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96 Reviews
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling & thought provoking- Solzhenitsyn at his finest
First and foremost, this book conveys the barbarity of Stalin's concentration camps. By writing the novel from the perspective of an uncomplicated utilitarian, Solzhenitsyn's message is conveyed in a simple but extremely effective way. By drawing on his own experiences in such a camp, his account of this single day is both authoratative and compelling. Beyond that...
Published on 14 Feb 2001

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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the best translation
I read this book, in this translation, when it was first published in English in the 1960s. It was the beginning of a life-long interest in Solzhentisyn. His work presents a formidable challenge to translators and sadly, this not the best translation available and I am surprised the Penguin are still publishing it. The translation by H. T Willets published by Harper...
Published on 17 Oct 2011 by Graham


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4.0 out of 5 stars Hard hitting, enlightening, 4 April 1999
By A Customer
Perhaps the most important work to emerge from the Cold War years, this well constructed and accessible narrative keeps the reader gripped by the throat throughout. Universally acclaimed for its success in throwing light upon what was previously unchartered literary territory, this book should be read by anyone with an interest in 20th century history and current affairs.
The style is very easy going and empathy with Solzhenitsyn's main character is automatic. The aim of the author is obvious and all who read it will, I think, sympathise with him. Definately read this book.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak but beautifully written, 26 Jan 2004
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is a book which can be judged by its cover. The novel is an account of a typical day for the protagonist, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, who is a prisoner in a Siberian labour camp.
This is a novel which is truly effective in conveying the brutality of a regime. Solzhenitsyn’s writing is void of sentimentality and the story of Shukhov’s day is told from a seemingly objective point of view, using direct fact within fiction, rather than opinion in order to describe the conditions of the camp.
Although the subject matter may sound dull or depressing, this is never the case, with Solzhenitsyn’s brief yet detailed prose clearly demonstrating the ways in which the prisoners adapt to get through their lives. When detail is included it is always a perfect amount, and graphic without being overly so and the characters are at once ordinary and exceptional.
The book’s subject matter does not make it a highly enjoyable read, but it is definitely a novel worth reading, for the pleasure of Solzhenitsyn’s perfectly balanced writing and the thought-provoking and relevant issues it conveys.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a novel - a survival manual, 8 July 2007
By 
Sarakani (Harrow United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
You find yourself in a freezing Siberian work camp on limited, disgusting food and conditions and a regime that gives you barely any relaxation but pain day in day out - how would you survive? So gripping did I find this book (versions differ, the earlier versions were less explicit than the unexpurgated text that forms the basis of post 60s editions) that I did not ge off my train on time and ended up in a freezing station having to get back home. It's enough to make anyone give up, but Denisovich (Sukhov or Shukov) does not. Shukov is his surname is a survivor who measures and calculates his survival strategy to a T and has almost become instutionalised into his gulag camp. Would he be happy to win his freedom? By the end of the book this question remains moot as Shukov knows freedom is not a reality, merely survival.

Counting bowls of food and getting himself extra rations through the back door. Knowing how to deal tactfully with his superiors. There is a tragi comic aspect to this short, undivided script that rings out in a matter of fact highly descriptive scenario from an author who apparently did time in a gulag.

Stalin was a cold monster and the victims try to cope. Interestingly I sometimes feel my life almost as restrictive as one negotiates ones limited student stipend to make it stretch in colourful ways ... or our lives could so easily get so tough. All the more reason to work hard and be kind to neighbours in the rat race - and perhaps this book will guide you about trancending your ratty nature if you feel that rat race it is.

A classic book, worth reading to get into educated circles.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Defining, 8 July 2014
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J. wharfe-king (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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Read it as a teenager, one of those books that have a defining impact on your beliefs and values. Re-reading in book club. Worried that it would not be as remembered - but as profound now as then.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 8 July 2014
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This review is from: One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich (Everyman's Library Classics) (Hardcover)
Well done book!
Janis.
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5.0 out of 5 stars book, 7 July 2014
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great
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5.0 out of 5 stars Scary. You better read it as a worning., 6 July 2014
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I am afraid that I would not be able to survive what those people went through without major depression and the total loss of believe in goodness of people. Do everything to preserve freedom otherwise maybe one day this will be again a reality of millions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant, 31 May 2014
What a fascinating and enthralling book, such an eye opener and so shocking!

A humbling experience to have read such an articulate and beautifully written piece of work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good book, 28 May 2014
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This review is from: One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich (Everyman's Library Classics) (Hardcover)
good book but you sent me 2 books i had great difficulty return it you just seem to want me to resale it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Reveals the truth about Russia, 18 May 2014
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James Nunn "Omniemptor" (Halifax, England) - See all my reviews
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In these times, where the threat of war on Europe's eastern borders looms large yet again, many people will be asking themselves why Russia is acting as it is.

Having been interred in prison camps by Stalin, Solzhenitsyn writes with an informed brilliance, and a sharpness which cuts through to the bone. As you follow the struggle for survival in the Siberian wastes of the narrator, you are reading of more than 24 hours in a prison camp: You see portraits of man in all his glory and depravity; The Kafka style grinding of human lives in the gears of a bureaucracy driven by an evangelical political system; and a universally appreciable quest for small comforts and victories.

The prose is efficient, but with a peculiarly Russian artistry, thrusting you right into the heart of the novel to show you the beauty of suffering. As an introduction to Russian literature, I feel this is a far more productive and satisfying starting point than earlier writers (Dostoevsky, Tolstoy et al), being more comfortably paced and sparse than the classic masters. As an examination of the Russian mentality, it is phenomenal. Solzhenitsyn reveals determination, resilience, and a sort of national parochialism which borders on pride, despite what their government does to them. To try and express all the author reveals in an Amazon review is virtually impossible though - the book needs to be read and absorbed.

In short, a wonderful addition to any library, and one which you will return to in search of hidden truths.
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One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich (Everyman's Library Classics)
One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich (Everyman's Library Classics) by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Hardcover - 21 Sep 1995)
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