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Publisher's Summary

In this final volume of a towering work that is both literary masterpiece and living memorial to the untold millions of Soviet martyrs, Solzhenitsyn's epic narrative moves to its astounding and unforseen climax. We now see that this great cathedral of a book not only commemorates those massed victims but celebrates the unquenched spirit of resistance that flickered and then burst into flame even in Stalin's "special camps."

Of the Archipelago as a whole, Le Monde has said: "It is the epic of our times. An epic is always the creation of an entire people, written by the one person who has the creative power and the genius to become the spokesman for his nation. And in this work, we hear a people speaking through the impassioned, intrepid, ironic, furious, lyrical, brutal, and often tender voice of the narrator."

Download the other volumes of The Gulag Archipelago.
©1973 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (P)1990 by Blackstone Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Howie
  • Calgary, AB, Canada
  • 08-01-13

If the whole series is too daunting, read this one

Concentrates on life in the Gulag and Solzhenitsyns harrowing experiences and others around him. This volume reads more like a novel IMHO, and is great first person account of the horrors of the Terror and life in the Gulag, from a 20th century icon. Highly recommend for anyone with interest in the Soviet era of Russian history.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • JBB32
  • Rolling Hills, CA, United States
  • 09-19-12

Great Art smashes Tyranny

Reading or listening to this book is a massive undertaking, but well worth it. The translation is brilliant, the chapters sounding like they were written primarily in English by a master wordsmith such as Gibbon or Thackeray. It is indeed fortunate that the English language has more words than any other: nothing is lost, and the translator, if good, can actually amplify meaning - as he does here.

The authenticity of Solzhenitsyn's experience is clearly beyond question. It is even acknowledged by the present Putin regime, and the work is obligatory reading in Russian schools today. Listening to this detailed chronical of suffering, torture, starvation, depersonalization and arbitary murder - on a mind-boggling scale - there can be no doubt of the moral, social, economic and intellectual bankruptcy of the communist system.

But wait! When was the book first published in the West? It was as long ago as 1973. Did those left wing sympathizers of the seventies and eighties, those 'useful idiots,' those protesters, those hippies, those Bertrand Russels not read this book? If they did, their understanding must have been clouded by the fumes of a forbidden substance.

Yet, within this massive work of oppression and slavery, we occasionally glimpse the human spirit flaring up in a few brave, doomed souls striking out for justice, and dignity. Those short bright flares inspire us to cheer and shout 'Freedom!' from the rooftops. Long may communism be relagated to its rightful place in the dustbin of history!

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

The saddest book I ever read.

The Cold War has been over long enough that we have begun to forget how cruel the Soviet state was. This book is a necessary reminder and a classic that everyone who is interested in history (so that we are not condemned to repeat it endlessly) should read/listen to.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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amazing book.

absolutely outstanding for, and a must-read for everyone. Especially now in a time when he's seen evil Marxist ideas are rearing their head again. If you claim to be a Marxist or socialist, communist Etc and you haven't read this book than you don't actually know what you're talking about.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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very good

a masterpiece in literature, I doubt I gleaned as much as I could have from it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dave
  • Minster, OH, United States
  • 07-15-09

A Masterpiece!

Listen to this book to realize what it means to be human and to live in freedom. A truly great work.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gene
  • Agoura Hills, CA, USA
  • 11-27-03

You're in for a treat

If you made it this far in the trilogy, get ready for some of the most exciting parts. The prison escapes and revolts are quite thrilling. I would say that the two most lasting effects of this work, besides a picture of an essential part of the psyche of Russia, are the depiction of the feeling of "what, who me?" after one, incredibly, is picked up by the KGB, for, essentially, nothing, and the thriller aspects of the last volume. Yes, this is a superficial aspect, but the author had to find some surface excitement to hook the deep insights to, as did Shakespeare, and the author did a superb job. The reading is perfect.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Life-Changing

This is a must-read for our times, a reminder that freedom is precious indeed. The level of research and detail is fascinating.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Absolutely phenomenal

There is no such thing as an innocent leftist. You are either willingly ignorant or knowingly complicit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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must read, must read! must read!!!

it truly is one of the most important books to read or listen, and the performance is darn near perfect.
it is long but well worth it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. M. Piotrowicz
  • 07-24-17

Classic book, likely forgotten this days,

I appreciate listening to this book in times that are overshadowed with nationalism, isolationism, mass migrations and wars, and change in status quo. Not least that it was book recommended by uncle who spent 12 years in archipelago and I consider him my closest relative too.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. S. Hindmarsh
  • 06-05-17

Sobering

Great narration of a story about your worst nightmare. Does communism have any success stories?

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • slwan fayyad
  • 02-21-18

Brilliant insight into oppression of soviet system

packed with detail, that paints a full picture of the terror and drudgery of the communist system and the suffering of the countless millions trapped in its gulags

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-15-18

A Middle Finger to The Cowards of The World

Brilliant and brave book that spits in the face of totalitarianism and sheds light on man's more-than-likely cowardice.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-15-18

Reflection of today.

I loved this book. The stories should never be forgotten and people around the world should work to ensure we don't repeat such events - these people endured such atrocious acts, not only by the government, but their fellow humans who were made to fear and forced to conform.

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  • John William Leahy
  • 04-17-18

Harrowing Depiction of Soviet Gulags

What made the experience of listening to The Gulag Archipelago the most enjoyable?

The narrator was excellent. Great enunciation and dynamic range. Frederick Davidson did a wonderful job. Not soppy or sentimental but read with the absolute clarity and searing reality of gulag life.

What other book might you compare The Gulag Archipelago to, and why?

Can't compare. It is on its own.

Have you listened to any of Frederick Davidson’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Haven't listened to his other performances.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

This book requires some time to listen to. There is a lot to take in.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-27-18

depressing as it is necessary.

Not easy to get through. a great warning from history of the pitfalls of communism. horrible story but more necessary than ever in todays climate.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-27-18

like getting stabbed in the liver several times

never a happy ending under communism, beautifully acerbic - commensurate with his times. definitely one of the most important books of the 20th century to read, lest anyone with direction in this world tread naively underfoot of the change they wish to bring