- Series: Penguin Modern Classics (Book 19)
- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classic (November 28, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141184744
- ISBN-13: 978-0141184746
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 625 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,046,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Modern Classics One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich (Penguin Modern Classics)
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About the Author
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a Russian novelist, historian, and short story writer. He was an outspoken critic of the Soviet Union and its totalitarianism and helped to raise global awareness of its Gulag forced labor camp system.
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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 is the translation included in the Kindle. 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?
One chapter sticks out: Chapter 82 -- Indoctrination in Optimism. It can stand alone, and provides a crushing description of life not only in the Gulag but also life in the Soviet Union outside of the Gulag. It should be read by every high school student for its literary merit, and also for its content.
The foreword points out how the previous "censored" version, while itself great, presents a tamer story. This uncensored version should be the one you read.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Note: This is a Russian novel, in the sense of The Brothers Karamazov. By that I mean it is long, and has much introspection and dialogue on philosophical topics. That's not a bug, but a feature. And it is worth it to take your time reading those chapters.
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