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The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, books V-VII (The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 #5-7)

4.45  ·  Rating Details ·  800 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
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, ...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published January 30th 1997 by Basic Books (first published 1973)
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Stela
Pe 31 ianuarie 2016, cînd începeam cu timiditate și oarecare strîngere de inimă lectura masivei opere a lui Alexandr Soljenițîn, Arhipelagul GULAG, știam despre Gulag „doar” că era simbolul cel mai înfricoșător al represiunii staliniste și că desemna un vast teritoriu amenințător, delimitat vag (pentru mine) geografic prin nordul Rusiei, unde se afla cea mai mare închisoare (nu știam atunci că erau de fapt mai multe) pentru deținuții politici din fosta URSS. Citisem destule despre acest gen de î ...more
Preston Fleming
Nov 20, 2011 Preston Fleming rated it it was amazing
GULAG ARCHIPELAGO: READ VOLUME III FIRST

Reading Solzhenitsyn's GULAG ARCHIPELAGO can be a tough slog. For all its rewards, GULAG can be disjointed, repetitive and confusing. I found the early history of the Gulag in Volumes I and II to be particularly grim.

Volume III, by contrast, contains some of GULAG's richest storytelling, particularly in the chapters that tell of escape, resistance and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unbearable suffering.

My suggestion would be for the ne
...more
Enrique
Jan 05, 2014 Enrique rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Todos
Si bien creo que este libro debe ser leìdo por todos, y que es un deber moral conocer la historia de todas las vìctias que murieron y sufrieron en los Gulag, debo confesar que por momentos la tarea se hace simplemente desconsoladora, es muy difìcil encontrar un haz de luz en el infierno narrado por Solzhenitsyn. Una oarte que narra la evasión de un par de reos, y su penosa huída sin comida ni agua durante 30 días, cuando tras muchos pesares inimaginables (no se trata de una versiòn de prision ...more
Aaron
Jan 11, 2014 Aaron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For many reasons, this book almost does not belong beside these others. Even calling it a mere "book" seems almost obscene. It's importance is incalculable, both in its illumination of the shadowy history of Stalin's Soviet Union, as well as in it's uncompromising and manifold description of the frail human condition through hundreds of heart-breaking personal accounts and anecdotes. I have a suspicion this may be the most important book I've ever read. It needs to keep being read in order to ...more
Sarah Norman
Jan 11, 2014 Sarah Norman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a famous book that one keeps meaning to read, so one has decided to read it. I bought it on Amazon, where the customer reviews are the sort of mouth-frothingly eager ones that make one feel all the more required to read it. Check it out. Charmingly, it comes to me in Zimbabwe as a discarded book from a library in small town Arkansas, complete with index card sleeve.

It's not really the sort of book that one can call 'good,' because that seems sort of disrespectful. Quality terms don't rea
...more
Joseph Sverker
If something has ever deserved to be called momentous, this does. I cannot quite understand how S. can have managed to write such a book. It defies reason, which so many of the lives and occasions he describes do as well. I'm just thinking what would happen if noone would have been able to write about the Soviet camps, what if all this would have been put to non-remembering, it might have happened considering the vasteness of the destruction that the camps represented. Millions of lives would ...more
Marc Zoetendal
Aug 27, 2011 Marc Zoetendal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian-writers
Just read the part of a marvelous escape of two Zeks...an escape that lasted for 3 weeks...3 weeks in which the Zeks lived in relative freedom, but the more time passed the more they felt liked animals being hunted on...and it proofed that nobody could be trusted

Finally finished the 6 books of Gulag..In all it took me five years...
Buddy Don
Oct 13, 2014 Buddy Don rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I've finally finished all three volumes of this amazing work. One of the first things I did upon finishing it was to reshelve it with my histories rather than with novels, since it is not a novel in any real sense of the word. It is, instead, a literary experiment, as claimed at the beginning. It is a wonderful and awful piece of writing, filled with ugly details beautifully conveyed. I suffer from migraines and sometimes think I have had all I could take, but reading a book like this makes any ...more
David Hill
Jan 11, 2014 David Hill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The 5 star rating is for the whole work, not just this volume.

