• The Gulag Archipelago, Volume l

  • The Prison Industry and Perpetual Motion
  • By: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 26 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 08-30-11
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.7 (994 ratings)

Regular price: $34.96

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Publisher's Summary

In this masterpiece, Solzhenitsyn has orchestrated thousands of incidents and individual histories into one narrative of unflagging power and momentum. Written in a tone that encompasses Olympian wrath, bitter calm, savage irony, and sheer comedy, it combines history, autobiography, documentary, and political analysis as it examines in its totality the Soviet apparatus of repression from its inception following the October Revolution of 1917.
This volume involves us in the innocent victim's arrest and preliminary detention and the stages by which he is transferred across the breadth of the Soviet Union to his ultimate destination: the hard-labor camp.
©1973 Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn (P)1989 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By joseph on 11-19-12

Not for the feint of heart

I find this book to be much like like life itself. It is difficult. It is a slog. There is much that is tedious (It is even exhaustive to passively listen to while one does other things like drive across country or the dishes). But it is also many other things. It can be oddly beautiful. At times there are moments when Solzhenistsyn stops, breaks from the narrative history that he is relaying, and gives exquisite moments to the reader. They are beautiful and heartbreaking and make it all worthwhile. I know no other work like it. Like anything that is worthwhile, it takes work. It is not easy. But it is highly rewarding. I did not always enjoy the book while i was listening to it, but I was very happy I did listen to it, when I was finished with the work

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79 of 79 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Adam on 12-06-15

MUST READ

Would you consider the audio edition of The Gulag Archipelago, Volume l to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version, but because this is a review for all three volumes, I must point out that I wouldn't have had the stamina to read the three volume work. That said I feel that this should be required reading for American politicians and planners of any sort... Why? because all too often planners get caught up in the dream of creating utopias -- in Solzhenitsyn's staggering work, he tells the stories of those whom were ground up in the gears of a utopia -- or perhaps more appropriately, a real world dystopia. If anyone had an inclination to think that most contemporary dystopian stories wax a little stupid, this massive 3 work volume will make contemporary dystopian fiction impossible to listen to -- and I mean that in a good way. Fact has been said to be stranger than fiction, and in this case much more terrible. Gave me new perspectives on how to look at histories, especially revisionist ones of ancient societies especially given that so little is known to the outside world of those doomed to life in the gulags.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The author, there are no character's per se. I liked the author very much though because he was able to tell his story with an almost poetic (and sometimes humorous/ironic) flare that helped make the horrors he was describing more palatable. Not palatable in the sense of being acceptable, but he helped shield you with such a way that while the horror was never lost on you, you were also unable to look away.

What about Frederick Davidson’s performance did you like?

He captured the irony of the author perfectly. The nuances and inflections also helped convey the character. If I were reading this silently in my head, I think the book might've been too depressing and difficult to complete. That said, there is an abridged version which I plan to purchase for my own home library at some point.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A real world dystopia.

Any additional comments?

It's difficult at times to get through because sometimes it will make you feel like you're losing faith in humanity, but just when you feel like you're ready to give up -- the author redeems you with his sharp wit and philosophical perceptions that provide hope and also "scale" for the troubles we face in our own lives. After listening to this, I definitely feel I've become more solemn and less neurotic in my own approach and dealings with things that are out of one's hands.

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27 of 27 people found this review helpful

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