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1. We Never Make Mistakes: Two Short
2. The Russian Question at the End
3. From Under the Rubble (University
4. A World Split Apart: Commencement
5. The Mortal Danger
6. Oktiabr shestnadtsatogo (Krasnoe
7. Mart semnadtsatogo (Krasnoe koleso
8. November 1916 (The Red Wheel II)
9. November 1916 (The Red Wheel)
10. Solzhenitsyn: A Pictorial Autobiography
11. Alexander Solzhenitsyn's One Day
12. Alexander Solzhenitsyn Speaks
13. Oak and the Calf: A Memoir
14. Nobel Lecture (Bilingual Edition)
15. The Nobel Lecture on Literature
16. The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956:
17. The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956:
18. East and West (Perennial library)
19. Na kraiakh: Rasskazy i povest
20. Arkhipelag GULag, 1918-1956: Opyt

1. We Never Make Mistakes: Two Short Novels
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
Paperback: 144 Pages (2003-12)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$6.39
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Asin: 039331474X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In "An Incident at Krechetovka Station," a Red Army lieutenant is confronted by a disturbing straggler soldier and must decide what to do with him. "Matryona's House" is the tale of an old peasant woman, whose tenacious struggle against cold, hunger, and greedy relatives is described by a young man who only understands her after her death. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars powerful
Two powerful short stories...One about war injustice and unfair system that treats people based on suspicion that has no real roots...The red army lieutenant, Zotov,sends a straggler to miserable fate just because the guy didn't know what the Stalingrad previous name was?...The one answer he received upon inquiring of the guy's fate was"don't worry we'll take care of your Tveritinov,We never make mistakes"...

the second novella is the tale of Matryona;an old poor peasant widow,narrated by her roomate; she helps everybody for free and dies in misery because of the greed of her relatives who complained after her death that "she never accumulated property against the time of her death"...

those were written beautifully similar to his magnificent novella "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich"..

5-0 out of 5 stars Two compelling short novels from a master author
This is a collection of two short novels written by Nobel Prize-winning author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn that appeared in the January 1963 issue of a Soviet literary magazine called "Novy Mir."

The first novel, "An Incident at Krechetovka Station," centers around Lieutenant Zotov who works at one of the railway stations ensuring men and provisions make it to their proper destinations.One stormy night, full of wind and cold, an army straggler appears at the station, and it's up to Zotov to determine if he is who he says and what should be done with him.A fine novel about the idiosyncracies of war and justice.

In the second novel, "Matryona's House," a young teacher is placed out in the country and finds lodging with an old peasant woman.Through the cold winter, he watches her put up withe cold, hunger and greedy relatives, never once asking for anything in return.It isn't until after she has died that he truly understands her.A powerful tale about what remaining true to yourself and to your ideals.

Both novels make for great, worthwhile reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars 2 extremely powerful parables of the human spirit
These two great stories are written in that harsh realistic style so charateristic of Solzhenitsyn's works.Both stories are important on two fronts: They are both allow for primary-source insight into what manyWesterners have a skewed perception of (the poverty and oppression inStalanist Russia), and secondly, both stories present severe criticsm ofhuman nature in such grand metaphoric form as to allow them to penetratethe reader's own soul.The phrase "thought provoking," doesthese stories no justice, the parables are better described as painfullyapplicable. ... Read more

2. The Russian Question at the End of the Twentieth Century: Toward the End of the Twentieth Century
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn, Yermolai Solzhenitsyn
Hardcover: 135 Pages (1995-09)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$15.08
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Asin: 0374252912
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Nobel laureate evaluates Russian history as the century ends, encouraging Russians to overcome their exhaustion and rebuild spiritual and political development by taking their future into their own hands and developing a moral and independent culture and society. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic, a great and unconventional take on Russsian History only Solzhenitsyn could accomplish!
Solzhenitsyn, Gandhi, Mandela, these are some of the iconic figures of 20th century one could profit a great deal in exploring.
If Solzhenitsyn was an american he could be described most accurately as a luminary of the old right.

Congressman Ron-Paul is the closest example in contemporary American politics similar to Solzhenitsyn's world view and struggle against an oppressive, fraudulent and dehumanizing system that I can think of.

Solzhenitsyn goes deep into the last several centuries of Russian history in this book starting with the myth of Novogoradian democracy and the time of troubles which ushered in the Romanov dynasty.

Solzhenitsyn uses a very sound and convincing yardstick to measure the deeds and decision making of the czars.

He inquires and appraises whether actions of individual czars and their deputies lead to peace, prosperity and spiritual and moral growth for the Russian people. He focuses less on how many battles, accolades and foreign entanglements each czar indulged in and indeed criticizes quite sternly the czars who bankrupted and seriously wounded Russian civilization through their vain and reckless adventures and hasty and impulsive decisions which lead to catastrophic ruin of Russia at so many points in its history.

Czars and Czarinas he appraises include Peter the Great, Katherine the Great, Elizabeth, Anna, Paul, Nicholas, Alexander and the last Czar Nicholas II. Finally he devotes a great deal of effort on the genocidal and monstrous Soviet Bolshevism and how it was the most destructive phase in Russian history when every institution including the church was completely destroyed and mutilated.

Solzhenitsyn takes no prisoners, his assessment is brutally candid and honest and the intensity with which he has written is remarkable.The book would challenge any reader who holds the conventional wisdom and narrative on Russia and allow them to look at a well informed perspective only a figure of Solzhenitsyn's stature could present, and so convincingly and emphatically.

Solzhenitsyn'spersonal view is that Alexander III was the best (or least worse czar, whichever angle the readers want to see it from), and he has some harsh words for Peter the Great and Katherine the Great!