A truly epic work. The Gulag Archipelago chronicles the Soviet concentration camp system in all its facets. It lays out the history of the camp system: its organization, procedures and methods. It's the story of the perversion of the Soviet judicial system. It compares and contrasts the prisons and camps to the same under the Tsars. It is also a memoir. Like any Russian novel, it also tells the stories of hundreds of people.

Before rea
...more
David Miller
Jun 27, 2014 David Miller rated it it was amazing
To finish the 3rd and last volume of the Gulag Archipelago is to complete a great human experience. You will leave these 3 volumes with a much more profound, much deeper, more sorrowful, and richer knowledge of human nature. You will see the great depths of monstrosity people reach every day, and also the great heights of love people attain under the most dire circumstances. The books are not comforting; one and the same soul plumbs the depths and climbs the heights. The one thing Solzhenitsyn ...more
Sheng Peng
May 08, 2016 Sheng Peng rated it it was amazing
The whole trilogy is a greater saga than the Lord of the Rings series, with eviler evils and more heroic heroes.

Solzhenitsyn speaks as Russia's conscience, and more broadly, he speaks for what is being human. The ridicule it lays on top of the regime and The Butcher is insanely funny, and rightfully so. The austere facade of the Vanguard Doctrine and its suite of Leaders and Helmsmen deflated in hysterical manners after these pinpricks. The black on white, bloodthirsty theory of communism has b
...more
Jan Kjellin
Man kan förstås inte bedöma de sista tre delarna av GULAG-arkipelagen utan att samtidigt väga samman hela verket.

Inte heller känns det rimligt att göra en bedömning endast utifrån de människoöden som passerar och GULAG-arkipelagens rent konkreta historia.

För mig ligger värdet i möjligheten att mellan raderna skymta mig själv, trots att jag aldrig tidigare (och förhoppningsvis inte heller senare) kommer att finna mig i ett dylikt helvete.

Värdet ligger i detta, och i Solsjenitsyns beskrivning av e
...more
Ilya
Jan 11, 2014 Ilya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs, Russians
One of the best peices of non-fiction I've ever read.

The Gulag is an acronym that refers to a system of Soviet prison camps set up during the Stalinist purges. If you want an idea of how much the Russian people have been through in the 20th century- this book is a must.

Tough to get through... long and intense. If you want the jist of it, read "One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich". I felt like a Jew reading about the Holocaust- just kind of biased because I could sort of imagine this whole thi
...more
John
Aug 27, 2011 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
The first half of the final volume of the Gulag Archipelago reads like "The Great Escape." Much of the first section of the book is devoted to chronicling many escape attempts, and attempted escape attempts of those in the labor camps. These are thrilling adventures and are fun and exhilarating to read. There is also an extended portion about a prison camp that scared off the guards for forty days, formed its own government, and functioned apart from the camp administration. All the while the ...more
Katie
Jan 11, 2014 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like nazi and ww2 movies
Wanted to read it for a while and this year decided to pick it up as a read for the bus from the parking lot to the university. Worked out great, I read this 1200+ pages book in the school year.
There's one part of the book that I found boring - 3 chapter in the 1st tome that talk about laws. The rest was entertaining and easy to read. When Solzhenitsyn goes into his personal stories, he's at his best.
There are many things to learn from this book. My favorite is chifir' - very strong tea drink th
...more
Mimi
Jan 07, 2014 Mimi rated it really liked it
Like those films from grade school where you started out in space and zoomed in to focus on the microscopic level, the Gulag Archipelago story arch starts out on the vast, general level and ends up focusing on Solzhenitsyn and those imprisoned with him, making the third volume much more of a story. Here you meet those who escaped, those who revolted, and those who survived cancer. You see the effect of Stalin's death, and the thaws and freezes that followed. Haunting, hefty, and important.
Sebastian
Jun 15, 2016 Sebastian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always been fascinated by the Soviet Union and their system of repression. Ever since I read Anne Applebaum's book on the Gulag system, I wanted to know more about it and I set out not to read the condensed version of Solzhenitsyn's tale of the Gulag but the full three volumes of it which I eventually did (and which is one of the works I definitly plan on reading again once I am in retirement and have the time on my hands).
Paul
Mar 19, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Truly worthwhile. A historical record and analysis and a personal story all running in parallel. Provides surprising insights into workings of governments, psychology, human motivations and of course the mind harrowing horrors of Russian 20th century history, showing how a whole society can collapse in on itself.
Angelina
Jan 22, 2015 Angelina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia
The language often makes it difficult to read, but I've always been fascinated by Russian history, especially the Revolution and Stalin and the gulags. It was incredibly informative regarding methods of torture and coercion, conditions of prisons, and the lives of those exiled. A fascinating read.
Vasil Kolev
Apr 11, 2015 Vasil Kolev rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-read, history
(също много добър превод)

