The Gulag Archipelago

Length: 23 hrs and 28 mins
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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The audiobook edition of The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, read by the author's son, Ignat Solzhenitsyn.

With a new foreword written and read by Jordan B. Peterson and an exclusive Q&A between Jordan B. Peterson and Ignat Solzhenitsyn.

The officially approved abridgement of The Gulag Archipelago Volumes I, II & III.

A vast canvas of camps, prisons, transit centres and secret police, of informers and spies and interrogators but also of everyday heroism, The Gulag Archipelago is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's grand masterwork. Based on the testimony of some 200 survivors and on the recollection of Solzhenitsyn's own 11 years in labour camps and exile, it chronicles the story of those at the heart of the Soviet Union who opposed Stalin and for whom the key to survival lay not in hope but in despair.

A thoroughly researched document and a feat of literary and imaginative power, this edition of The Gulag Archipelago was abridged into one volume at the author's wish and with his full co-operation.

©2019 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Solzhenitsyn’s masterpiece.... The Gulag Archipelago helped create the world we live in today." (Anne Applebaum) 

"[The Gulag Archipelago] helped to bring down an empire. Its importance can hardly be exaggerated." (Doris Lessing, Sunday Telegraph)

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Great story, poor performance

I was expecting the unabridged version, perhaps that was explicited in the pre-order and I didn't notice.
Anyways, this was a bit of a letdown.
The book itself is great, as well as the foreword written and performed by Jordan Peterson, who introduced me to this great work of literature.
It was also great (and also suspicious, given the fact that he probably isn't a professional reader) that Ignat Solzhenitsyn was brought into the project, given the implications the bond with his father could have played in the performance of the work... but this was a major letdown.
The performer is just not up to the task. He does a great job with some impersonations, has a good voice and pronunciation, but he is extremely monotonous, sometimes giving an old computer algorithm like feeling to the lecture. But the biggest problem is the "copy-paste" feeling you get throughout the performance, he stops during the reading, sometimes at the beggining, sometimes in the middle, and sometimes just before finishing a sentence, in the last scenario you get an unexpected extra verse after you though he had finished the phrase (due the monotonous quality of the lecture). I don't know if he struggled with the task because the reading wasn't done in his native tongue, but that is not excuse for the QC in audible, get someone else to do it and let Ignat close the book with his thoughts, that would have been waaaayyyyyy better.
I am returning this book, I just couldn't finish it. I've listened to it for 4 hours... and that's enough. It's the first time I am returning a book for this reason, believe me, I am not that picky about the reading, but this was just too much. If you want a better version there is an unabridged one you can easily find, I will be going back to that one.
Audible, next time you get someone to read, be sure that merit is the base of that decision.

18 people found this helpful

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Left me scarred, a necessity in a way

Never thought that a book would take me to such a dark place within myself. Thank you to everyone involved in the production of these pages.

2 people found this helpful

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an indictment on humanity

What a powerful story...!
Shame on us citizens of the 'free' areas of the world. what do we know of suffering and tragedy...?!
I am humbled when considering the 'drama of my own life in comparison...
...and I am encouged to embrace compassion and grace

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Enthralling story but a horrifying journey

The story of this book is enthralling, I usually have a hard time staying focused on one book at a time, and sometimes even completing a book. Knowing that the average audiobook is 7-8 hours long and that one is triple that amount, it seemed like a daunting task to complete it, but I devoured this book within a week, if that can be a testament to the quality of the writing.

I've been taught the horrors of the nazi camps in school, but lacked massively in my knowledge of communism and its own share of dead bodies. This book tells a shocking story of what happened in Russia, but also asks us moral questions that profoundly disturb one's mind.
It is puzzling to see the range of human emotions, from abject monsters to benevolent angels. "The line between good and evil cuts through every man's heart" to quote the author.

This book brought me to tears many times, by the recollected stories told, it squeezed a few laughs, sighs of disbelief, and awe struck silences.

I do recommend this book without hesitation.

2 people found this helpful

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The best book for 2020

After all what we have been through in 2020 it's extremely important to gather perspective into the consequences of utopian thinking and also to gather perspective on the hardships endures by our forefathers.

A must read for every member of the human family.

Te book is read by the author's son who makes a fantastic job!

Perfect in all senses. Highly reccomended

1 person found this helpful

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The true face of the other genocidal ideology.

Jordan Peterson was right in saying that "after the publication of The Gulag Archipelago it was not moral for anyone to still call himself a communist". Hard to believe you needed a book for that, but it did show the West what this ideology is truly capable of. "Intelectuals" in democratic, capitalist nations, like France and the US, wers discussing the superiority of socialism and communism, while benefitting from everything capitalism had to offer. Meanwhile, Eastern Europeans were rotting in political prisons, queueing for days to get food and trembling at every word they said, in fear of being arrested. This book is direct, vast and does not spare details. Yes, this really happened, as horrible as it was. Our civilization cannot take the next moral step, in the absence of a Nüremberg trial for communism.

1 person found this helpful

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A must read/listen

A must read/listen, especially for those who haven’t got to live under communist or other dictatorship rule.

1 person found this helpful

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Should be taught in all schools

If one was to come up with a fictional horror story, they would not be able to put together all the terrors that really happened. Beautifully written and edited, simple to understand, and life changing.

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A must read

Just read it, no matter who You are. Everyone should know the true past. No one should live a lie.