The book also contains some hard to find details on Russian history which Solzhenitsyn could probably muster due to his encyclopedic memory.

This book reminds me of the conventional wisdom on American Presidents and the establishment propaganda that Lincoln, FDR, Woodrow Wilson, the biggest war mongers and power usurpers who stay unchallenged and then someone bright, intense and honest like Ron-Paul comes along and then we discover that there were other American Presidents and Politicians whose moral fiber was in a class by itself, the ones like Grover Cleveland, Warren Harding, Robert Taft and Dwight Eisenhower etc.

Solzhenitsyn is politically incorrect, challenges the conventional wisdom on Russian history quite effectively in this book and passionately pleads for the preservation of Russian people and their culture and civilization.In the end he provides some hints and solutions for endemic problems in Russia.

A marvelous concise read for anyone who is interested in Russian history, for both novices and scholars alike.

5-0 out of 5 stars For Russia, for us all
The title sounds like a socio-political analysis.Actually, it is a short history book.But upon closer inspection, it is more than that.Solzhenitsyn uses the medium of history to re-tell Russia's story in a way to call the Russian people back to their spiritual heritage and also to warn Americans of the dangers that their own democratic liberalism offers.Written primarily for Russians, this book is a call for all.The specific question is simple:"Shall our people [Russians] be or not be" (106)?Solzhenitsyn raises points out the obvious double standard:patriotism and nationalism are good only when it is not Russian.(He didn't live to see how blatant this Western hypocrisy would become in the Ossetian War).

The main body of the book is a survey of the last five centuries of Russian history.Solzhenitsyn's basic premise is that whenever Russia became imperialistic and sought other territories, the Russian people suffered and the country would lose prestige.Solzhenitsyn's basic premise is correct, but it is not that simple.He is quick to point out the dangers of pan-Slavism, and perhaps he has a point, but I don't think he fully understood the threat of Islam.The Ottoman Empire, while at times the "Sick Man of Europe," being faithful to Surah 9.4-5, had to subjugate Russia's Christian brethren.While not all Russian military responses to the Ottoman Empire were warranted, the actions themselves were understandable.

Lessons Learned from the Book
Lesson 1: The West, primarily Austria and England, is treacherous and should never be trusted (though of course, some alliances may be necessary).The most sickening moment of the West was the Crimean War, where "Christian" France and England allied themselves with Turkey, keeping their Christian brothers in the Balkans enslaved simply so Russia would be weakened.There is a wealth of material on this point that Solzhenitsyn could have used but didn't.He should have documented the diabolical schemes of Schiff, Rothschild, and Rockefeller in the 20th century to prove that Russia stood as the bulwark of the Anglo-American New World Order.I am certain he was aware of these moves.Their absence is curious.

Lesson 2:Multi-ethnic societies under one empire simply do not work. Serbia learned this the hard way and Solzhenitsyn, while at times sounding pedantic, is on the right track in warning of the coming dangers.Decentralization and devolution is key.

Lesson 3:Capitalism and communism are not opposed to each other at the root level. Again, see Schiff and the Wall Street Capitalists bankrolling the Communist Revolution.The goal of both oligarchic capitalism and Marxist communism is the concentration of wealth and power into the hands of the banking elite.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
The great Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has just passed from the scene.And his death was mourned by Orthodox Christians as well as other lovers of the truth throughout the world.Of late, many have styled Solzhenitsyn as perhaps the greatest intellect of our time.And having read this wonderful and terribly important book, I am much inclinded to agree with them.

As a previous reviewer mentioned, Solzhenitsyn suffered much in his life.Most modern readers will already understand that he was for a long time interred within the Soviet Gulag.And he was even exiled from the Russia he loved so much.But, in thinking of Solzhenitsyn and his magnificent work, I can't help but think of Bishop Fulton Sheen's commentary on Russia and the Russian spirit.Bishop Sheen averred that the Russian experience and Russian greatness had much to do with the concept of the suffering servant.And this spirit rings true throughout Solzhenistyn's amazing and insightful book.

Solzhenitsyn's rendering of the very important, and sadly little known, history of Russia is the most balanced, sensible, and even somehow poetic I have ever read.Any person who would understand Russia and the Russians would serve themselves very well by reading this book.But, more importantly, the book stands as a very important statement relative to the overall human condition at the outset of the 21st century.I cannot recommend this book strongly enough.Read it.And be well informed and richly blessed in the process.God bless.

3-0 out of 5 stars Unclear conclusion
Solzhenitsyn's writing is interesting and cohesive, but his conclusion is unclear.He leaves no doubt that neither bourgeois-democracy nor dictatorial communism are remotely acceptable to him, but does little to make concrete the third way he envisions.His ideal state seems to be built upon Slavophilism, a vague spirituality, and certain aspects of democracy, and I would like to learn more about that than his rants against the modern and historical US and Russian forms of government.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's the American Question Too
"The Russian Question."At first this seemed like this would be ultra boring. The small book began by slogging through Russian history of 500 years ago, mentioning names and places that were unfamiliar, heavy with footnotes.

Then a pattern began emerging-the squandering of the nation's resources on foreign ventures "veering off into the interests of others" with no benefit the Russian people.

I was unable to put it down. I read the whole thing in an evening. This could be titled The American Question-there's much we in the USA could learn from the experience of Russia.

Much of what Solzhenitsyin says is not politically correct.
He sees "how harmful it is for the dominant nation in a state to create a multiethnic empire. Whoa, boy! They'll take your Nobel prize back!

Solzhenytsin predicts that,

"Circumstances will arise therein [in the 21 st century] when all of Europe and the United States will be in dire need of Russia as an ally."