Книгата трябва да се прочете. Не е лесно най-вече поради силата на чувствата, които поражда, и не покрива всичките гнусотии, свършени от съветския режим, но прочитането и може да помогне да откриваме техните сенки и при нас из България (които много хубаво описват Стефан Бочев и Георги Марков).
Cynthia Garlett
Mar 30, 2013 Cynthia Garlett rated it really liked it
The historical outline of this book explains a lot of the social and political environment of Europe and Russia. An understanding about how WWII began and the reason why many countries entered into this battle.
Nick Black
Aug 27, 2011 Nick Black rated it liked it
Parts I and II are essential reading for understanding the 20th century. Part III begins to fall apart. Supposedly, there's a part IV, but I've neither seen it nor heard a review. Solzhenitsyn went kinda nuts late in life, and I'll likely leave that one be.
Nick Gibson
Aug 06, 2016 Nick Gibson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By volume three the reader's drive to finish may need to be heroic. Worth it as always, of course, though by this point the most useful comments are those on the broader currents of Russian (and human) behavior.
sologdin
Jul 28, 2015 sologdin rated it liked it
you know you're in trouble when the third volume of your magnificent octopus is marketed on the cover as "now including inspiring tales of escape! for the first time!"

my approach would've been to highlight the awful, rather than emphasize the allegedly heroic.
Susagna
Jan 11, 2014 Susagna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una obra monumental (en tres volums) sobre l'experiència i supervivència al sistema penitenciari soviètic. Escrit en la més absoluta clandestinitat entre 1958 i 1967. A l'Arxipèlag Gulag es deia: Els dirigents passen, l'Arxipèlag perdura.
Andy
Jan 11, 2014 Andy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Goodreads's five-star rating carries the description "it was amazing". That description really doesn't apply to this book. "Amazingly powerful", "amazingly moving", and "amazingly disturbing" all apply along with "frighteningly readable" and "damning indictment of the Soviet system".
Ken
Jan 11, 2014 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually read the unabridged volumes separately, but could not find them here. I am amazed at the frankness and factuality with which Solzhenitsyn writes. I can't be this detached about my selection of underwear, much less what this man has been through.
Carla Krueger
Jun 24, 2016 Carla Krueger rated it really liked it
This is a really difficult book to read because of its subject matter and content but, it's truly incredible. A friend of mine gave me her copy and it sparked an interest in an area of history I'd never really learned anything about before – and a GR friend just reminded me of it today!
Ross
Mar 11, 2016 Ross rated it really liked it
People like this volume the best, I've gathered. It deals with camp rebellion and internal exile after leaving the gulag, and maybe for the sake of variety after trudging the infinite taiga of this text, it just felt fresh. I'm not sure that I preferred it over the others necessarily, however.
Brendan
Mar 25, 2016 Brendan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite if the three volumes of the Archipelago, mostly for the abundance of personal stories. As a whole, this work is dark and daunting, but something that anyone remotely interested in freedom and liberty as things that should never be taken for granted should read.
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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
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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 I-II
  • The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, books III-IV
  • Fängelseindustrin (Gulag-arkipelagen, #1)
  • Evig rörelse (Gulag-arkipelagen, #2)
  • The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

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