Customer Reviews


21 Reviews
5 star:
 (18)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shines a light on some deeply disturbing aspects of 20th Century history, 6 Feb 2007
By 
H. Walker - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Gulag Archipelago [Abridged] (Harvill Press Editions) (Paperback)
A reader from Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK, writes:

Bearing in mind Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel prize for literature principally for this book, this might help you draw your own conclusions about its merit. This is the abridged version of the full 3 volume book, abridged by an American academic with the author's consent and cooperation, in a conscious effort to increase its readership and alert the wider world of the tyrannical regime experienced by the people of the Soviet Union under Stalin and others. The fact that the book has been shortened makes for gaps and omissions that are fairly apparent to the reader and as a result the book does lose its way a little, and parts of the book towards the end I found fairly heavy going. However for those of us who don't read the full version this is perhaps the price that we pay.

Despite the abridgment, the book remains a weighty tome yet like other books by Solzhenitsyn remains surprisingly accessible. Furthermore it is a hugely significant historical document, bringing to light the system of prisons, transit and work camps of the Soviet Union, generally focusing on the 1930s-1950s period, though with some overlap at either end. The sheer scale of this cruel operation is almost unbelievable to the modern reader, partly because we live in an age in which this whole enterprise seems to have been swept under the carpet. Anyone interested in 20th century history will find this book a remarkable insight.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding...., 18 Nov 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Gulag Archipelago [Abridged] (Harvill Press Editions) (Paperback)
I had been quite naive to the atrocities carried out during the Russian communist regime under Joseph Stalin until I read Child 44 - the epilogue of which detailed a number of facts and numbers about those who died, who were imprisoned and those (literally millions) who were sent to various gulags to suffer years of torment and abuse. Tom Rob Smith also cites the Gulag Archipelago as one of his sources and I decided to learn more.

Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago is an astounding work. And even more astounding is that what was done in the name of communism has essentially been whitewashed by history, bar books such as this. It is terrifying to think that what Hitler was doing for 2 years was being done to the populace of the USSR for almost 40. To put it in perspective, around 60 million Russians (and Finnish, Germans, Ukrainians, Jews...the list goes on) died during this period - the population of Britain! This was 40 years of execution, starvation, torture, fear and denouncement. No one was ever brought to account (unlike the majority of the Nazis) and the perpetrator of all of this died of a stroke at the ripe old age of 75.

Solzhenitsyn encompasses all of this and more. The main focus is the Gulag system however he begins with the fear of arrest, the torture and imprisonment, and then moves to the archipelago. The subject is understandably an emotional one and the prose is punctured by asides from the author berating the system and also berating those who - as late as the 70's - were obviously still trying to keep a lid on what had happened. This makes the book incredibly personal and all the more interesting from a person who lived through all of this (along with stories and quotes from other witnesses and victims) rather than a more objective modern view.

The only negatives for me are that the book sometimes feels slightly disjointed. It is an abridged version of the earlier publications which were 4 books covering the entire period - and there are areas where chapters have been taken out which might (in my view) have been better kept in. Particularly a chapter on an escape attempt which I would have loved to have read (and will look up). Also, Solzhenitsyn sometimes goes into very descriptive chapters on the Russian system which - whilst necessary - can be a little dry. All of this aside, this book should be read by everyone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enlightening Work, 22 Nov 2009
This review is from: The Gulag Archipelago [Abridged] (Harvill Press Editions) (Paperback)
I had this recommended by someone who lived under communist rule. Before I read this book, I had only a general inclination what went on in Stalinist USSR. This book brings to life the many atrocities committed under that regime.

The abridgement is a bit disjointed in places, but I imagine it makes it much more readable than the original three volume work.

A well written and important piece of literature.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book!, 10 Nov 2009
This review is from: The Gulag Archipelago [Abridged] (Harvill Press Editions) (Paperback)
Absolutely fantastic book, I recommend it to everyone. Don't let the size scare you. You could probably even open it half way through and still get on with it - as it was written in many parts. I really can't get over what was happening in russia at that time, and this book really brings it to life. The story surrounding how this book was written is amazing in itself!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read, 3 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Gulag Archipelago [Abridged] (Harvill Press Editions) (Paperback)
I have read this book several times and I would definitely recommend to anyone. Truly moving account of life in communist Russia and the Gulag camps.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An epic work, 26 Oct 2009
By 
Z. Gleisner (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Gulag Archipelago [Abridged] (Harvill Press Editions) (Paperback)
I'm sure its all been said before, but this is an enormous work. It was a considerable effort to read it, but well worth it. The descriptions were very detailed and gave you a sense of actually being there. My understanding of the Gulag was greatly enhanced by reading this book. Make the effort!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gulag archipelago, 21 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
only 30 pages in so far but it's as detailed in its awful depiction of arrest and trial as 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich' is of life in the camps. can't wait to get further in to the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this books, 7 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Can't believe I've waited until my 40's to read this incredible book. 1st hand accounts of bravery courage and philosophy on the human capacity for good and evil
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsettling!, 22 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Gulag Archipelago [Abridged] (Harvill Press Editions) (Paperback)
To say that I loved the book is wrong. To award it five stars is right .... Like all factual stories of this kind it is frightening! It makes you wonder what kind of political ideology could adopt and condone such a senseless vendetta against its own citizens. What kind of mentality abandons compassion and reason to unleash a cruel and deadly campaign that culminated in the painful death of millions of innocent people. It is a heart-breaking read of fear and paranoia on a massive scale. Not a happy book but an eye-opening look at what (with a little imagination) could quite easily be allowed to happen again!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic read, 26 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Gulag Archipelago [Abridged] (Harvill Press Editions) (Paperback)
have always wanted to read this but needed to have time to concentrate on it properly.i recall hearing some of it at school in the late 70s and watched with shock when he returned to russia in 1990, because i could not comprehend how somebody would want to go home to a land that treated its citizens so appallingly. if im honest i guess i am no nearer to undersatnding that because this book exposes some of the most horrendous crimes and torture imposed on its citizens, and i struggle to imagine how this could have happened in the modern world. i am glad i read the book and i would recommend it to anyone with an interest in russian history, but it is very brutal sometimes and at other times heartwarming when looking at relationships between people who feel they have no hope.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Gulag Archipelago [Abridged] (Harvill Press Editions)
The Gulag Archipelago [Abridged] (Harvill Press Editions) by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Paperback - 30 Jan 2003)
11.89
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews