On this weeks Manuscript Monday Meredith recommends The Gulag Archipelago 1918-56: An Experiment in Literary Investigation by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn.
I can’t remember where I got this book; from a friend, I think. Before I picked it up, I was completely ignorant of Soviet history. This book is both memoir and historical account, combining the author’s experiences as a prisoner in Soviet prison camps as well as material from 227 witnesses. This is not a light read nor a short one. And to be perfectly honest, it's hard to explain why I recommend this book. It’s full of terrible happenings. The word ‘evil’ comes to mind. And yet, it’s the type of book you might want to read. Not just because the author won the Nobel Prize in literature, but because sometimes it is good to remember the horrors of the past so that they aren’t repeated. This book gave me insights into the histories of others, and also made me feel grateful for things in my life. Like the freedom to read a book like this, and recommend it to others.
If that’s not reason enough for you, Time magazine called this book the … “Best Nonfiction Book of the Twentieth Century”.