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Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The old boy\’s died.

Here\’s the Telegraphs obit.

I have to admit I thought that a lot of his later ideas were slightly crackpot, especially after his return to Russia.

However, a great man and the work which had the biggest effect upon me was Gulag Archipelago. I read the whole thing (not the abridged version) over a few days for the first time when actually living in Moscow. We were rather confined to quarters by the attempted parliamentary coup against Yeltsin by that strange combination of nationalists and communists.

A little odd to be listening to the tanks revving up at Petrovka 38, just outside the window, before they went off to shell the Parliament building…the inhabitants of which seemed to want to bring back to least parts of the system he had written about.

If you haven\’t read it I strongly suggest you do, all thousands (?) of pages of it.

3 thoughts on “Alexander Solzhenitsyn”

  1. You read Gulag in three days? Wow.

    That book told me all I needed to know about the Soviet Union.

    Tim adds: I quite literally couldn’t leave the apartment. Guns going off down the street etc.

  2. I never read The Gulag Archipaelego, probably because I read Anne Applebaum’s Gulag first and that referenced the best bits.

    But One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Cancer Ward are excellent contemporary pieces, if not the best literature. I thought both were great books.

  3. I would recommend “The First Circle” and “August 1914”.They sobered me up when I was a dissolute teenager.

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