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Archipiélago Gulag, 1918-1956: ensayo de investigación literaria, I-II (The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 #1-2)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  2,051 ratings  ·  156 reviews
Archipielago Gulag era el nombre de la red de campos de internamiento y de castigo sovieticos donde fueron recluidos millones de personas durante la segunda mitad del siglo XX. En este monumental documento, Solzhenitsyn, que estuvo confinado en uno de esos campos, reconstruye minuciosamente la vida en el interior de la industria penitenciaria en tiempos de la Union Sovieti ...more
Paperback, 824 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Tusquets (first published 1973)
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I went for a walk this afternoon, strolling around the unfamiliar student district near Chosun University. It was pleasant just to be out and about, looking at stuff, breathing in air lightly spiced with the peculiar sewage-and-market smells of urban Korea. As I often do, I stopped off at a café, where I sat and dicked around on my iPad for an hour. Then I came home and put on a load of laundry. And that was about it.

Is my itinerary of any conceivable interest to anyone? Hardly. But listen now:
Jul 08, 2010 Heath rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Soviet history buffs, Russian literature fans
One of the most compelling non-fiction texts I've ever read. I naively picked this up after reading One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovitch thinking it would be a longer version of a similar concept. Instead, it turns out this mighty work is half well-researched investigation into the processing of Soviet political prisoners and half personal account of the author's own experience in the "sewage-waste disposal" that led to the gulag.

I'll concede that Solzhenitsyn's personal accounts are the rea
This work is not simply a testament and memorial to the victims of the Gulag, it is also a testament to Solzhenitsyn's courage and righteous anger. That he was once a victim of Gulag himself only underlines that courage, for he could easily have gone back in again for writing this testimonial. And while current figures (1.5 – 2 million) for the numbers of those who died in the Gulag are much less than those estimated by Solzhenitsyn in this book, it still boggles the imagination to think that, a ...more
This is not an easy read, and nor was it ever meant to be. It was originally written in Russian for Russians, and the odd sensibilities and colloquialisms that irritate many of my fellow Anglophones reflect this fact. It's extremely dense, and I probably won't get to the other four parts in the near future. However, anyone with an interest in the history of Communism, the Soviet Union, or political repression in general should read it. Yes, it's tedious, and it is tough going if you've never tak ...more
Dec 23, 2007 Gwen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Russion Lit/History buffs, with strong stomachs
Although this was really tough to slog through, by its end, I'm on the edge of my seat to read more. I hadn't known this was a seven part work, encapsuled in three volumes. I agree with another reviewer--it is hard to rate this (volume 1) with a certain number of stars, the implication being that everyone should read it--this is not your pollyanna bedtime story. But it is such an IMPORTANT work. Thank you to those who've translated it and distributed it. I hope all who value the first volume go ...more
A story I've told more than a few times: when Mr. Solzhenitsyn died in 2008, I thought that an appropriate time to read this book. So I took it with me on a business trip (I found a receipt in the book from 8/19/2008) and read quite a bit of it with much interest. I was so wrapped up in the book, in fact, that I was surprised when I felt the plane begin to slow down. "Could we already be to Newark? Gosh, that seemed like a short trip." In fact, when I looked out the window, we were slowing down ...more
Feb 28, 2008 Phil rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This might be the best book written in the twentieth century. It is, of course, an important historical document. Its six books one by one deal with the entire experience and history of the GULAG system; not just in terms of events but in the effect words and concepts have on reality. Here is where this book transcends history and rises to greatness. Solzhenitsyn uses the GULAG system to define the moral bankruptcy of the society and the philosophy that produced this nightmare, barbed-wire world ...more
Sometimes (like today) when I have had a really long day at work, and nothing seems to be quite going my way, or I'm verbally assaulted by one or more parties, or I have to do too much math and my brain melts a little, I think that the idea of being in the Gulag sounds pretty nice right now.

Of course I'm not serious, and if you think I am, you shouldn't be reading my reviews.

But on days like today where it just doesn't seem like things could get much worse, it's hard not to think of Solzhenitsyn
This is the kind of book that is talked about, and quoted more often than it is read. In God's providence, Solzhenitsyn was arrested and spent years in the Gulag. What miserable irony that a man of Solzhenitsyn's literary talent spent time in the Gulag allowing him to expose the horrors of Soviet communism to the world.

This book is an important testament to the wicked ideology of communism. It is clear from this first volume alone that Soviet communism was a far greater evil than the Nazism of H
It's taking me a long time to get through the Gulag Arhcipelago. I have to add a leaven of more cheerful books to sustain me, but that unfortunately makes me feel like I can't keep a very accurate mental picture of the details.

Still, when I first opened Volume 1, I couldn't help feeling a thrill of excitement imagining the lightning bolt this book was in its time and how it must have felt to obtain it secretly, read it hurriedly -- and nervously! -- and again pass it on.

