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This reader, compiled by renowned Solzhenitsyn scholars Edward E. Ericson, Jr., and Daniel J. Mahoney in collaboration with the Solzhenitsyn family, provides in one volume a rich and representative selection of Solzhenitsyn's voluminous works. Reproduced in their entirety are early poems, early and late short stories, early and late "miniatures" (or prose poems), and many of Solzhenitsyn’s famous—and not-so-famous—essays and speeches. The volume also includes excerpts from Solzhenitsyn's great novels, memoirs, books of political analysis and historical scholarship, and the literary and historical masterpieces The Gulag Archipelago and The Red Wheel. More than one-quarter of the material has never before appeared in English (the author’s sons prepared many of the new translations themselves).
The Solzhenitsyn Reader reveals a writer of genius, an intransigent opponent of ideological tyranny and moral relativism, and a thinker and moral witness who is acutely sensitive to the great drama of good and evil that takes place within every human soul. It will be for many years the definitive Solzhenitsyn collection.
|What They're Saying...||
“If a single figure summarizes the meaning of the twentieth century—in its magnificent highs no less than its miserable lows—it is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Like all masters of culture both ancient and modern, his work transcends academic categories. As the editors make clear, Solzhenitsyn embraces the empirical and the ethical, the national culture of Russia and the global condition of Western civilization. The cloth of heroism is woven in respect for everyday life. Solzhenitsyn knows this, and this fine collection is a stark testament to the precious gift of his life and the enrichment he has given to ours.”
"I was, I should admit, at first doubtful that the drama and intensity of Solzhenitsyn's longer works would come across as powerfully in excerpted form, but I need not have worried. Whichever one you start with, whether it's The First Circle, Cancer Ward, The Gulag Archipelago, or The Red Wheel, you are immediately absorbed into Solzhenitsyn's world."
"As a compilation, The Solzhenitsyn ReadeR is perhaps most useful for its inclusion of Solzhenitsyn’s public statements…The Solzhenitsyn Reader is thus a significant volume that presents perhaps a better overview of the total range of the author’s work than any previous compilation."
"The Reader comes along at a good time, reminding ou of Russia's violent, chaotic history, of a past that is not past but which endures and is actively shaping its ongoing struggles, while showing us an engaged and committed mind and spirit at work. It is an excellent book, comprehensive and reasonably priced, and it includes extracts from Solzhenitsyn's verse, short stories, novels, non-fiction, and speeches."
“Finally, we have a reader that includes many of Solzhenitsyn’s well-known works as well as previously unpublished writings that reveal new dimensions of his thought. Edward Ericson and Daniel Mahoney have done a great service for Western civilization and for the conscience of mankind by making available the inspiring prose and poetry of a great hero of the twentieth century.”
“This book is a remarkable effort at clarifying and presenting a great oeuvre. In gathering together and choosing wisely from texts of different genres (poems, short stories, novels, essays, speeches, etc.), Edward Ericson and Daniel Mahoney give readers the means to appreciate the extraordinary amplitude of Solzhenitsyn’s art and thought. In addition, they provide masterly introductions that go to the heart of the matter and clear up many misunderstandings. This work is an exercice d’admiration that is also a considerable scholarly achievement.”
“You want a Solzhenitsyn reader, because he is one of the greatest writers, and greatest men, of our times. And you want Edward Ericson and Daniel Mahoney to edit this reader, because no one has been more devoted to Solzhenitsyn, or is more knowledgeable about him, than they. This book is a perfect happening. It inspires deep gratitude.”
"This handsomely produced volume includes a judicious selection from the great Russian writer's works and a handy gathering of essays and speeches. Moreover, it includes some previously untranslated material....The introduction by editors Ericson and Mahoney is not a perfunctory bit of business but rather a clear-headed assessment of Solzhenitsyn's standing today and a penetrating summary of his outlook."
"This thoughtfully edited volume succeeds in reflecting the richness of Solzhenitsyn's writings; it offers an excellent sampling of both his fiction and his nonfiction, as well as an informative introductory essay and short introductions for each selection. It goes a long way to make the prolific author accessible to readers unable or unwilling to read his entire output, and helps us assess his place in 20th century literature and social-political debates."