"Today, looking at the growing stream of refugees bursting through all European borders, is difficult for the West not to see itself as something of a fortress-a secure one for the time being, but clearly one besieged. And in the future, the growing ecological crisis may alter the climatic zones-leading to shortages of fresh water and arable land in places where they were once plentiful. This, in turn, may give rise to new and menacing conflicts on the planet, wars for survival."

Solzhenitsyn has incisive (negative) comments on attorneys, Western courts, the liberal press, Gorbachev, and the US State Department.

I learned something about serfdom, something of Russian Bolshevism, and a lot about idiotic foreign policy and bad government.
... Read more

3. From Under the Rubble (University Press of America)
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn, Mkihail Agursky, Evgeny Barabanov
Paperback: 308 Pages (1989-11)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$24.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0895268906
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars National conscience in a book-- powerful
Alexander Solzhenitsyn edited a powerful book that dramatically impacted my life in my thinking about how nations are transformed.While it waspublished in 1974 (renewed in 1981) and obviously is now out of print, forseveral of the essays, this book is worth searching for.

It should benoted that Solzhenitsyn is much more well thought of in the West than inRussia today.Even though he returned to live in Moscow, Russiansgenerally feel he left the country to profit on his message, so he is notaccorded the same kind of respect given to other dissidents thatremained.

Still, there are powerful messages here.Personally, the mostimpacting was Solzhenitsyn's chapter "Repentance and theSelf-Limitation in the Life of Nations" and Igor Shafarevich's"Separation or Reconciliation? The Nationalities Question..."Inthese chapters the authors suggest that national "repentance" isa key aspect to any kind meaningful social change.The search for sinsbegins in ourselves and progresses upward on behalf of the nation.Hesays, nations "are suceptible to all moral feelings.. includingrepentance" (p. 109).The nation is "mystically weldedtogether" in this way.He further points to history to show thenature of Russian character in "penitental movements" as part ofthe national character that must be reclaimed to transform society.

Themessage of the book is that national transformations must occur at alllevels but be built on a spiritual foundation.It offers a critical viewof the roles of the church, socialism and personal conscience as obstaclesor conduits for change.

While the social and political nature of Russiahad dramatically entered upheaval for thepast 11 years (25 years afterthese essays were originally penned), the messages are still relevant forRussia today and equally applicable in many respects for our own country aswell. ... Read more

4. A World Split Apart: Commencement Address Delivered at Harvard University, June 8, 1978 (English and Russian Edition)
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
Paperback: 61 Pages (1988-01)
list price: US$6.95
Isbn: 006132079X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Truth amid a sea of relativism.
This is an outstanding criticism of American materialism and its roots in secular humanism.The fact that it was delivered at Harvard makes one appreciate Sozhenitsyn's courage to preach this message to those who especially need to hear it.This book will always be relevant to American culture as long as it continues to follow the path of belief in undisciplined liberty.

5-0 out of 5 stars Aleksandr Isaevich Further Cements His Reputation.
Solzhenitsyn at his crazy best.An all-out attack on both the Soviet Union and the American youth of the 1970's, this more or less accurately reflects the real Solzhenitsyn:A self-centered angry man who attempts to take the sins of the world upon himself.Is this simply hubris, or the act of a boddhisattva in the making?You decide. ... Read more

5. The Mortal Danger
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Paperback: Pages (1986-06)
list price: US$9.00 -- used & new: US$60.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061320633
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6. Oktiabr shestnadtsatogo (Krasnoe koleso / Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn) (Russian Edition)
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Paperback: 591 Pages (1984)

Isbn: 2850650463
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7. Mart semnadtsatogo (Krasnoe koleso / Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn) (Russian Edition)
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Unknown Binding: Pages (1986)

Isbn: 2850650951
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8. November 1916 (The Red Wheel II)
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
Hardcover: 1013 Pages (1999-01)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$67.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374223149
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A vivid and sweeping panorama of Imperial Russia at war on the eve of revolution.

The month of November 1916 in Russia was outwardly unmarked by seismic events--in the author's words, it "encapsulated the stagnant and oppressive atmosphere of the months immediately preceding the Revolution"--but beneath the surface, society, from the Tsar's bizarre and troubled court to the peasants, workers, and ill-led soldiers in the trenches, seethed fiercely. As no other could, Solzhenitsyn makes us experience the whole bubbling cauldron. In Petrograd, luxury store windows are still brightly lit; the Duma debates stormily about the monarchy, the course of war, and clashing paths to reform; the workers in the huge and miserable munitions factories veer increasingly toward sedition. At the front, all is stalemate except for sudden death's capricious visits, while in the countryside sullen anxiety among hard-pressed farmers is rapidly replacing patriotism. In Zurich, Lenin, with the smallest of all revolutionary groups, plots his sinister logistical miracle. With masterly and moving empathy, through the eyes of both historical and fictional protagonists, the author unforgettably transports us to that time and place--the last of pre-Soviet Russia.Amazon.com Review
In August 1914Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn began his epic account of the events leading up tothe Russian Revolution. Subtitled The Red Wheel/Knot I, the bookwas the first in a projected trilogy. It took more than 20 years for thesecond in the series to make its debut, but November 1916: The RedWheel/Knot II picks up in the latter years of the war and chroniclesthe events between the end of October and the middle of November 1916.Though Solzhenitsyn himself admits that little of historical significanceoccurred during those few weeks, his novel is jam-packed with enoughthree-dimensional characters and tangled life stories to more than make upfor the dearth of history. Cutting back and forth between the Russian frontlines, the fiercely divided Duma, an increasingly seditiouspeasantry, and various revolutionary groups, November 1916masterfully re-creates the bubbling undercurrent of violence andcataclysmic change that would erupt in just a few short months. FromNicholas and Alexandra in St. Petersburg to Lenin in Switzerland, and awhole host of fictional characters in between, Solzhenitsyn brings thepeople, the problems, and the era to life. --Margaret Prior ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Second Part of an Epic Novel
This is the second volume of Solzhenitsyn's epic "The Red Wheel" and, unlike "August 1914", this book focuses more on Russian society than the war. A number of the same characters return from the first work and Solzhenitsyn takes them, and the reader, to the parlors of St. Petersburg, the homes of Moscow, the trenches, the schools, the factories, the farms, and the legislative assemblies. It is an astonishing work, capturing the mood in Russia before chaos consumed her and showing the last days of a failing society.

There are some flaws. Solzhenitsyn continues using the "camera eye" technique that he used in the first novel and, again, does not quite succeed with it. He is better in his use of newspaper headlines than he was in "August 1914." Where he truly fails though is in the numerous essays he includes giving the history of political parties, legislative leaders, even transcripts from the Duma debates. It is a bit too much and Solzhenitsyn is not particularly subtle in his contempt for progressives and society.

Where Solzhenitsyn excels is when his characters dominate the narrative. Above all, the powers of redemption and love flow through the book despite the chaos, despite the coming Soviet horror. There are scenes that remain with the reader: a priest and a young officer talking about faith in the trenches; a colonel who comes to St. Petersburg to make a major political impact only to have it undermined by his attraction to a woman, a woman going to confession crying over her dead child, a writer on a train and his assorted notes and musings. This is an epic book to be sure but Solzhenitsyn is truly incredible when he describes the intimate moments of daily life.

Be warned. While the book was translated in English a decade ago, the last two volumes have yet to be translated. Despite the book being over a 1,000 pages and a difficult read, you will want more. "The Red Wheel" is not for everyone but those who pursue it will find one of the greatest novels written in the last half of the twentieth century.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great story slowed down by superfluous research papers
I was really excited to see this book had finally been translated into English, having just read the old (and terrible) Michael Glenny hack job translation of 'August 1914.'It was a bit slow to pick up, but this is my favourite writer, so I knew that once it got going, it would be as impossible to put down as all of his other books.Unfortunately that was not the case.I abandoned it in frustration midway through the first of the six miniature research papers, on the history of the Kadet movement, and didn't return to it and start all over again till three and a half years later.This time I didn't give up at any point, though it wasn't easy getting through most of the small-print material in the non-fiction chapters.I really believe that he did want to educate his fellow Russians on a period in their history which isn't well-taught or well-understood instead of showing off the mammoth research he did on this book, but surely there could have been a way to convey that same information without interrupting the narrative a total of six times to bring the reader this tedious material, a mixture of non-fiction narrative and long quotes from the historical figures being discussed.Maybe, like in some of his other books I've read, have page references in the back to what was being talked about there, have footnotes, or a general introduction or afterword on the history behind the story.I know this is his life's work, the second of the four books that were the obsession of his writing life (thankfully he's lived long enough to finish them), but the information would have been gotten across just as well had these six chapters been cut out or had the information presented in the course of the fictional story, the way a good historical fiction writer presents historical events and figures important to the story.It was also hard to keep track of who was who, with all of these names, like Markov, Uncle Khvostov, Nephew Khvostov, Maklakov, Rodzyanko, Protopopov, Milyukov, Krivoshein, St?rmer, and Shipov, as well as who had been dismissed by the Tsar, whom Rasputin and the Tsarina were trying to get rid of, who was a Centrist, Rightist, Kadet, Leftist, ultra-Leftist, ultra-Rightist, a Duma member, or one of the Tsar's ministers.I love Russian history, but this was way too much information to process.The only non-fiction chapters I felt belonged there were the final two, the Duma transcripts, which read more like part of a story than a detached research paper.

The scope of this book is far wider than 'August 1914,' and there are far more characters to keep track of.A number of characters from that book also appear here, in varying degrees of importance.The most important recurring character is Colonel Georgiy Vorontyntsev; here we also get to meet his wife Alina, his baby sister Vera, and their childhood nanny.Since the time during which this book takes place, late October to mid November of 1916, was primarily a time of stalemate, the majority of the action takes place on the homefront.The chapters that do involve the characters in the military don't include any battles.It's hard to not see why revolution occurred when it did--everything on the homefront is going to the dogs, what with fixed grain prices for the peasants, rising prices for the people in the cities, anti-German pogroms, men between the ages of 38 and 41 being called into the military, along with boys who were born in 1898, the youngest possible class who can serve, Russia bankrupt, the strange behaviour of the Tsar, the replacement of the popular but ineffective Supreme Commander of the army, Nikolasha, with his great-nephew the Tsar himself, and the world shutting off its banking with Russia.Everyone was humiliated and angry, from the Tsarists to the revolutionaries living in exile abroad.The Tsar was a genuinely nice fellow, but kept making all of the wrong moves and making revolution even more inevitable.

Some people don't like this book because it has so many different characters, but that's the point--it's showing how these events affected all of these different classes of people, at all levels of society, how each of them reacted to it.It's harder to summarise, and very exhausting to read (I read it in two weeks, surprising given the sheer length), but the ending is really beautiful, a classic final thought.It was worth it just to read the end.

5-0 out of 5 stars Monumental Wave of Events
Although the second book of the series (following AUGUST 1914 by 20 something years) was written so much later than its "prequel" it still resonates.What a fantastic story!! The slow and inevitable passage of events, the horrors of WW1, the breakdown of authority in imperialist Russia - all combine into an awesome conjunction of people and events.

