Jan 23, 2008

The Gulag Archipelago

by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
translated by Thomas P. Whitney

I found this item in a box of unwanted books at my mother's house during my last visit. I asked if I could take some reading material and she said sure, nobody wants those. Now I know why The Gulag Archipalego was passed up. It is a headache (for me) and full of horrors. It is a very detailed account of the prison system in the Soviet Union, 1918- 1956. I read forty pages about the various manners in which people could be arrested, and why no citizens protested. Then got bombarded with names, dates and history of notable peoples and groups who were oppressed/attacked/imprisoned. Then it launched into descriptions of the awful tortures, psychological and physical, that prisoners were subjected to. And there were 620 more pages, and two more published volumes which I've never seen, after that. I couldn't take it. So I quit reading it.

Abandoned ...0/5... 660 pages, 1974

5 comments:

verbivore said...

I've heard about this book but didn't realize how dark it was (although perhaps I should have from the title). I may try it once myself!

Jeane said...

If you read it, I'd love to hear what you think. I can't really judge the book as I didn't complete it.

Tara said...

That sounds rough. If you want to try this author again, A Day in the Life of Alexander Sol... (sorry not sure) is a quick read and very informative about the Gulags. I own the book Gulag which won the Pulitzer, but haven't gotten to it yet.

Jeane said...

Tara- Do you mean A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch? I've read and enjoyed that one very much; it gave me a clear picture of what life was like in the prison camps. I should've mentioned that in my post.

Tara said...

Absolutely, that's it! Where is my brain??