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The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An…

The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation… (1973)

by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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1,149810,960 (4.25)12
This is a book that 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 covers what the author calls "The destructive-Labor camps" and the fate of prisoners in them, felling timber, building canals and railroads, mining gold without equipment or adequate food or clothing, and subject always to the caprices of the camp authorities. Most tragic of all is the life of the women prisoners...and of the luckless children they bear.… (more)



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Showing 4 of 4
A heavy read but uplifted by one of the most moving chapters I have read in any book in a long time: The Ascent. This book, the second in the series, details life in the hard labor camps of the Gulag and the subculture of the zek-ah Nation. Solzhenitsyn's thought and words are insightful, wise and moving. I am excitedly beginning the third volume now. ( )
  pspringmeyer | Aug 29, 2019 |
Under the Czars Russia produced many great writers, but under the Soviets there was only one, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. His Gulag Archipelago is a masterpiece, it is literature and a record of one of the most monstrous times in history. The Soviet Union, like Nazi Germany and Japan during the Second World War was a slave empire. Together they were the three slave empires of the Twentieth Century. Solzhenitsyn looks at the life of the Corrective Labour Camps, known as GULAG. And like a chain of islands, known as an archipelago, these camps spread right across the Soviet Union. Hence the title of "The Gulag Archipelago".

He starts off here in his second volume with the birth of the camps right at the start of the Russian Revolution. Then the first camp on Solovetsky, the building of the White Sea Canal and the spread of the camps throughout the Soviet Union. How the camps provided both free labour to build the Socialist economy, and that they also destroyed "through labour" those opposed in word, deed or thought to the Soviet Government. What does destroyed through labour mean? It means these people were worked to death. They were murdered as surely as if they had been shot, which the Soviet Government did as well.

He includes chapters on those loyal Communists sent to the Gulags, on how Gulag influenced the entire society, on the Zeks as the prisoners were known, on women, on the Guards, on the 58's (the political prisoners), on the Thiefs. It is hard to think of anything that has been left out. Throughout there are personal stories, things that he experienced and saw, things that others experienced. He includes stories on both those who survived and those who died. His research is impressive and his knowledge is extensive and he admits when he doesn't know something. How impressive is his research? This was the first real study of the Gulags and 40 years after it was published it is still one of the best. It just covers so many bases.

No book is perfect and it must be admitted that most people who start this book will not finish it, it is a heavy book in every sense of the word. This volume is volume 2 for a start, further it's nearly 700 pages long, thats a lot of reading. It is also about the death and destruction of millions of lives. To quote George Orwell out of context, most people do not want to read 700 pages of " If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever". When it was written the Soviet Union existed, it no longer does. What I found interesting is how many things I found that were still current in the world. ( )
  bookmarkaussie | Sep 18, 2016 |
incredible. especially book 4 ( )
  vanjr | Oct 4, 2015 |
This is the stunning continuation of Solzhenitsyn's "experiement in Literary history" about the Stalinist Gulag (prison camps). In the first volume, Solzhenitsyn took us into the lives of the "zeks" (prisoners) starting with the arrest. In this volume he takes us deep into the heart of the camps, and it is a broken heart. Ironically though, it is in this demonic atmosphere that Solzhenitsyn finds his spiritual grounding, which he recounts in this volume.

If you made it through the first volume, you owe it to yourself to keep going, for their is as much value here as you found in Part I. ( )
  Arctic-Stranger | Jan 29, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Aleksandr Solzhenitsynprimary authorall editionscalculated
Applebaum, AnneForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peet, D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peturnig, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smit, P. deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walter, ErnstTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weijers, MonseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whitney, Thomas P.Photographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dritter Teil
Nur die da können es verstehen, wo selbst mit uns haben aus einem Napf gelöffelt.
(Aus dem Brief einer lagerentlassenen huzulischen Bäuerin)
Vierter Teil
Siehe, ich sage euch ein Geheimnis: Wir werden nicht alle sterben, aber wir werden alle verwandelt werden.
(Brief an die Korinther, 15,51)
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Eos, die Rosenfingrige, von Homer so oft Erwähnte, von den Römern aber Aurora Genannte, ließ ihre zarte Berührung auch dem ersten frühen Morgen des Archipels angedeihen.

(Deutsche Übersetzung von Anna Peturnig und Ernst Walter)
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Aleksandr Solzhenistyn's The Gulag Archipelago has been published in a number of formats, and is catalogued in a variety of ways. The complete work consists of seven parts, often divided into three volumes as follow: Volume One, consisting of Part I ("The Prison Industry") and Part II ("Perpetual Motion"); Volume Two, consisting of Part III ("The Destructive-Labor Camps") and Part IV ("The Soul and Barbed Wire"); and Volume III, consisting of Part V ("Katorga"), Part VI ("Exile") and Part VII ("Stalin Is No More").


Please do not combine other copies having materially different content (e.g., Parts I-II, Parts V-VII, the complete work, an omnibus [such as Parts I-VI], any individual Part, or the abridged version). Thank you.
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