But it is the characters that make this tale, for the lives of the individuals are what gives this story meaning.The author also presumes that one is at least somewhat familiar with the history of the time.I have always had trouble with the long, unpronouncable Slavic names (shortening them in my mind for readability) but if one persists, it is well worth the effort.Solzhenitsyn is trying to WRITE history, to tell a story that he considers of utmost importance not only to the Russian people but to the rest of the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Will Still Be Read in the 22nd Century
My approach to reading the two Red Wheel volumes has not been ideal, since I read each when it was first avaiable in English translation.The 25 year separation between the two "knots" was not ideal for me as a reader, but then the circumstances faced by the author have never been ideal.The second knot, November 1916, will reward your reading efforts with a recreation of the Great War's Eastern front, and of the unfolding disaster in the Russian heartland, that cannot be found elsewhere.Since the horrors in the process of being unleashed in the month captured here by Solzhenitsyn have not yet run their full course, one cannot, even as late as the year 2003, assess the full damage.But this novel lets us glimpse, and perhaps understand, the beginning of a nightmare--for a great people and for all of humanity.

2-0 out of 5 stars overwhelming
i am a fan of Mr. Solzhenitsyn both as a person and as a writer.and i have read a number of his works, including August 1914 (this book's prologue, as i'm sure you know). however, this volume of 1000 pages was just too much for me. i forced myself to keep reading up to the point where i had covered 300+ pages .... and then i gave up.

i wanted to love this book, but it was too pedantic for me and seemed to lack Mr. Solzhenitsyn's usual desire to make his characters come alive.was it just me or did the characters fade into insignificance?was Mr. Solzhenitsyn so taken withrelating facts and foibles that his characters got lost in the shuffle?or was this book intentionally written as a history book and the characters were "necessary evils" ?i don't know.

i seem to recall in other books by Mr. Solzhenitsyn (e.g. Cancer Ward) a "slow start"with multiple characters (here read - this reviewer gets easily confused).however, typically after 100+ pages Mr. Solzhenitsyn begins to focus on one or two related souls and then blends his character development with history & implied comment.that is what i had hoped for and was expecting - work then reward, effort then involvement.i genuinely regret to say that i could never get past feeling as if i were a pinball being bounced from one uninteresting transcript to another.

bottom line - if one is (somewhat ?) knowledgeable of Russian history during this epoch, perhaps he/she will find this book worthy of 4 or 5 stars.otherwise, don't waste your time.by all means read Mr. Solzhenitsyn, but perhaps A Day In The Life Of .... would be a better place to get a taste of his prophetic and literary skills. ... Read more

9. November 1916 (The Red Wheel)
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
Paperback: 1040 Pages (2000-04-27)

Isbn: 0140071237
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10. Solzhenitsyn: A Pictorial Autobiography
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Hardcover: 88 Pages (1974-12)
list price: US$8.95
Isbn: 0374266506
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11. Alexander Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Monarch notes)
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Paperback: 77 Pages (1985-10)
list price: US$4.25
Isbn: 0671009761
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)


12. Alexander Solzhenitsyn Speaks to the West
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Paperback: 100 Pages (1978-11)

Isbn: 0370301757
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13. Oak and the Calf: A Memoir
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Paperback: Pages (1987-04)
list price: US$9.95
Isbn: 0061320676
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
In this autobiographical work, Solzhenitsyn tells of his ten-year war to outwit Russia's rulers and get his works published in his own country. 14 cassettes. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars St. Al and the Dragon
I had been reading this book, off and on, for a few months when word came that Alexander Solzhenitsyn had died.What an improbable miracle, that he died outside Moscow at the age of 89, of old age!Surely he would have been glad to know that would be his fate, as a young captain heading west to engage the German invaders, as a new inmate in the belly of the Gulag (like Agent Jones -- or was it Smith? -- being swallowed by the insect at the end of Men in Black), as a cancer patient a few years later -- or during the period covered by this memoir, a knight in the shining armor of truth, facing Leviathan with nothing but the "sword of the spirit," as St. Paul put it.(Or even later, in exile in Vermont.)

It was a deliberate, considered engagement, as Solzhenitsyn shows, though he did not always follow what he saw as his own best instincts.The world knows him best today for two books: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (check Amazon sales), and The Gulag Archipelago.(My own favorite is First Circle, however.)This memoir is more or less framed by the publication of those two works -- the first of which made him famous, the second which forced the dragon to cough him out, and finally brought that dragon to its knees.(I prefer not to compare the Soviet Union to a bear -- I like bears.)Solzhenitsyn describes the contest blow-by-blow, guessing what various aparachniks are thinking (to the extent he gives them credit for so exalted an activity), "allies," in particular the poet and publisher Tvardovsky, described with consummate humanity, and his own chess game, played as it was with most the opposing pieces hidden.

I'm not sure that this book is meant for "foreigners" like myself.The writer is dialoguing, if not with himself, or his inner daemon, with the Russian people of his day.This may be why I haven't devoured it, as with one of Solzhenitsyn's novels -- which are written for Russia, too, but also for the ages, for man as man -- but take it in pieces.It's a long book, too -- not light reading, but meaty reading, and with lots of tangents.

One of the glories of Solzhenitsyn's writing is the sense that ghosts surround him -- a passion of duty, Hamlet but sane because the Holy Ghost is also there, he is not speaking or living on his own behalf, but on behalf of those who died, and of a nation whose soul was lost.He seems to hear the voice that Socrates heard, as he was waiting to die: "The most important thing is not life, but the good life . . . one must not give way or retreat or leave one's post . . . Do not value either your children or your life or anything else more than goodness, in order that when you arrive in Hades you may have all this as your defense before the rulers there."

Not in Hades, but in heaven, for whatever his sins may have been, I think he will hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

He was also a great writer, by the way!

