I'm tempted to read The Gulag Archipelago, but I'm hesitant

Emberburn
Emberburn

I'm tempted to read The Gulag Archipelago, but I'm hesitant. Most things I read are fantasy or sci-fi, and this is probably going to be my first foray into nonfiction. It's probably not the best choice, but I want to know what I'm in for.

And should I go for the abridged version or the full on hardcover?

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BlogWobbles
BlogWobbles

should I go for the abridged version
No of course not.

ZeroReborn
ZeroReborn

Start With the Greeks

Nude_Bikergirl
Nude_Bikergirl

How does nonfiction read in general? I know the Greeks and Solzhenitsyn are clearly different people and different writers, but are there any trends that stand out from, say, Tolkien or Glen Cook?

TechHater
TechHater

nonfiction, yes, of course

FastChef
FastChef

Don’t worry, it too is fiction

Ignoramus
Ignoramus

Just read it. It's really straightforward, you don't need to make a battle plan. Take notes if you want. The world's your oyster.

Lord_Tryzalot
Lord_Tryzalot

Just make sure not to let the oyster become your world.

Soft_member
Soft_member

Don't listen to this guy. The full text of it is only something you'd read as a historical study and since there have been more thoroughly researched works to come out since Gulag's initial publication there are better ways to get that objective information. The Abridged version captures what is most important about the work: the absolute and surreal horror of life in the USSR as captured by Solzhenitsyn's unique perspective.

I've got some passages ready to hand I can post. You should definitely read it, OP. It'll make you grateful for what freedoms you have, concerned about signs of a slippery slope, and amazed at the resilience of the individual human spirit in brutal circumstances.

w8t4u
w8t4u

“The Gulag Archipelago” (1973) | Part 2, Chapter 3: The Archipelago Rises from the Sea

The rumor reached Solovki before Gorky himself - and the prisoners’ hearts beat faster and the guards hustled and bustled. One has to know the prisoners in order to imagine their anticipation! The falcon, the stormy petrel, was about to swoop down upon the nest of injustice, violence, and secrecy. The leading Russian writer! He will give them hell! He will show them! He, the father, will defend! They awaited Gorky almost like a universal amnesty.

The chiefs were alarmed too: as best they could, they hid the monstrosities and polished things up for show. Transports of prisoners were sent from the kremlin to distant work parties so that fewer would remain there; many patients were discharged from the Medical Section and the whole thing was cleaned up. And they set up a “boulevard” of fir trees without roots, which were simply pushed down into the ground. (They only had to last a few days before withering.) It led to the Children’s Colony, opened just three months previously and the pride of USLON, where everyone had clothes and where there were no socially hostile children, and where, of course, Gorky would be very interested in seeing how juveniles were being re-educated and saved for a future life under socialism.

lostmypassword
lostmypassword

Only in Kem was there an oversight. On Popov Island the ship Gleb Boky was being loaded by prisoners in underwear and sacks, when Gorky’s retinue appeared out of nowhere to embark on that steamer! You inventor and thinkers! Here is a worthy problem for you, given that, as the saying goes, every wise man has enough of the fool in him: a barren island, not one bush, no possible cover - and right there, at a distance of three hundred yards, Gorky’s retinue has shown up. Your solution? Where can this disgraceful spectacle - these men dressed in sacks - be hidden? The entire journey of the great Humanist will have been for naught if he sees them now. Well, of course, he will try hard not to notice them, but help him! Drown them in the sea? They will wallow and flounder. Bury them in the earth? There’s no time. No, only a worthy son of the Archipelago could find a way out of this one. The work assigner ordered: “Stop work! Close ranks! Still closer! Sit down on the ground! Sit still!” And a tarpaulin was thrown over them. “Anyone who moves will be shot!” And the former stevedore Maxim Gorky ascended the ship’s ladder and admired the landscape from the steamer for a full hour till sailing time - and he didn’t notice!

That was June 20, 1929. The famous writer disembarked from the steamer in Prosperity Gulf. Surrounded by the commanding officer corps of the GPU, Gorky marched with long swift strides through the corridors of several barracks. The room doors were all wide open, but he entered hardly any. In the Medical Section doctors and nurses in clean robes formed up for him in two rows, but he didn’t even look around and went on out. From there the Chekists of USLON fearlessly took him to Sekirka. And what was there to see there? It turned out that there was no overcrowding in the punishment cells and - the main point - no poles. None at all. Thieves sat on benches (there was already a multitude of thieves in Solovki), and they were all… reading newspapers. None of them was so bold as to get up and complain, but they did think up one trick: they held the newspapers upside down! And Gorky went up to one of them and in silence turned the newspaper right side up! He had noticed it! He had understood! He would not abandon them. He would defend them!

Gigastrength
Gigastrength

They went to the Children’s Colony. How decent everything was there. Each was on a separate cot, with a mattress. They all crowded around in a group and all of them were happy. And all of a sudden a fourteen-year-old boy said: “Listen here, Gorky! Everything you see here is false. Do you want to know the truth? Shall I tell you?” Yes, nodded the writer. Yes, he wanted to know the truth. (Oh, you bad boy, why do you want to spoil the just recently arrived prosperity of the literary patriarch? A palace in Moscow, an estate outside Moscow…) And so everyone was ordered to leave - and the boy spent an hour and a half telling the whole story to the lanky old man. Gorky left the barracks, streaming tears. He was given a carriage to go to dinner at the villa of the camp chief. And the boys rushed back into the barracks. “Did you tell him about the mosquito treatment?” “Yes” “Did you tell him about the pole torture?” “Yes” “Did you tell him about the prisoners hitched up instead of horses?” “And how they roll them down the stairs? And about the sacks? And about being made to spend the night in the snow?” And it turned out that the truth-loving boy had told all… all… all!!!

But we don’t even know his name.

On June 22, in other words after his chat with the boy, Gorky left the following inscription in the “Visitor’s Book,” which had been specially made for this visit:

“I am not in a state of mind to express my impressions in just a few words. I wouldn’t want, yes, and I would likewise be ashamed [!], to permit myself banal praise of the remarkable energy of people who, while remaining vigilant and tireless sentinels of the Revolution, are able, at the same time, to be remarkably bold creators of culture.”

On June 23 Gorky left Solvoki. Hardly had his steamer pulled away from the pier than they shot the boy. (Oh, great interpreter of the human heart! Great connoisseur of human beings! How could have have failed to take the boy along with him?!)

And that is how faith in justice was instilled in the new generation.

They try to tell us that up there on the summit the chief of literature made excuses, that he didn’t want to publish praise of USLON. But how can that be, Aleksei Maximovich? With bourgeois Europe looking on?! But right now, right at this very moment, which is so dangerous and complicated! And the camp regimen there? We’ll change it, we’ll change the camp regimen.

And he did publish his statement and it was republished over and over in the big free press, both our own and that of the West, claiming it was nonsense to frighten people with Solovki, and that the prisoners lived remarkably well there and were being well reformed.

Methnerd
Methnerd

I bought the abridged version, then felt guilty and took it back without opening it, and bought Vol. 1. It's not a fun reading experience, let me tell you that, but I'm glad I read it.

Carnalpleasure
Carnalpleasure

too long

Emberfire
Emberfire

stick your head in the sand petersonfaggot

StonedTime
StonedTime

this is probably going to be my first foray into nonfiction.

what are you. 12? start with the greeks

Sir_Gallonhead
Sir_Gallonhead

A formless and dull mass of phony folklore, a cold pudding of a book. Conventional and drab, redeemed from utter insipidity only by infrequent snatches of heavenly intonations.

JunkTop
JunkTop

mfw people still believe the Veeky Forums is alt-right meme

Fuzzy_Logic
Fuzzy_Logic

Its actually really good and insightful. I learned a lot just from reading part 1.

Nojokur
Nojokur

gommies dindu
Are you for real?

Crazy_Nice
Crazy_Nice

they were better than the Fascists and Liberals believe, orders of magnitude worse than the tankies or soc dem apologists let on. This isn’t hard. Fascists were as violent as everyone assumes, but they mean well, just retarded psychopaths who meant well.

King_Martha
King_Martha

Nope

viagrandad
viagrandad

None of the baddies of past were as bad as they are made out to be, exagerating their bad deeds is supported by current regime to maintain their status quo. I live in post communist country, and description of past differs from people's víře, which Is eerily similar between large portions of populace, and reality of it told you in school and media. Who would you rather trust, media, who gains from misinformation that sounds right, or random person who has to gain nothing from lying to you?

5mileys
5mileys

Which part? And if both, why?

takes2long
takes2long

Hey, Petr, want the T-54s to visit you again?

Techpill
Techpill

20m died under Stalin. I grant you that 11m we’re fighting the Nazis, but the others were either killed through starvation, forced labour, or rounded up and shot.

The Russians will always favour a totalitarian ruler because it’s all they’ve been used to. Since Tsars, then Soviet’s, then the Oligarchs, now Putin. Truth is they don’t mind so many people starving because their great man fantasy makes them feel safe as a nation

Evilember
Evilember

20m died under Stalin. I grant you that 11m we’re fighting the Nazis, but the others were either killed through starvation, forced labour, or rounded up and shot.
I grant you that 11m we’re fighting the Nazis
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
Even this shows how fucking insane you are, you're "granting" deaths from a world fucking war as if you were being generous. Keep jerking of to the Black Book, the capitalist Der Sturmer.

