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The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

An Experiment in Literary Investigation

By Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
16-minute read
Audio available
The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The Gulag Archipelago (1973) is a literary chronicle of the Soviet work camps known as gulags, which existed between the years 1918–56. Drawing from his own experience as a prisoner, as well as the reports, memoirs and letters of hundreds of others, author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn provides a chilling account of the constant dread and horror of life in the gulags, while also charting the psychology and organization behind the government-sanctioned prison system.

  • Students of Soviet history
  • Advocates and critics of communism
  • Freedom fighters

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008) was a Russian novelist who authored many books, including One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962) and Cancer Ward (1968), and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. An outspoken critic of the Soviet regime, he was imprisoned from 1945–53 for making unfavorable comments about Josef Stalin. Beginning in 1974, he spent 20 years in exile from the Soviet Union, during which time he lived in West Germany and America. He finally returned in 1994, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

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