'The time may come when we date the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet system from the appearance of Gulag... (Frankfurter Allgemeine).
A multi-faceted work defying adequate summary, The Gulag Archipelago reflects the brilliant mind of its author. Encompassing seven parts originally published in three volumes in English, the work revealed to the world for the first time the extent of the oppressive prison camp system of the Soviet Union. The author himself went from serving as a military officer at the front during World War II to being a prisoner in the Gulag for the crime of writing a veiled criticism of Stalin in a letter to a friend. Witnessing many horrors and hearing of many more, Solzhenitsyn felt that his ''duty to the dead permitted no self indulgence.'' He had to tell the world about it. After writing The Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn kept it hidden for years to protect those about whom he wrote: men, women, and children consigned to spend years of their lives and often to die in prison for crimes of opinion, or of being related to someone in prison, or of returning home from being a prisoner of war, or of being the wrong ethnicity, or of writing the wrong sort of poem. Solzhenitsyn writes of the many innocent prisoners, ''no, not only do you not repent, but your clean conscience, like a clear mountain lake, shines in your eyes. And your eyes, purified by suffering, infallibly perceive the least haze in other eyes; for example, they infallibly pick out stool pigeons. And the Cheka is not aware of this capacity of ours to see with the eyes of truth -- it is our secret weapon against that institution.'' Where another man would despair, Solzhenitsyn laces the bitter truth with hope and mercy. His accomplishment in this work will stand through time as a sad testimony of the first century after man declared God dead. One volume abridged edition, 784 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
Solzhenitsyn's gripping epic masterpiece, the searing record of four decades of Soviet terror and oppression, in one abridged volume, authorized by the author