I have heard, and I bel
Pierre E. Loignon
Écrit dans la clandestinité en une vingtaine d’années à partir de sa propre expérience d’emprisonnement et de témoignages d’anciens détenus, ce livre a eu, à partir de sa publication en 1973, un impact déterminant dans les milieux intellectuels de gauche qui refusaient toujours de condamner les dérives infernales du stalinisme.
Ayant miraculeusement survécu au Goulag, Soljenitsyne prend la voie en son nom, mais aussi en celui des compagnons d’infortune qui n’ont pas pu s’en tirer, par devoir de
Patrick Sprunger


The Gulag either killed or unmanned most of its victims. Those who survived it with their sanity intact were nevertheless permanently changed. Frankly this creates a conundrum for the first-hand chronicler: (A) On the one hand there is no more reliable account of human tragedy than a victim's, but (B) the victim has such a compelling reason to resent the system that objectivity becomes very unlikely.

I can't honestly say how far to take Solzhenitsyn at his word. He points out - in his tra
In this massive work in three volumes, Solzhenitsyn reveals the horror and insanity of the Soviet penal system from the inside, focusing on his own experiences and those of others in the GULAG labour camps. In volume 1, comprised of the first two parts, “The Prison Industry” and “Perpetual Motion”, he doesn’t even reach the camps themselves, nor should he; there is too much to tell about the Soviet “courts” and “justice” (in Part I) and the intricate and horrid transportation and reshuffling of ...more
Feb 24, 2009 Jonathan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone planning on exercising their right to vote.
Recommended to Jonathan by: Mom
Shelves: non-fiction
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn should need no introduction; yet, sadly, his recent passing went largely unmarked in this hemisphere. Solzhenitsyn wrote a variety of works, including much fiction, but he is most often remembered for nearly single-handedly exposing the Soviet "judicial" system, and its inevitable final stop, the Gulag, to world scrutiny. In this book, the first of a series detailing his experiences as a political prisoner, Solzhenitsyn delineates the origins of this system from ...more
Dec 13, 2009 Matt rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This is a mammoth read and there are still six parts left in another volume! The author was a political prisoner in Communist Russia and wrote of his experience meshed in with hundreds of other prisoners experiences as well. He doesn't just tell stories, he dismantles the Soviet system through exposing the truth with stories and critical thinking laced with scathing sarcasm and painful memories. He does all of this following the outline of the different experiences - the arrest, the interrogatio ...more
This set of books is classic. I read Vol. I, then went on to read other books by Solzhenitsyn, while searching out V. II, as well as many other accounts of tyrannical government run amok. I hope that any one would come away, after reading this, with a resolve of "never on my shift". The NAZIs got away with the holocaust because decent people refused to acknowledge what transpired. Surely the same occurred WRT the Gulag.
This is an eye-opening, life-changing experience.
Liz Farrington
To start: reading the abridged version is probably fine. But if you have the time, I cannot recommend the unabridged version enough. This is a book that is as engrossing as it is historically important. The first volume (Parts I-II) describes a wide range of things, focusing in the beginning on the arrest and sentencing process for gulag prisoners, including the author. It's filled with graphic horrors and absolutely appalling anecdotes; but it's also caustically, cuttingly funny. Solzhenitsyn p ...more
Очень тяжелая книга об обратной стороне революции и власти советов. Вот лишь некоторые мысли, которые приходят в голову:
1. Миллионы людей уничтожены, замучены и истреблены за период: 1917-1950 гг. Зачем, за что? Уничтожены лучшие люди: предприимчивые крестьяне - "кулаки", инженеры - "вредители", интеллигенция и др. Высокую цену заплатило наше общество, наш генофонд за это истребление
2. Великое влияние "системы", безвольность людей: "пытали и мучали людей ведь не одни вожди, а за несколько лет бы
Kevin Dunn
If you would like to know where Socialistic thinking leads this book maps out the history of the USSR brutal prison system that was hidden from view for many years. A great book to help you to understand where the line of thinking will eventually lead.
I've actually read only volume one, but have volume two queued up and ready to go.

I give this five stars because it's an important book more than a great book. It's easy to see why the author won the Nobel Peace Prize.

There is little that can be called pleasurable about this book. Although the author proceeds at a leisurely pace and is always calm, rational, and at times even subtly good-humored, on matters about which he could behave like a screaming fanatic, the entire contents: descriptions o
JoséMaría BlancoWhite
Why was -and still is- this book by Solzhenitsyn so important and such a mandatory read? For many reasons, but foremost among them: so that we know, remember and honor those who were killed, tortured, enslaved, imprisoned in Communist Russia concentration camps, known as the Gulag. The Gulag is the equivalent of the Nazi concentration camp, only larger. Its lowest number of prisoners held at any given time was between 15 and 20 million: that's more people than many European countries have in tot ...more
Stephie Jane Rexroth
"Own nothing! Possess nothing! Buddha and Christ taught us this, and the Stoics and the Cynics. Greedy though we are, why can't we seem to grasp that simple teaching? Can't we understand that with property we destroy our soul?

