Solzhenitsyn in 1974 (from here)
When exactly did I read it? It was some time in the 1970’s, probably shortly after its publication in the West in 1973. Why did I read it? I had seen my father read other books by the author, The First Circle and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. In addition, considerable news media publicity surrounded Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Like the reporters who covered him, I too thought of Solzhenitsyn as an interesting and important man. This man had exposed The Gulag Archipelago. So it was that I began to read his book.
Although it is now decades since I read The Gulag Archipelago, there are things I still remember about it. Most of all I remember the difficulty of starting the book. Never before had I seen a man grieve on paper, but that is how the book began. For about fifty pages Solzhenitsyn mourned. Repelled by Solzhenitsyn’s anguish, I nearly put the book down, but stubborn…
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