4-0 out of 5 stars "One man dies of fear, another is brought to life by it."
Solzhenitsyn writes (p 114) that the quote might have been made for him. The odd title, The Oak and the Calf, is referred to (p 190) as follows: "At any point I can call the book finished or unfinished. I can abandon it or continue it as long as life goes on, or until the calf breaks its neck butting the oak, or until the oak cracks and comes crashing down." Subtitled "Sketches of Literary Life in the Soviet Union" Solzhenitsyn details the difficulties involved in getting his writings published, including specifics of conversations with the staff at Novy Mir, a monthly literary journal, especially involving the editor-in-chief. Surprisingly, the government allowed publication of A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (a prison camp worker), but others were deemed unsuitable (read - the government didn't want the truth to get out). Although his (p 300) A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Cancer Ward, and the "lightened" First Circle won him win the Nobel Prize, he'd written much more at that point which he had "kept in reserve." Of winning (p 289) "And what does a Nobel Prize mean to a writer from a Communist country? Somebody's bungled! Sorry--wrong address! Too hot to handle! Or else, get ready to be tarred and feathered." He describes those who stand in the way of the truth: of a censor reading one of his novels (p 176), "But his eyes lit up--well, they weren't his eyes, of course, but replacements installed by the censorship; nor could he call his nostrils his own, since the censorship had equipped them with olfactory hairs..." Notably, The First Circle, The Feast of the Victors, The Republic of Labor and his camp verses were confiscated on September 11, 1965 (Pp 105, 106), his first wife helped the KGB build its case against him, a woman was murdered by the KGB (p 345) after telling them where a copy of Gulag (which she was not supposed to have kept) was hidden, and his works were regularly seized and then published without his knowledge or consent, sometimes in other countries. The book ends with him being picked up and taken to Lefortovo Isolation Prison, although with chapter titles like; The Wounded Beast, The Noose Snaps, Asphyxiation and End of the Road, the reader can deduce, without prior knowledge, his likely fate. An appendix follows which contains the text of letters and conversations referred to in the book.

Although The Oak and the Calf helps in understanding the goings on at the time Solzhenitsyn was trying to publish, it is probably only necessary reading for those who have read some of his other works and want to know more about him or them. Of his other titles, A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, brief and hugely important in gaining a bit of understanding about the plight of Russians under Stalin's rule is a must read. Equally essential, though extremely long and detailed, is The Gulag Archipelago. Both provide insight into a largely overlooked and understudied issue in Russia's history, Stalin's GULAG (Main Camp Administration) system of forced labor camps, which resulted in the death of millions of innocent people. Other great reads on the same subject: Kolyma Tales (short stories) by Varlam Shalamov, Journey into the Whirlwind (memoir) by Eugenia Semyonovna Ginzburg, Man is Wolf to Man (memoir) by Janusz Bardach and Kathleen Gleeson and Gulag (non-fiction) by Anne Applebaum.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Oak and the Calf
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn holds the honour of being the author to break the news to the world of Russia's treatment of its people. Before him, the Western world - and, disturbingly, a large portion of Russia - had only a faint idea of the true depth of lies, deceit, exploitation and murder that were being committed under the rule of the Communist government. The Oak and the Calf is his memoir of the difficulties faced in being published in Russia, at a time when even typewriters were controlled by the government and publishing without attack by the censors was unheard of. It is a clear, lucid portrayal of Solzhenitsyn's decades long battle to write.

The book is split into four sections, of which the first two and the last two form separate wholes. The first half of the novel recounts his difficulties in first becoming published, then details the difficulties in making Russia and the world aware of Russia's mistakes; the second half focuses on Solzhenitsyn's battles with the KGB to ensure that he was able to publish his more incriminating works within Russia, while avoiding imprisonment, exile or death.

Solzhenitsyn spent the first twenty years of his adult life first at the Russian front in World War II, and then in a labour camp, where he was sentenced after criticising Stalin in personal correspondence. After that, he contracted cancer; he spent time recovering in a hospital at Tashkent. During this time, he would compose prose in his mind - there were no opportunities to write down and store text. He relates that he would spend a week of each month while in the labor camp, going over what he had written in his mind until he remembered it perfectly. He composed his thoughts, wrote prose, plotted novels. From a young age, he wanted to be a writer. Thanks to his imprisonment, Solzhenitsyn gained the source material with which to write.

When Solzhenitsyn was in his forties, he was finally able to publish his work. At home now, living with his second wife (his first abandoned him when he went to the labour camps), Solzhenitsyn could write, but the realities of publishing in Russia were slim.

He had two options. The first, samizdat, an underground network of writers and readers. The second was to be published in one of Russia's literary magazines, but the requirements of publication included the necessity of government censure and approval. Solzhenitsyn, in his own words, 'lightened' a novel of his, Shch-854. Thanks to the confidence of magazine Novy Mir's editor, Alexander Tvardovsky, the novel was published under the name, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. In this book, Solzhenitsyn said what had never been said before - he accurately and honestly described life in the labor camps. What was once taboo was out in the open. It was a sensation, and his name was made.

Instantly, Solzhenitsyn was one of the most dangerous men in Russia. What was the government to do? If they imprisoned him again, or killed him, the outcry would be horrific. But if they allowed him to publish further, then... They were in a terrible place, but so was Solzhenitsyn. His publisher, Novy Mir, faced increasing pressure to silence their new author, and on top of that Tvardovsky began to get wet feet. Still, Solzhenitsyn wrote and tried to publish.

