Friday, December 27, 2013


In Paris 40 years ago on December 28, 1973, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s masterpiece, “The Gulag Archipelago” was published. Describing the horrors of the Soviet forced labor camps, the book was translated into 40 languages and some 10 million copies were printed around the world. “Judged by how much impact a book has on the course of world history, this is certainly the most influential book of the 20th century,” said Solzhenitsyn’s literary agent, French publisher Claude Durand. “Solzhenitsyn’s book was a shock to us,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, who died in 1989, wrote in his memoir. “From the first pages arose the sinister world of grey camps surrounded by barbed wire, torture chambers... millions of our citizens vanished in glacial mines of Kolyma.”

Two months after the book’s publication, Solzhenitsyn was arrested, stripped of his citizenship and expelled from the USSR. Of the 20 years he was to be exiled from his homeland, Solzhenitsyn spent almost 18 of them in Cavendish.aa
On January 11, the Cavendish Historical Society and the Cavendish Library will be holding a discussion about “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.” Published in  1962 during a less repressive era under Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, the book
described one day in the life of a gulag prisoner. As a result of writing this book, Solzhenitsyn said, “Thousands of ex-prisoners wrote to me after the publication of Ivan Denisovich. I then realized that fate sent me what I needed. I got material for The Archipelago thanks to them,”
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is available at the Cavendish Library, most book stores and from ebookbrowse
Film adaptations of the book are available at the following sites:

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