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The Oak and the Calf: A Memoir | [Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn]

The Oak and the Calf: A Memoir

The great Russian novelist and historian here reveals his round-by-round personal account of what it was like to be a writer in a Communist regime. He tells of his ten-year war to outwit Russia's rulers and get his works published in his own country. During his lengthy stay in the Gulag, Solzhenitsyn spent considerable time writing in total secrecy. In the 60s he was released and found himself a fairly free man. Soon thereafter, Khrushchev denounced Stalin, hope emerged briefly, and the underground writer decided to surface. The result was the publication in Russia of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and with it, the first public exposure of the truth about the prison camps. From this point, as would be expected, the KGB pursued him and Solzhenitsyn here tells of his clever strategy to foil their attempts to re-arrest him.
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Publisher's Summary

The great Russian novelist and historian here reveals his round-by-round personal account of what it was like to be a writer in a Communist regime. He tells of his ten-year war to outwit Russia's rulers and get his works published in his own country.
During his lengthy stay in the Gulag, Solzhenitsyn spent considerable time writing in total secrecy. In the 60s he was released and found himself a fairly free man. Soon thereafter, Khrushchev denounced Stalin, hope emerged briefly, and the underground writer decided to surface. The result was the publication in Russia of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and with it, the first public exposure of the truth about the prison camps. From this point, as would be expected, the KGB pursued him and Solzhenitsyn here tells of his clever strategy to foil their attempts to re-arrest him.

©1975 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn; (P)1989 by Blackstone Audiobooks

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4.2 (32 )
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  •  
    Leslie Montreal, Quebec, Canada 09-17-09
    Leslie Montreal, Quebec, Canada 09-17-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    "good"

    The book is very interesting and contains Solzhenitsyn's typical humour. It is an impressive story of courage in the face of a totalitarian system. The narrator does a good job. The only problem is that the audio quality is not quite as high as other recordings.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurence 01-15-13
    Laurence 01-15-13

    Laurence

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is basically the book "1984" on steroids."
    Would you listen to The Oak and the Calf again? Why?

    I was initially put off by the claims of poor audio quality but am glad that I persisted and purchased the audio book. It is excellent and greatly assists in understanding Solzhenitsyn the man, his purposes and the way that he succeeded in getting the message out about Russia's appalling state "security" system. I think that it is best read after "Gulag Archipelago" since this is essentially the sequel. I also found it helpful to read "One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich" before "The Oak..." since that book plays such an important role in the narrative.
    I think that I will likely re-read this book at some stage since it contains so many valuable insights into systems that are founded upon lies and become intolerant of truth in any form. It also provided invaluable insight into the ways that people deal with massive lie webs, either by animalizing internalization or humanizing resistance. In a world where lies are becoming increasingly prevalent, Solzhenitsyn's books are important lens cleaners for the soul and an encouragement to those who seek the truth to set them free.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Oak and the Calf?

    Aleksandr's first day in internal exile.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Probably would not be possible.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Shields 05-30-11 Member Since 2003

    Book blogger at Bookwi.se

    HELPFUL VOTES
    183
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    "Bad audio quality"

    Make sure you listen to a sample. The audio is not very good quality. The narrator is not bad (although not great) but the audio sounds like you are listening to a recording of a recording of a recording. Just plain muddy.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andre Vancouver, BC, Canada 09-15-13
    Andre Vancouver, BC, Canada 09-15-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Terrible production"
    Any additional comments?

    Solzhenytsin's story is something that anyone interested in Soviet history should become familiar with. The narrator did an excellent job. However, the technical production of this reading was execrable. There was a constant drone of other voices in the background. I suspect this is the result of the studio not being properly sound-proofed. The producer releasing such a shoddy production is inexcusable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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