Imagine what we have here. An outstanding novelist is forced to shrink away and hide in the dark. His first published work has caused a sensation in his home country (and, later, abroad), and for that he faces prison, exile or death. And yet, for all that, he continues to write. He scatters his literature throughout the samizdat network, entrusting his terrible, accusative words to friends and strangers. He smuggles his work across the border, to a safe in the West, which is to be opened upon his death. From the very moment One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is released, Solzhenitsyn must live as a man who can be seized at any time. In one chilling paragraph, Solzhenitsyn outlines what he was prepared to do if they took his children: 'They did not know that we had thought of this and made a superhuman decision: our children were no dearer to us than the memory of the millions done to death, and nothing could make us stop that book.' Can we in the West imagine such consequences for writing? Can we possibly understand what Solzhenitsyn dealt with every day?

While attempting to publish further works, how often Solzhenitsyn hears these words: 'Circumstances could not be less favorable to publication than they are at present. It would probably be impossible, and it would certainly be dangerous, to try bringing it out this year.' Years go by, with little of his work appearing in Russian. His relationship with Tvardovsky forms the bulk of the first half, it is a sad, unequal affair. Tvardovsky is a man of talent, but not talent on the level of Solzhenitsyn. He is more timid, less skilled, and nowhere near as bold. And yet, thanks to Solzhenitsyn's loyalty, they remain together for ten years, up to and including the time when Solzhenitsyn win the Nobel.

The second half of the novel focuses on the struggle Solzhenitsyn undertook for the publication of The Gulag Archipelago, which the author considers his most powerful and damning book. We learn of the machinations involved in dealings with the KGB, as well as the convoluted, intricate schemes Solzhenitsyn and his allies used to transmit, hide and recover pieces of his work.

We are more removed from this half of the novel, perhaps because we cannot rely on the emotional connection that the friendship between Tvardovsky and Solzhenitsyn provided in the first half. This does not weaken the text, it remains a compelling account of struggle in the face of insurmountable odds.

One thing that Solzhenitsyn never explicitly states - but which runs through the entire piece - is that he has a strong feeling of patriotism towards Russia. Not the USSR Russia, but the grand fatherland, the vanished grandeur of his home. Many times, he could have fled to the West to publish at his leisure. Many times, he could have published his vast unpublished works in America and elsewhere. But he stayed with Russia for as long as possible, attempting always to publish first in his home country before anywhere else. He was the cancer from the inside. He needed to show Russia that she was sick; foreigners came second.

A compelling aspect of Solzhenitsyn's work is that he does not indulge in grandiloquent passages of destiny. Nor does he invoke some triumphant mandate of heaven that requires him to write. No, Solzhenitsyn simply states, many times, that what he needs to do with his life is write what he has seen, what he knows, what he thinks. Does a doctor brag of his ability to diagnose illness? No, and nor does Solzhenitsyn when he identifies Russia's vast sickness. Perhaps his talents were the only ones capable of correctly examining the illness, perhaps his skill was the only one capable of showing Russia - and the world - how to heal, but Solzhenitsyn does not seek to glorify himself. He writes, for he is but a humble author. Would that we all possessed such a pen.

Don't get me wrong, Gulag Archipelago is one of my favorite all-time works.It's place in world history is secure.But the Oak and the Calf is a personal history of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (arguably the greatest living writer in the world).

At a time when the punishment for owning a copy of Gulag was DEATH, Solzhenitsyn was not afraid to stand up to the Soviet system ALONE AND UNARMED (He has a lot in common with Mahatma Ghandi).

When you are armed with truth and you stand firm, it is Evil itself that must eventually back down.

How did Solzhenitsyn gain so much courage?How did he handle the Soviet system without becoming a corpse?How was he able to write his first several books while still a prisoner in the prison camps?What kept him going when things looked the most bleak?

We can learn much about commitment, will-power, and dedication to principles of truth by seeing how Solzhenitsyn did it.By reading this book, Solzhenitsyn can be your mentor and teach you through his example.

--George Stancliffe ... Read more

14. Nobel Lecture (Bilingual Edition)
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Paperback: 69 Pages (1972-12)
list price: US$6.95 -- used & new: US$5.60
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Asin: 0374510636
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Much Is Required of Those Who Possess The Gift of Art
A very eloquent way of identifying the relationship between literature and social responsibility.Even more impressive is the way Solzhenitsyn connects literature, art and writing to a greater spiritual force work inthe universe.This speech reinforces the power and strength of the writtenword.It elevates literature to its rightful place as facilitator ofgoodwill among people and my belief that there is no better nourishment forthe soul that a good book. ... Read more

15. The Nobel Lecture on Literature
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Hardcover: 38 Pages (1972-11)
list price: US$5.95
Isbn: 0060139439
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16. The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation (Volume Two)
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Paperback: 3 Pages (1997-01)
list price: US$28.00 -- used & new: US$20.30
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Asin: B000W91AB2
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Drawing on his own incarceration and exile, as well as on evidence from more than 200 fellow prisoners and Soviet archives, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn reveals the entire apparatus of Soviet repression -- the state within the state that ruled all-powerfully.

Through truly Shakespearean portraits of its victims -- men, women, and children -- we encounter secret police operations, labor camps and prisons; the uprooting or extermination of whole populations, the "welcome" that awaited Russian soldiers who had been German prisoners of war. Yet we also witness the astounding moral courage of the incorruptible, who, defenseless, endured great brutality and degradation. The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 -- a grisly indictment of a regime, fashioned here into a veritable literary miracle -- has now been updated with a new introduction that includes the fall of the Soviet Union and Solzhenitsyn's move back to Russia.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (65)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent abridgment
I originally read the three-volume "Gulag" while in college and then later read this abridgment. This abridgment is very well done; it definitely captures the meat of what Solzhenitsyn wanted to convey.The three-volume work had a lot of detailed accounts of those who did not survive the Gulag or the Stalinist state, but those details can be hard to absorb and are easily forgotten.This volume provides the essence of what is THEbook of the 20th century.

