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Concentrates on life in the Gulag and Solzhenitsyns harrowing experiences and others around him. This volume reads more like a novel IMHO, and is great first person account of the horrors of the Terror and life in the Gulag, from a 20th century icon. Highly recommend for anyone with interest in the Soviet era of Russian history.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Reading or listening to this book is a massive undertaking, but well worth it. The translation is brilliant, the chapters sounding like they were written primarily in English by a master wordsmith such as Gibbon or Thackeray. It is indeed fortunate that the English language has more words than any other: nothing is lost, and the translator, if good, can actually amplify meaning - as he does here.
The authenticity of Solzhenitsyn's experience is clearly beyond question. It is even acknowledged by the present Putin regime, and the work is obligatory reading in Russian schools today. Listening to this detailed chronical of suffering, torture, starvation, depersonalization and arbitary murder - on a mind-boggling scale - there can be no doubt of the moral, social, economic and intellectual bankruptcy of the communist system.
But wait! When was the book first published in the West? It was as long ago as 1973. Did those left wing sympathizers of the seventies and eighties, those 'useful idiots,' those protesters, those hippies, those Bertrand Russels not read this book? If they did, their understanding must have been clouded by the fumes of a forbidden substance.
Yet, within this massive work of oppression and slavery, we occasionally glimpse the human spirit flaring up in a few brave, doomed souls striking out for justice, and dignity. Those short bright flares inspire us to cheer and shout 'Freedom!' from the rooftops. Long may communism be relagated to its rightful place in the dustbin of history!
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
Great narration of a story about your worst nightmare. Does communism have any success stories?
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I appreciate listening to this book in times that are overshadowed with nationalism, isolationism, mass migrations and wars, and change in status quo. Not least that it was book recommended by uncle who spent 12 years in archipelago and I consider him my closest relative too.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful