Thursday, October 06, 2011

[Book Review] The works of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Robert reviews the works of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I will always be grateful for being introduced to the literary works of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in 1968. He, to this day, remains among my favorite fiction writers of all time. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918 - 2008), through his often-suppressed writings, tore a hole in the then Iron Curtain by raising awareness of the Soviet Union's Stalin era and particularly the forced labor camp system. This was historical fiction at its absolute best - presenting what I would later deem the important role of literature as supplement to historical survey; thereby broadening our understanding beyond the typical outline of history's important dates, important names and important places.

Solzhenitsyn, in providing for many, a first look behind the Iron Curtain, most importantly, did so with a view of the day-to-day of the common man/the common woman in the Stalin-era Soviet Union. My first Solzhenitsyn reading was The First Circle, immediately followed by One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich, and subsequently The Gulag Archipeligo, The Cancer Ward, August 1914, and each of his other literary works. Awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature, I give my highest recommendation (banned-books and otherwise) to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who perhaps holds the record of being the most banned-book writer to date.

Robert Bain, Randolph Branch


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