"Solzhenitsyn is revealed as a man whose deep humanity was forged under the pressure of imprisonment and police harassment. He is not, as his critics claim, calling for return to the past. Rather, he advocates a society based on the best wisdom of the past and present, grounded on transcendent values…"
"This volume, with a comprehensive preface and informative introduction to each part, was compiled with the full approval and cooperation of Solzhenitsyn and his family. Its aim is clearly to correct what they see as the gross misrepresentation of Solzhenitsyn's views, especially in the West."
"Ericson and Mahoney are to be congratulated in assembling this collection of Solzhenitsyn's corpus. Their introductions to the various offerings provide the reader with an understnading of the focus of the work, its genesis, and outline. I am personally grateful that they included his Harvard Address that illustrates Isaevich as the true Platonic philosopher/prophet, where he fearlessly engages the academy in questions they have no desire to hear let alone answer."
"In The Solzhenitsyn Reader, two experts on [his] work (Ericson was the editor of the abridged Gulag Archipelago) offer a sweeping selection from his writings, and also provide a long and helpful introduction describing his life and summarizing his basic convictions."
"ISI Books is a house devoted to conservative books and writers. The editors do little to hide their bias toward Solzhenitsyn and his iron-clad thinking, and they have edited a superb volume with a terrific introduction that places Solzhenitsyn's life and thought in clear context."
"A fine antidote to such simple-minded pigeonholing of Solzhenitsyn--as the brave anti-communist who later went off the deep end--is, as the author suggested, to read his work, particularly his later writings, which are not remotely as one-note as shibboleths about him suggest. A good place to start might be The Solzhenitsyn Reader. [It is] compiled with the cooperation of both Solzhenitsyn and his three sons, it provides a far more textured picture of the writer as an unrelenting artist…a flexible and theologically minded philosopher;…an often daring stylist; and a political and nationalist 'ideologue' only in the eyes of predisposed critics."
"The Reader comes along at a good time, reminding us of Russia’s violent, chaotic history, of a past that is not past but which endures and is actively shaping its ongoing struggles, while showing us an engaged and committed mind and spirit at work. It is an excellent, book, comprehensive and reasonably priced, and it includes extracts from Solzhenitsyn’s verse, short stories, novels, non-fiction, and speeches. Some of the contents have never before been accessible to those who don’t speak Russian. "
"The Solzhenitsyn Reader is a seminal contribution to academic library collections and especially recommended reading for students of Political Science, Russian Studies, European History, and Russian Literature."
"[C]omes as a very welcome relief. This expansive, convenient ‘greatest hits’ fills a gaping void on the shelves for those interested in dipping further into Solzhenitsyn."
"Solzhenitsyn, now eighty-eight and for a
long time back in his native land, understands
this. If he had only written history,
his contribution to our understanding of
political terror and totalitarianism would
be incalculably great. But he also gave us
the artist’s moral vision. And that is something
that Russia—and the West—need
now more than ever."
"Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s life and works are a testimony to moral, political and literary courage. His short stories, novels, speeches and his own experiences convey, perhaps more than any other author, the drama, terror and heroism that manifested themselves throughout one of humanity’s most violent and decisive periods. By collecting excerpts from these works together in one volume, the editors have performed a valuable service for English readers seeking to understand the forces and ideas that gave birth to and continued to support totalitarianism long after its bankruptcy was realized."
"Fittingly, The Solzhenitsyn Reader ends as it began, with poetry. Solzhenitsyn may be as austere as a monk, as stern as a prophet, as astute as a sage, as indefatigable as an athlete, and as mighty as a warrior, but his soul is that of a poet. It is here, in the prosodic depths, that the essential Solzhenitsyn is to be discovered."
"The selections in The Solzhenitsyn Reader confirm what the editors suggest in the opening pages: the author's life almost defies belief. Born in Russia one year after the Bolshevik seizure of power, he outlived the political system that persecuted him, surviving its horrible network of labor camps while documenting its myriad crimes. Solzhenitsyn's writings are indispensable for understanding the 20th century. For those who would like to sample that corpus generously, the Reader is an excellent place to begin."
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