THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO, 1918-1956

AN EXPERIMENT IN LITERARY INVESTIGATION (VOLUME ONE)

We have lived through so very much, and almost none of it has been called by its right name." Westerners, of course, already possess mammoth accounts of the Soviet prison system — the "Gulag Archipelago" of interrogation centers, transit camps, slave labor installations, etc. Here it is returned in a voice both different and familiar, a sarcastic, exclamatory, poetic, hyper-Russian voice. Among all the charts of convoys, arrest quotas, grotesque trials and torture, several things stand out. One is Solzhenitsyn's portraits of his fellow prisoners. Another is an account, adumbrated in his novels, of the regime's persecution of Soviet POW's during and after World War II. Finally there is Solzhenitsyn's now thumping anti-Bolshevism. Stalin, he thinks, simply followed "the beaten track"; already in Lenin's time the horrors were planted, he insists, viewing the Civil War and the early 1920's self-righteously rather than historically. The book praises the mildness of the czarist prison system, again disregarding the context. And Solzhenitsyn's moving sympathy for the Russian soldiers who defected to Vlasov's anti-Soviet army is mingled with hints of political approval which have already engendered intricate, sizzling debate. This volume is only one third of the whole work; judgment on the shape and color of Solzhenitsyn's anti-Communism must await the remainder. Meanwhile, "I have come almost to love that monstrous world" of the Archipelago, he says — it was more rial than ordinary secular life.

Pub Date: June 24, 1974

ISBN: 0813332893

Page Count: 676

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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