word: Bland.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Translation of an Epic Work
"August 1914" kicks off the epic "Red Wheel" as Solzhenitsyn tries to capture the coming of the Russian Revolution in a series of novels. Another man's book is on Solzhenitsyn's mind; how can a Russian novelist write an epic on war and not confront Tolstoy and "War and Peace"? Tolstoy even makes a brief appearance at the start of the book. Solzhenitsyn guides the reader through the disastrous Russian invasion of East Prussia in August 1914 and unveils a number of characters-some real and some imaginary. There are haunting portraits of General Samsanov and Tsar Nicholas II. There are also descriptions of the battle and Solzhenitsyn's background from World War Two help him a great deal; these are some of the greatest battle scenes I have ever read. He guides the reader through the staff headquarters and to the front lines. He also offers unforgettable characters drawn from all of Russian society: a well off family at home, young officers connecting with the men, radical students, gentle peasants serving as troops. While his narrative is excellent, Solzhenitsyn is not as strong when he attempts to mimic the "camera eye" used by John Dos Passos in the USA trilogy. Nor does he quite succeed when he lists a number of headlines from the newspapers or offers detailed history in small print. But these are minor flaws that do not take away from the grand epic.

If you are reading the work in English, make sure you use the version translated by H.T. Willetts that was released in 1989 and FSG published the paperback in 2000. This version, unlike the original, contains a scathing look at Lenin as well as a detailed description of the rise and death of Stolypin, the one Russian statesman who may have been able to lead Tsarist Russia through the chaos it would succumb to during the Great War.

Be warned. This is an epic undertaking. The book is almost a 1,000 pages and I advise you keep notes on characters, events and places. This is not a book for everyone. But it is a great epic and, if not up to the level of "War and Peace", "August 1914" is still in the same ballpark. How many other recent novels can we make that claim about? ... Read more

 Hardcover: 296 Pages (1977)

Isbn: 0246109726
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

17. We Never Make Mistakes
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Paperback: 138 Pages (1971-03)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$7.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393005984
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

18. HALF-WAY TO THE MOON, New Writing From Russia
by Patricia, and Max Hayward, Editors (Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Andrei Voznes BLAKE
 Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1965-01-01)

Asin: B000IZQVMI
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Paperback: 594 Pages (1999)

Isbn: 0349111154
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

20. Alexander Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Monarch notes)
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Paperback: 77 Pages (1985-10)
list price: US$4.25
Isbn: 0671009761
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (1)


  1-20 of 100 | Next 20
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  

Prices listed on this site are subject to change without notice.
Questions on ordering or shipping? click here for help.

site stats