The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: pt. 1. The prison industry. pt. 2. Perpetual motion

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Westview Press, Jan 23, 1997 - History - 672 pages
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The Gulag Archipelago is Solzhenitsyn’s attempt to compile a literary-historical record of the vast system of prisons and labor camps that came into being shortly after the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in 1917 and that underwent an enormous expansion during the rule of Stalin from 1924 to 1953. Various sections of the three volumes describe the arrest, interrogation, conviction, transportation, and imprisonment of the Gulag’s victims by Soviet authorities over four decades. The work mingles historical exposition and Solzhenitsyn’s own autobiographical accounts with the voluminous personal testimony of other inmates that he collected and committed to memory during his imprisonment.Upon publication of the first volume of The Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn was immediately attacked in the Soviet press. Despite the intense interest in his fate that was shown in the West, he was arrested and charged with treason on February 12, 1974, and was exiled from the Soviet Union the following day.
  

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Contents

The Prison Industry
1
Arrest
3
The History of Our Sewage Disposal System
24
The Interrogation
93
The Bluecaps
144
First Cell First Love
179
That Spring
237
n ie Engine Room
277
TVie Law Becomes a Man
334
The Law Matures
371
The Supreme Measure
432
Tyurzak
456
Perpetual Motion
487
The Ships of the Archipelago
489
Translators Notes
616
Index
642

The Law as a Child
299

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Page 174 - Motherland; the colonizers, by civilization; the Nazis, by race; and the Jacobins (early and late), by equality, brotherhood, and the happiness of future generations. Thanks to ideology, the twentieth century was fated to experience evildoing on a scale calculated in the millions.
Page 168 - I credited myself with unselfish dedication. But meanwhile I had been thoroughly prepared to be an executioner. And if I had gotten into an NKVD school under Yezhov, maybe I would have matured just in time for Beria. So let the reader who expects this book to be a political expose slam its covers shut right now.
Page 173 - Macbeth's self-justifications were feeble— and his conscience devoured him. Yes, even lago was a little lamb too. The imagination and the spiritual strength of Shakespeare's evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology.
Page 93 - ... all their time guessing what would happen in twenty, thirty, or forty years had been told that in forty years interrogation by torture would be practiced in Russia; that prisoners would have their skulls squeezed within iron rings; that a human being would be lowered into an acid bath; that they would be trussed up naked to be bitten by ants and bedbugs; that a ramrod heated over a primus stove would be thrust up their anal canal (the "secret brand"); that a man's genitals would be slowly crushed...
Page 168 - If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
Page 174 - Ideology — that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others' eyes, so that he won't hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors.
Page x - And this Archipelago crisscrossed and patterned that other country within which it was located, like a gigantic patchwork, cutting into its cities, hovering over its streets. Yet there were many who did not even guess at its presence and many, many others who had heard something...
Page 70 - Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved!
Page 69 - stormy applause, rising to an ovation." For three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, the "stormy applause, rising to an ovation," continued. But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching. And the older people were panting from exhaustion. It was becoming insufferably silly even to those who really adored Stalin. However, who would dare be the first to stop? The secretary of the District Party Committee could have done it.
Page x - I have absorbed into myself my own eleven years there not as something shameful nor as a nightmare to be cursed: I have come almost to love that monstrous world, and now, by a happy turn of events, I have also been entrusted with many recent reports and letters. So perhaps I shall be able to give some account of the bones and flesh of that salamander— which, incidentally, is still alive.

About the author (1997)

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was born into a family of Cossack intellectuals in Kislovodsk, Russia, in 1918. He fought for the Soviet Union in World War II, achieving the rank of captain of artillery. In 1945 he was arrested for writing a letter in which he criticized Joseph Stalin and spent eight years in prisons and labor camps. In 1956 he was allowed to settle in Ryazan, in central Russia, where he became a mathematics teacher and began to write. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. Following the publication of the first volume of The Gulag Archipelago, he was exiled in 1974. His Soviet citizenship was restored in 1990 and he returned to Russia in 1994, where he now lives.

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