5-0 out of 5 stars An expose on the evil heart of Communism
One of the most monumental accounts of one of the cruellest ideologies of history,this book should be read by all
Layer by layer Solzhenitsyn exposes the hideous system of imprisonment ,death and torture that he refers to as the 'Gulag Archipelago'
He strips away that the misconception of the good Tsar Lenin betrayed by his evil heirs and exposes how it was Lenin and his henchmen who put into place the brutal totalitarianism , which would be inherited and continued by Stalin
In fact the only thing that Stalin really did differently was to introduce a more personalised ,Imperial style of rule but otherwise carried on the evil work of Lenin
It was Lenin who imprisoned the Cadets (Constitutional Democrats) , Mensheviks,Social Democrats,Social Revolutionaries Anarchists and independent intelligentsia and had many killed
In this way he completely destroyed all opposition to Bolshevik hegemony
Under Lenin the persecution started of anybody convicted of religious activity and the complete destruction of the church in Russia
And it was Lenin who began the genocide of whole ethnic groups that would later gain momentum under Stalin
Under the Communist system all that is spiritual or not purely material in nature is destroyed.And we discover what a horror Marx's idea of 'dialectic materialism ' really is
But I cannot describe the horrors which Solzhenitsyn outlines in this book :the hideous torutres,the slave markets selling of young women into sexual slavery
Solzhenitsyn describes how the prison system of the Tsarist system was compassionate by comparison but the mild abuses of Tsarist imprisonment where reacted to with a shrill outcry that never greeted the horrors of Bolshevism and Communism
As he says in his ever present biting sarcasm "Its just not fashionable,just not fashionable
And even today,even after the fall of Communism in Europe (though its iron grip remains strong in parts of Asia,Africa and in Cuba) its still not regarded as fashionable to highlight the horrors of Communism as it is to do so for other human rights abuses of this and other centuries

5-0 out of 5 stars A powerful book
Probably one of the most important works I have ever read.Solzhenitsyn gives voice to the millions of voiceless victims of Stalin's Soviet Russia.Unfortunately this is one of histories lesser known crimes, and the power of this man's voice helps to rectify this.This book is powerful and brutal.Solzhenitsyn forces his readers to stare into the face of evil and see the horrors that can happen when tyrants are allowed to run roughshod over a people.

This book is so tremendously important as a warning for all people to take care that tyranny does not get the opportunity to capture a people.It illustrates the inhumanity that man is capable of, and he shows readers the terrible price that dictators impose.

This book needs to be required reading because it has the affect of so eloquently exposing readers to the reality that people all over the world face.This is why this book is so powerful.It is the universal nature of this work that shows the reader what happens to people in this situation.This book forces the reader to be empathetic to the plight of suffering people the world over.What this work shows is that this type of oppression becomes so pervasive that it is almost impossible to overcome.The people don't want this nor do they simply acquiesce to this tyranny.What happens is that a society becomes totally corrupted to the point where there is nothing left.

This is an extremely important work that needs to be read.

5-0 out of 5 stars true believer in the power of literature
I cannot stop admiring the courage of the author and his belief in art as the most powerful and necessary form of preserving memory of history and humanity. His writing, neither history nor memoir, is compelling, and passionate, and inspite of his passionate criticism, I think I read his love for Russia and his people. I enjoyed reading his lecture as well, which shows more of his brilliant and yet rather humble analysis on the mission of literature/artists in the time of pervasive and universal atrocities againt humanity.He not only wrote but also lived his convictions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Do You Believe Man Has the Capacity for Pure Evil?
I'm encouraged to see this book is still a good seller despite its publication back in 1976.We should never forget the lessons contained herein.

In my younger liberal days, I thought we were all pretty much the same: basically good, trying to be honest and compassionate, with desire for an open society in which individual rewards are based on merit and work, supported by a transparent government based on the rule of law, not the capricious rules of men."The Gulag Archipelago," on the other hand, shows us raw human nature as it is in reality.

Someone said, "A conservative is a liberal who's been mugged."Well, Solzhenitsyn's book will figuratively mug you if, like many of us in the U.S., you have been sheltered from the pure evil our fellow men can commit.That evil is in all of us, but that's an issue for another day.This is a mugging you will survive; it will make you a stronger and better person.

Totalitarian regimes like Soviet communism and German Nazism require legions of supporters.As you read this book, try to imagine which of your acquaintances would willingly participate or acquiesce.Would you?The answer is not as straightforward as it seems.

-Steve Parker, M.D., author of The Advanced Mediterranean Diet: Lose Weight, Feel Better, Live Longer ... Read more

17. The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, V-VII
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Hardcover: Pages (1995-06)

Isbn: 9995368633
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is the most important work of the 20th century.
This stunning work is the most important literary achievement of the 20th century.The book is an incredibly poignant documentary of human cruelty. The book is brilliantly and capitivatingly narrated.But these are not thebook's greatest gifts.The book reveals uncontrovertably the true natureof communism, its utter dependence on repression of freedom, and theinevitable measures and consequences of that repression.This book shouldbe required reading in all high schools.Our young people would thenappreciate why the Cold War was fought and why our victory was a stunningtriumph for humanity. ... Read more

18. East and West (Perennial library)
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Paperback: 182 Pages (1980)
-- used & new: US$125.21
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Asin: 0060805080
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19. Na kraiakh: Rasskazy i povest (Russian Edition)
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Hardcover: 540 Pages (2000)
-- used & new: US$22.00
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Asin: 5264004315
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20. Arkhipelag GULag, 1918-1956: Opyt khudozhestvennogo issledovaniia (Russian Edition)
by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn
 Unknown Binding: Pages (1990)

Isbn: 5212004039
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