The Gulag, the Stalinist labour camps to which millions of Russians were condemned for political deviation, has become a household word in the West. This is due to the accounts of many witnesses, but most of all to the publication, in 1962, of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the novel that first brought Aleksandr Sozhenitsyn to public attention. His story of one typical day in a labour camp as experienced by prisoner Ivan Denisovich Shukhov is sufficient to describe the entire world of the Soviet camps.
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Solzhenitsyn's first book, this economical, relentless novel is one of the most forceful artistic indictments of political oppression in the Stalin-era Soviet Union. The simply told story of a typical, grueling day of the titular character's life in a labor camp in Siberia, is a modern classic of Russian literature and quickly cemented Solzhenitsyn's international reputation upon publication in 1962. It is painfully apparent that Solzhenitsyn himself spent time in the gulags--he was imprisoned for nearly a decade as punishment for making derogatory statements about Stalin in a letter to a friend.From the Publisher:
From the icy blast of reveille through the sweet release of sleep, Ivan Denisovich endures. A common carpenter, he is one of millions viciously imprisoned for countless years on baseless charges, sentenced to the waking nightmares of the Soviet work camps in Siberia. Even in the face of degrading hatred, where life is reduced to a bowl of gruel and a rare cigarette, hope and dignity prevail. This powerful novel of fact is a scathing indictment of Communist tyranny, and an eloquent affirmation of the human spirit.
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