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August 1914 Paperback – May 15, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Red Wheel (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reissue edition (May 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374519994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374519995
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This edition of the Nobel laureate's epic novel of Russian history, which was first published in English in 1972 ( LJ 10/15/72), contains all of the text from the original plus additional material written after Solzhenitsyn's exile from the USSR in 1974. "Screen sequences" indicate technical instructions for the shooting of a film.-- MR
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A grand meditation on history, a masterly re-creation of people and faces caught up in the sweep of time, symbolized by a rolling fiery red wheel. The work is breathtaking in scope . . . Much credit for its power must go to Mr. Willetts's superb translation."--Gary Kern, The New York Times

"It is now clear that [Solzhenitsyn] towers over all his contemporaries, European, American, and Latin American . . . The greatness of Russia is in this novel as it has not been in any work of fiction since the generation of Dostoevski and Tolstoy."--Lionel Abel, The Wall Street Journal

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Customer Reviews

This is not an easy book to read--but it's one of the greatest novels I've ever read.
Shawn P. Rife
A worthy successor to his great Russian forbears, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn has created a masterpiece of war literature with this unforgettable novel.
Mark Nadja
Chiefly, the book is all about the first two weeks of World War One from the Russian perspective.
Patrick W. Crabtree

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Robert Wynkoop on August 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
August 1914
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
I remember when my son was little. He would bring me August 1914 and ask me to read it to him. There were no pictures in this book, but he knew that it was a book that I loved. So we would lie on his bed and as I opened the book and read to him about a world he could only discover in a book. Solzhenitsyn is one of my hero?s, a moral voice speaking against the tyranny of Soviet repression. This book about the battle of Tennenberg in August 1914 is not only a brilliant historical novel, but also a critique of the forces that lead to the October Revolution in Russia. Let?s talk about the story, before we continue the review.
The story is about the entrance of Imperial Russia into World War I. War is declared and Russia in its hurry to honor its commitments to France, invades Prussia. Its army under the leadership of General Samsonov is unprepared for war and Russia suffers a humiliating defeat as the army is surrounded and destroyed. The story is told through the eyes of a Colonel Vorotyntsey who alone sees the coming disaster and vainly tries to avert it.
It is a story of an Army that did not understand modern warfare. Samsonov, a cavalry officer, is used to sitting on his horse and viewing the battlefield; this battlefield, however, stretches for hundreds of miles. Communication is non-existent; supplies are scarce. The Germans, however, understood the new technology and were able to listen in on all the Russian communications. Samsonov makes one blunder after another; he is out classed and doesnt know what to do. With his army collapsing around him, he is lost. Lost in a forest, he ends his life with a bullet as he and his staff are attempting to escape the encirclement.
It is a wonderfully written book.
Read more ›
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Frank Marton on February 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
For lovers of Russian literature and history buffs, this is a terrific book! If you're not a fan of this genre, however, it's going to be ONE TOUGH READ. Solzhenitsyn throws in characters with machine-gun rapidity as well as hundreds of local historical references that will be lost on many folks simply eager to find out about a bit about one of the greatest writers of the century.
That having been said, this one is a winner. Rich description, lovely prose and Solzhenitsyn's obvious love for his homeland are woven into a terrific work that offers deep insights into the Russian view this tumultuous period in their history. For my money, the portion of the book dealing the desperate Russian army and their misguided leaders is Solzhenitsyn at his finest: brutally accurate and never lacking in a deeper understanding of the flawed human beings that made up the events.
This is a must read, but don't make it your first foray into Russian literature or Solzhenitsyn. Try a shorter, less complex work first and then move to this if you like the genre.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
August 1914 is a historical novel examining the causes for the decline of 19th Century aristocratic Russia to a 20th Century Russia of Socialist experimentation. Solzhenitsyn (AS) picks up his 20th Century analysis of Russia where Tolstoy left off his 19th Century point of view. This is a powerful novel displaying history, as it defines its causality. It grapples with the character of the Russian who is about to face revolutionary change which will deliver the country and its people from an agrarian peasant society to an industrialist monstrous social catastrophe. AS examines how and why Russia went socialist. For students of the French Revolution, August 1914 is another manifestation of how that earlier revolution influenced and occurred in Russia. For students interested in the transition of a culture from 19th Century behavior and values to extreme expiramental 20th political practices, this book is mandatory. August 1914 best demonstrates Henry Adams' forecast that the 19th century mode of life would change radically in the 20th century. AS' dynamo is a war, a romantic urge and a people who are ready for change and have the temperment to change as they did. This is truly an absorbing book and an important book to anyone interested in the influence of Russia in the 20th century. It is a must read for anyone who is interested in Russian history. In fact, it is a great place to start for anyone who is beginning a survey of Russia of history.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Matt Boisen on December 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Though the translation suffers a little, this novel of the last golden days of Imperial Russia and the frenzied destruction of the "old order" by the Bolsheviks remains one of my favorites. Although Solzhenitsyn wasn't born until 1918, it's as if he were strolling alongside Gorky and Tomchak and the other personalities that feature into his tale during that awful time.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
If you have the original August 1914, you'll want to sell it to a used book store and use the money to buy this version. The original pales in comparision to Solzhenitsyn's complete effort in the revised version. The new version displays all of Solzhenitsyn's mastery of language and description, while the original was choppy and incomplete. Using Solzhenitsyn's screen directions, the original was in black and white, and the revised version is in living color. This book clearly qualifies Solzhenitsyn for Tolstoy status.
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