1 person found this helpful

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Coping with horror

Unbelievable horrors of human ideology and disrespect for the lifes of others in a game of power, storytelling and behaviour. No matter what you do someone will suffer on a non-utopian World. I must now put every gram of consciousness I have into liberating the individual truth including my own and fight for the kindness towards others.

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  • Paolo
  • 07-09-19

Incredible Biography/Documentary/Story!

What a book! This should be read by everybody. Who knew that these things were happening? Who could understand the fear, pain and despair these people were going through? And who could have survived and moreover, changed the world! At least my world! I literary masterpiece by Solzhenitsyn and excellently narrated by his son.

8 people found this helpful

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  • K. Fairweather
  • 07-30-19

Absolutely compelling from start to finish..

I first heard about this from Jordan Peterson on the Joe Rogan podcast..

It is the best audiobook i have listened to out of the 15 or so i have bought.

Amazing story, so dark and graphic but it was all true, it really happened !

Wow, wow and wow, incredible !

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-22-19

holy shit

this is a must read for the common person who struggles with understanding the past and present way of men being possessed by ideology.

6 people found this helpful

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  • RB
  • 07-27-19

Magnificent reading

Ignat Solzhenitsyn's reading--I almost want to call it a dramatisation, a performance--of this father's great, terrible masterwork is the best reading I've so far heard on Audible. It's a fitting tribute to his father's achievement and will be worth listening to many times over.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-18-19

Harrowing but it should be heard.

A good opportunity to hear a book very few would read, but should. Read exceedingly well by the writer's son. Finishes with an interesting conversation between Peterson and Ignat Solzhenitsyn.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-08-19

Crushing

An almost unbelievable journey through some of the worst horrors that mankind has to offer.

Chilling in it's description of the destruction of not just the bodies but also the minds of a people on the altar of an ideology still held up by politicians today as a shining example of what 'could be' in modern times if only we try it.

The true brilliance of this journey lies in the uncompromising way Solzhenitsyn reveals the depths of the evil that lies within all all people man, woman and child if only given a bad idea to believe and writes unflinchingly of how complicit and entire nation was in it's own descent into Hell.

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  • Pete Holloway
  • 08-04-19

Magnificent and honourable.

A forensic analysis of the reality of political extremism. It shows the awful potential of human depravity when given the opportunity, provided by corrupt power. I am thankful that enough witnesses survived for their story to be told and sorry that nobody has ever been held to account. A magnificent book and an honourable endeavour.

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  • Katty
  • 07-18-19

It's your human DUTY to read this book

This book will leave you speechless over the horrors we (humans) are capable of. But it'll also leave you inspired over the strength we're also capable of. This book is more important to understand and consider way more than any religious texts you can think of. It's a must read.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Edvardas
  • 07-31-19

Recomended

don't really know what arguments to use to justify my recommendation. Its not fiction. its real life. I noticed that in recent years socialism/communism is getting more attention as a valid ideology to follow. well here you can find out what unintended consequence it has on a personal level. I recommend it especially to young idealistic people.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-21-19

TRUE

Mandatory book for every politician before taking up the office, especially book for European parliamentarians.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Callum
  • 06-28-19

Must listen!

Essential book, shocking and so well written it feels like you’re living through it. I think everyone should listen to this audiobook, as essential as other books like mans search for meaning.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 08-12-19

Never take your liberty for granted again

I thought I had some idea, but really didn't, truly. Take the depth of horror that was Nazi Germany, then multiply out the breadth in years and humanity. Finally, shrink wrap everything in the hopelessness of total censorship, and total deceit, right down to the family.

It started with such utopian ideals of economic redistribution too.

This is a grim read, but I feel it is necessary to begin to appreciate the insights on the human spirit.

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  • Dean
  • 07-28-19

Life changing and horrific

This should be made compulsory reading for university students who consider advocating for socialism. It is not a happy and uplifting read, but it is probably the most moving book I have read in long time.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-26-19

Unreal

An amazing book to drive with, very compelling and interesting. An amazing story of how bad humans can be to each other, and yet how resilient we can be in the face of adversity.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-23-19

A valuable lesson

This book should be mandatory reading for every high school in every country. The fact that this book is more well known is a tremendous disservice to all the victims of the soviet regime.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-24-19

Literary work of genius.

One of the most important works of literature ever written. May it always be remembered.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-20-20

Compulsory reading

This is not an easy book to get through. The horrible treatment by the Bolsheviks and later Soviets is abhorrent. But, in the same manner that we should recognise signs of the far right, we should equally be aware of those of the far left. Solzhenitsyn your message is important and the vile acts you endured were not in vain!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-09-20

Really well read, a life changing book.

Makes you realise how lucky we are in the west, and that only a fool takes their freedom for granted

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  • Thomas Ellis
  • 05-05-20

Tough but necessary read

It's a very long book and Ignat reads it very slowly. I usually get through a book a week, this took me over a month.
It's something you should absolutely read, it's very necessary especially as universities are become more and more akin to left leaning ideological factories. Being a young graduate myself, truly appreciated the perspective given in this book. Hand in hand with a profound sense of unease, recognising how easily we could slip into such a reality in the west.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-08-20

Eye-opening, shocking and fundamentally important

One of the most important books about the history of Soviet Russia and the events "behind the scenes". Some parts were shocking and appaling, gave a visual description of the horrible events that millions of people had to endure for no reason- and all due to an ideology.