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Publisher's Summary

This second volume in Solzhenitsyn’s narrative chronicles the appalling inhumanity of the Soviets' "Destructive-Labor Camps" and the fate of prisoners in them—felling timber, building canals and railroads, and mining gold without equipment or adequate food or clothing, and subject always to the caprices of the camp authorities. Most tragic of all is the life of the women prisoners and the luckless children they bear.

Once again, this chronicle of appalling inhumanity is made endurable by the vitality and emotional range of the writing. In one truly remarkable chapter, a parody of an anthropological treatise, Solzhenitsyn achieves new heights of sardonic wit. And in the final section, the music changes and he provides a magnificent coda on the possibilities of redemption and purification through suffering.

©1974 Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn (P)1989 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Excellent and tragic.

All three volume should be required reading for everyone around the world. People are already forgetting the tragedies and malignancy brought about by Marxism in the 20th century. Anyone defending or supporting Marxism, communism, or socialism should read this so that they actually know what it is they are supporting. Otherwise they are just ignorant children making noise.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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An epic of horror, history, & philosophy

A profound reflection on life in adversity. It's long, yes, but I never found it boring. Reading through the 3 volumes, I suffer a faint shadow of Gulag horror through the fellow feeling that Solzhenitsun's evokes. He is an inspired master story-teller and has an amazing ability to view all characters with charity. He convinces even the most sensitive and peace-loving reader that you may very well be capable of unspeakable evil if pushed to extremes. Everyone in camp faces the choice: turn right and sacrifice your life or turn left and sacrifice your conscience (at about 15:40). The irony is not lost on the careful reader that Solzhenitsyn himself preserved his own life. Did he lose his conscience? There are such thinly-veiled Christian overtones here and elsewhere. Regardless of your faith choice or knowledge of Chriatianity, the human experience that hits home over and over will win you over to a new appreciation of freedom and reflection on the relative merits of limited government, human rights, and the rule of law.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant

A superb work and a superb performance! Solzhenitsyn's storytelling and intimate writing style is mesmerizing. Davidson's reading makes you feel like you're listening to the author himself.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Important book, great author, wonderful narrator

Frederick Davidson is the perfect narrator for Solzhenitzyn's ironic, wry authorial style. That authorial style is what makes this otherwise unbearable book manageable. It's a hard book to read/listen because the ugliness of mankind is on full display. It's made even more difficult by the fact that Solzhenitsyn makes sure we recognize this work not only as a window to see the evil of others, but also a mirror that reflects back the evil that dwells in each of our hearts. For this reason, everyone needs to read this book

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Amazing! Just Builds on Volume 1

The Gulag Archipelago is a spectacular series. I guess one could call it a book, with three specified volumes. Each volume serves a singular purpose. The book gives one the feeling of being there in person, unlike any other memoir I’ve ever read or encountered. It’s riveting, gut wrenching, and unbelievable. All told, it’s the epitome of the horrors of man’s inhumanity to man. But also in triumph.

Frederick Davidson brings it to life in a way unlike any could.

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Sad But True

Solzhenitsyn continues his narrative of The Gulag Archipelago . Volume II seems to be a continuance of Volume I mostly in personal stories. which to me, felt a bit redundant. Hence the 4 stars overall. Only toward the last half does he begin to pull it all together with a promise of sorts to pull it together even further in Volume three which I look forward to reading. It is a history of ruined lives, a ruined country, ruined ideals, psychological ruin, financial ruin, etc. etc. One gets the feeling that Solzhenitsyn himself is sitting next to you as you read, so intense is his narrative. Frederick Davidson does a fine job imitating the authors words.

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A Must Read.

His discussion of the soul and the dividing line evil with each Human was one of the most profound things I have ever read. It may change my life.

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One of the most important histories of the 20th

The performer's posh accent leads to some trailing 's's that become tiresome. however, the history contained is worth struggling through.

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Scary

If you can't see the parallels with the current prevalence of identity and victim politics you're not paying attention.

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This won a Nobel Prize for a reason.

Solzhenitsyn describes the more individual aspects of Gulag and how it was designed to eat away at the soul of its inmates.