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The Gulag Archipelago Paperback – January 30, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: The Harvill Press (January 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843430851
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843430858
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"To live now and not to know this work is to be a kind of historical fool missing a crucial part of the consciousness of the age" -- W.L. Webb Guardian "The ferocious testimony of a man of genius" -- Stephen Spender London Magazine "What gives the book its value is the sound it gives out; the harsh roar give out by a wise and experienced animal as a warning that the herd is in danger" -- Rebecca West Sunday Telegraph "He is one of the towering figures of the age as a writer, as moralist, as hero... in The Gulag Archipelago he has acheived the impossible" -- Edward Crankshaw Observer

About the Author

Aleksander Solzhenitsyn was born in Kislovodsk, Russia, in 1918. He was brought up in Rostov, where he graduated in mathematics and physics in 1941. After distinguished service with the Red Army in the Second World War, he was imprisoned from 1945 to 1953 for making unfavourable remarks about Josef Stalin. He was rehabilitated in 1956, but in 1969 he was expelled from the Soviet Writers' Union for denouncing official censorship of his work. He was forcibly exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974 and deported to West Germany. Later he settled in America, but after Soviet officials finally dropped charges against him in 1991, he returned to his homeland in 1994 and died in August 2008, aged 89. He has written many books, of which One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Cancer Ward and The Gulag Archipelago are his best known.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Overall a very thought-provoking book.
bruce williams
This was a wonderful insightful look into a hidden suffering that was carried by so many people.
Natalie
This book should be a mandatory part of every high school curriculum in all countries.
Yannick Mazy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By David S. Wellhauser on October 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Although there is nothing inherently wrong with abridgements, books like this, and this book in particular, should never be abridged. I have read the 3 volume paperback version and it is worth the time...and some effort.

I'm writing this review so people will know they are buying the abridged version and not as an attempt to trash this masterwork. This is a great book! Because of this it should be read in its entirety.

Also, as an eBook there is no reason all 3 books could not be sold as one...after all, there is no weight to them.

Happy Reading.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brian Tucker on September 11, 2012
Format: Unknown Binding Verified Purchase
I had purchased The Gulag Archipelago for my Kindle but ordered the hard copy at the same time, mainly because while the Kindle is great for travelling, nothing beats the real deal. Images that might as well not exist in the Kindle are clear (and disturbing) in this New Boston Fine and Rare Books edition. The book itself is of a very high quality, paper and font appropriate to the era and content, well bound and with a smart and robust slipcase. This is my first purchase from this publisher but I feel it is the start of a long and satisfying relationship; I love reading and, clearly, they bring the same passion to publishing.

The Gulag is a book that covers a long and horrifying period of Russian history, of enslavement and brutality, with astonishing mortality rates. Of those who did not perish, few retained any semblance of physical or mental health. The author is perhaps the only survivor with the intellectual strength and determination to remember and recount the horrors of that period. Throughout the book there is a sense that there is much, much more to tell, that the author is restraining himself from unleashing the full flood and overwhelming the reader. This book is not a relaxing read, it is heavy going but you will find yourself going back and re-reading passages, scarcely able to accept that humans are capable of such cruelty to their fellows, with no limit to their ability to dream up new and more imaginative forms of punishment. At the same time intense anger and frustration abounds; not directed towards the camp guards and administrators, but to all those who knew something, said nothing, condoned everything. Especially in the west, the free world, the land of the 'useful idiots' and the gullible.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Phil Renteria on March 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a testimony of Russia's tragedy, and although Steven Spielberg will never tell this story, we have something much better in Solzhenitsyn: we have a man whose Will was made of iron and who survived it all and documented the story for the whole world.

This book is like eating prehistorical salamanders (you will have to read the book to understand this reference).
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 1997
Format: Paperback
If one defines a totalitarian sytsm as a classification of government which attempts, throught the use of power and coercion, to control and regulate all aspects of communication and organizational life, there can be no doubt that The Gulag System, as depicted in The Gulag Arcipelago was in fact a mirror reflection of the larger totalitarian regime, and the epitome of ideological disparity which both motovated and inhibited Russo-American relations throughout the cold war era.

A skillfully crafted true-to-life account of the penal system of the Stalinist regime. Awesome in the true sense of the word.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RK on April 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book can be repetitive at times. The writing is a bit rough at times. The subject matter is not for everyone to read, but if there is one book that is a summary of the brutality of the Stalinist system, this is it. Too many people forget about the purges in the USSR under Stalin, but this book is a reminder to everyone to read your history so it will not be repeated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yannick Mazy on September 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book should be a mandatory part of every high school curriculum in all countries. Generation after generation we must know what we could face if we allow for any authoritarian regime to rise and rule again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Write Craft on May 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent series about the Soviet forced labour camp system. It was well-researched and used eyewitness accounts as well. The name means "Chief Administration of Corrective Labour Camps."
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Format: Paperback
A well written account of the entire corrupt system with its cruelties of the forced labour camps and the enslavement of the Russian people between 1918-56. It rather reads like that of a mother (or father) who systematically murders her own children, enslaving the rest so that she does not have to tarnish her hands with grime, hard work, or make any sacrifices in times of difficulty, but lives in luxury with the minimum of effort. To quote Solzhenitsyn, as he refers to returning Russian POWs returning back home after the end of WW2, "What is the right course of action if our mother has sold us to the gypsies? No, even worse, thrown us to the dogs? Does she really remain our mother? If a wife has become a whore, are we really still bound to her fidelity? A Motherland that betrays its soldiers - is that really a Motherland?" Or to quote again referring to the Russian soldier serving in the Red Army, who is never permitted by statute to surrender under any circumstances to the opposing force, " What it means is: Go and die, we will go on living. And if you lose your legs, yet manage to return from captivity on crutches, we will convict you." As Solzhenitsyn is a pains to point out the disease of the Soviet system is the disease of human nature and the disease of human nature effects everyone of us and if there is such thing as the hero, his or her story is largely unsung, suppressed and is an ordinary person. Could our real hero be like the One described in Isaiah 53:2b-3, "He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him." I recommend this book. It is clear and well written and has a message to tell worth our attention!
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