From the icy blast of reveille through the sweet release of sleep, Ivan Denisovich endures. A common carpenter, he is one of millions viciously imprisoned for countless years on baseless charges, sentenced to the waking nightmares of the Soviet work camps in Siberia. Even in the face of degrading hatred, where life is reduced to a bowl of gruel and a rare cigarette, hope and dignity prevail. This powerful novel of fact is a scathing indictment of Communist tyranny, and an eloquent affirmation of the human spirit.
While there were many earlier sources that described the existence of the Soviet Gulag, this book was the first document that described the camps that was sanctioned by the Soviet authorities. To readers of books about the German and Japanese camps of World War II, the descriptions of life in the Soviet Gulag are all too familiar. Hunger is a constant companion and the inmates jostle and curry favors for slight improvements in food. Even something as simple as an extra pint of watery soup, a small … more
"One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" is Alexander Solzhenitsyn's first book, a classic of modern Russian literature and the title that propelled him onto the literary world stage. As for the plot - well, the title itself serves as a synopsis. The story, such as it is, describes a single day in the life of Ivan Denisovich Shukhov who is serving a term in a Stalinist labor camp for offenses against the state. That they were never clearly described is surely Solzhenitsyn's method of making … more
"Hell" is a pre-Christian concept, adopted and adapted from the religion of Odin and Thor. In Old Norse, Hel was an underworld deity as well as a place of bleak afterlife. Hell was not an inferno, a fiery punishment for sinners, but rather an icy cold limbo. The various Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin words in the King James translation of the Bible that are translated as "Hell" chiefly have the more fundamental meaning of "the grave." The forced labor camp for 'special' … more
At the height of his power in the 1930's and 1940's, Joseph Stalin sent millions of the citizens of the Soviet Union into forced labor camps. All it took was a chance word heard by the wrong person and you were sent to a camp. It is not an exaggeration to say that at the time, the entire economy was based on slave labor. This book is about Shukhov, one of the inmates in a camp located in the frozen north. The day described here is a typical day, as he and his fellow prisoners all engage in the daily … more