"So let the herring keep warm in your pocket until you get to the transit prison rather than beg for something to drink here. And did they give us a two-day supply of bread and sugar? In that case, eat it in one sitting. Then no one will steal it from you, and you won't hav
Tair Kuanyshev
Вот и закончил 3 тома "Архипелаг ГУЛАГа". Основанный на реальных событиях, и описанный языком людей прошедших через ужасные времена лагерей Советского Союза, того Союза который был на самом деле, а не в красивых лозунгах и плакатах пропанды. Начиная с красного террора после октябрьской революции, и работавшая на всю катушко во время Сталина "машина смерти" унесла жизни миллионов людей и искалечила сюдьбы их семей. Факты имевшие место быть в истории вызывают чувства ненависти и лишь заставляет ра ...more
Oct 25, 2008 Enrique rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Todos
"Si la libertad tarda aún muchos años en llegar a nuestro país, la mera lectura y difusión de este libro entrañarán un gran peligro, de modo que también debo inclinarme agradecido ante los lectores futuros, en nombre de quienes dieron sus vidas". Este es un extracto del prefacio con el que Solzhenitzyn antecede su obra enciclopédica de tres tomos, Archipielago GULAG. Tras leer esto es virtualmente imposible no comprometerte a leer esta obra. Esta no es una simple historia de supervivencia ni un ...more
Jan Kjellin

Alexander Solsjenitsyns mäktiga uppgörelse med och redogörelse för den s.k. GULAG-arkipelagen består av sju delar och inleds med ”Fängelseindustrin”. Med bitter ironi skildrar Solsjenitsyn framväxten av ett rättssystem där frågan inte är huruvida den anhållne är skyldig eller inte, utan vad den anhållne är skyldig till. Och vidhåller den anhållne sin oskyldighet tvingas systemet ta till kraftfulla metoder (läs: tortyr) för att dra fram ett erkännande. Logiken om det ofelbara sys
Jonathan-David Jackson
This book is the best argument I've seen against, "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." In the wrong place, at the wrong time (in this case, in the Soviet Union between 1918 and 1956), merely being a friend to someone who is a criminal can make you a criminal. Being a rival to a member of the police makes you a criminal. Being captured by the enemy could make you a criminal - Russian POWs were 'diminishing the might of the Soviet Army' by being captured, so when they were resc ...more
This book was pretty incredible. It gives an incredibly detailed look into the life of those who were forced into the Gulag camps during the Soviet purgings under Stalin. I first learned about these purgings while taking a Russian literature class in college, and became quite fascinated. This book has several first hand accounts of the cruelty and unfair treatment that those in the camps received. This book mainly focuses on those who were thrown into the camps and the interogations that they we ...more
Without doubt, this is the most intense book I have ever read. The Gulag Archipelago describes the tiny, land-locked Islands dotted throughout the vast interior of the USSR that make up the Soviet prison system. Isolated from both the world and the Soviet people, rivers and railroads are the Arteries connecting these Islands, with the Organ of the State pumping out fresh prisoners by the millions in a campaign of fear and forced submission for decades on end. As a former resident of the Archipel ...more
Das Ganze ist – so unglaublich es einem beim Lesen vorkommen mag – tatsächlich nicht erfunden. Alles ist Solschenizyn selbst oder seine Mithäftlingen widerfahren. Der Autor selbst verbrachte unter Stalin viele Jahre im Gulag und in der anschließenden Verbannung; in diesem ersten Band geht es aber in erster Linie um Vorgeschichte und Rahmenbedingungen eines typischen Lagerlebens: Die Verhaftung, die Untersuchungs- bzw. Durchgangshaft, den Transport in die Lager, die entsprechenden Paragraphen und ...more
There are times I have to put this book down, because it is just too much. My hurt hearts, I break out in a sweat, I almost cry-out at the injustice, the twisted logic, the explicit, overt, and mean-spirited politicization of life and the economy that created this massive and unrelenting beast of a prison system in Russia and the Soviet Union. I trucked through 350 pages and felt drained, beaten -- as though I were in the Lubyanka, the Butyrki, Lefortovo! I picked it up several weeks later and r ...more
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Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was a Soviet and Russian novelist, dramatist, and historian. Through his writings he helped to make the world aware of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system – particularly The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, two of his best-known works.

Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. He was exiled from
More about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn...

Other Books in the Series

The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 (6 books)
  • The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, books III-IV
  • The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, books V-VII
  • Fängelseindustrin (Gulag-arkipelagen, #1)
  • Evig rörelse (Gulag-arkipelagen, #2)
  • The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 Cancer Ward The First Circle August 1914

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“Arrest is an instantaneous, shattering thrust, expulsion, somersault from one state into another.” 2 likes
“But this became the first plan of his life to fail. God told him - apparently with the help of human hands - to depart from his ribcage.” 1 likes
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