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Gulag Archipelago, The (Harvill Press Editions)
Gulag Archipelago, The (Harvill Press Editions)
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
Edition: Paperback

34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Already we have begun to forget, 1 May 2001
Recently i went into a large and well known bookstore in Glasgow because I wanted to buy this truly great book as a gift. The store was overrun by children and their parents who were buying the "new Harry Potter" When I asked an assisstant to find out if I could still buy this book in the original three volume edition she was unable to tell me. She had heard neither of The Gulag nor of Solzhenitsyn. She had to leave our conversation here as she had more Harry Potters' to attend to. Somehow this difficulty acted as a spur and made me more determined than ever to find the three volume set as a gift for my friend.... This truly great and historic book should be required reading. It is a matter of National Importance tha works like this are always available in print and always there when required. Totalatarianism has not gone away. It has changed it's clothes, hired some PR and now wears a little tasteful jewellery but it is still with us, still very much alive. The weight of Solzhenitsyns' experience and his extraordinary ability to wite seriously, in a way that is now qite uncommon in the west, makes these volumes vital literature and a compelling vision of a past coming to life again in Central Europe and elsewhere. One of the truly great artistic achievements of the 20th Century and one of the most powerful episodes of defiance and courage in the face of terror you will ever read. `it's true greatness, however, might lie in it's warmth and it's love for fellow prisoners. An essential life affirming testament to courage and decency.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 24, 2012 8:44 PM GMT

American Tabloid
American Tabloid
by James Ellroy
Edition: Paperback

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars much to admire in this extraordinary book but little to like, 23 April 2001
This review is from: American Tabloid (Paperback)
Reading this book is a little like enduring some particular -if temporary - form of mental illness. It is trip inside the lives of a variety of characters -both real and imagined-who are connected by strings of violence and puddles of loathing. There is an almost total absence of those virtues that feature so highly in the mythology of America - truth, honour, fair play and personal integrity. Even within the writer himself you sense the same darkness and the same anger that drives so many of the characters of this novel. Ellroy also takes us deep inside Washington and provides an arena for the politicians to reveal themselves - naked and disgraced - as the real gangsters, the real torcholders of self serving viciousness, double dealing and the American Way. There is something dark-really dark- in James Ellroys writing and in the man himself. There is little to lift us and give us hope for the species. You are left feeling that lunch with James Ellroy might turn out to be a heavy meal. Ultimately, however, this book is a great triumph because it leaves you certain that even if all as it is described is not entirely all as it happened it does not matter. For those parts that might not be entirely true convince as being absolutely real! What is revealed in this book is neither lovely nor good but it emerges from any careful reading triumphant because of the power and the quality of the writing which left me believing absolutely that these characters and the edgy affluent and violent events they moved through ultimately consumed them and corrupted them completely. This was no golden age - this was no Camelot and these were not chivarous men. Thankfully we now live in better more accountable times - don't we? This remains for me an extraordinary well written book teeling a story that may or may not contain any historical accuracy but it is a book which wonderfully evokes a time and place more successfully than we could really expect. A wonderful book and -in my view- the finest work -so far - of the finest crime writer working in America to-day and a crime writer only rivalled by the great Jim Thomson as the finest of the century. READ THIS BOOK

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