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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Summer tip

    When Alexander Solzhenitsyn died Sunday, it aroused a predictable reaction from all over the world on behalf of the legendary Soviet dissident. Most of us, however, probably responded: “”Who?”” After all, to our generation, the Soviet Union is dimly remembered at best.

    For those who want to know more about Solzhenitsyn – surely one of the few defining writers of our age – the best place to start is certainly “”One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich,”” his short, unforgettable portrayal of a relatively uneventful day in the life of an inmate of one of Stalin’s prison camps, who goes to bed thinking that “”nothing had spoiled the day and it had been almost happy.””

    Solzhenitsyn, who spent eight years in such a camp for once criticizing Stalin in a letter, wrote about what he knew. His 1962 book scandalized the Soviet Union and made the whole world acutely aware of its vicious campaign against its own people.

    Then there’s his epic masterwork, “”The Gulag Archipelago.”” Few readers, probably, are up to the task of facing all three volumes of Solzhenitsyn’s detailed indictment of the Soviet system. Fortunately for the time-deprived, there’s an abridged version of 512 pages available from Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

    – Justyn Dillingham

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