Need_TLC
Need_TLC

nonfiction
Kek. Stay in your containment thread.

Soft_member
Soft_member

20m died under Stalin. I grant you that 11m we’re fighting the Nazis
Sperg-tastic post.

haveahappyday
haveahappyday

Kek

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happy_sad
happy_sad

Fucking kys yourselves unironically

likme
likme

down syndrome boxing ITT
It would be great if anyone but the useful idiots of radical ends of the political spectrum could argue online.

Techpill
Techpill

still commies in 2018....i have a commie friend who told me Solzhenitsyn was shit, paralleling the words of the great Lenin "They (the intelligentsia) are shit". He never read it so its funny that he has an opinion, i bet you guys never read it too. Such is the mind of the ideologically possessed.
its not an easy read, both in volume and being hard to stomach, but its worth it. his dark humour helps give some relief from the dread.

Emberfire
Emberfire

Damn, we're literally the polar opposites of each other. All I typically read is non-fiction and I have no idea where to start with fiction (as it is much more varied and vast in comparison).

Crazy_Nice
Crazy_Nice

fucking who cares stop asking dumb fucking questions and just read

Boy_vs_Girl
Boy_vs_Girl

Start with Don Quixote. I found it quite lighthearted and fun as a nonfictionfag.

viagrandad
viagrandad

Why would you start with the fucking Gulags Archipelago you absolute moron

Soft_member
Soft_member

Well, his wife read it and thought it was fiction too.

TechHater
TechHater

Everyone is ideologically possessed, those who realize it can handle life as humans, those who don't will stumble in the dark while thinking they're in a lit room.

Ignoramus
Ignoramus

You forgot the third option. Speaking for myself, I can only live my life by self-medicating and taking out the violence of my contradictions on other people.

lostmypassword
lostmypassword

I've always thought books are gay but my youtube father said this one'll rock my world

Harmless_Venom
Harmless_Venom

mad ex talking shit
Doesn't mean anything

Evil_kitten
Evil_kitten

tfw Peterson drove the prices of the unabridged version up
where to find for cheap?

Spazyfool
Spazyfool

his ex-wife still in russia talking shit with the KGB at her back
surely she's right
the typist fucking kills herself because of the gravity of the situation
lol good riddance dumb whore
How fucking dense can you be?

Lunatick
Lunatick

I love it when autistic /pol/acks throw a fit.

askme
askme

Aren't you supposed to just know a little about it without actually reading it.

Methshot
Methshot

gulag archipelago
nonfiction

barely. It's sort of like a commie In Cold Blood

Playboyize
Playboyize

Read 200 years together instead. He tells you (((whodunnit)))

Methnerd
Methnerd

petersonfags read nothing but fantasy and sci-fi
pottery

ZeroReborn
ZeroReborn

good luck reading this gobbledygook drivel. Absolutely baseless fiction. More confirmable stories in the bible. dont let these silly, low-IQ capitalists brainwash you.

RESIST.

Garbage Can Lid
Garbage Can Lid

The absolute state of Peterson-fags

Spamalot
Spamalot

more like the gaylag archipelagay

cum2soon
cum2soon

communists have a low sperm count and like watching other men have sex with their wives

Poker_Star
Poker_Star

reactionaries WILL defend this

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Snarelure
Snarelure

Honestly, get the audible version and listen to it while driving or something. It's weak on epiphanies and strong in anecdotes. It's digestible as an accessory and not a slog.

SniperGod
SniperGod

Actually I really want to thank every single tankie on here for this experience. I'm not even kidding! This is what the Jews must feel when they come across Holocaust denial. It's infuriating. Also, rot in hell you fuck.

VisualMaster
VisualMaster

waaaah the nasty internet men don't like surrogate daddy's favorite book

Supergrass
Supergrass

being petersonfag
being butthurt about peterson
Fuck that pseud frog-boomer. I couldn't give less fucks about him and his gobbledygook ravings. But the way you go nuts over anything that exposes communism is spectacular.

Dreamworx
Dreamworx

if you don't bow before CIA marketing guides it's like you're killing those seventy billion all over again

iluvmen
iluvmen

exposes communism

then read jung chang or frank dikotter on Mao Zedong, or montefiore or applebaum on Stalin

Solzhenitsyn is unadulterated trash

Methshot
Methshot

those yids? pass

Emberburn
Emberburn

recommends books
See, it's not that hard not being a full on sperg. I'll check them out. I'd still like to know what you base your
Solzhenitsyn is unadulterated trash
claim on, tho.
inb4 ex-wife said something that was pretty much put in her mouth by the KGB
inb4 he heard things from others, it's FALSE THEREFORE
inb4 the book is boring
not an argument, but kinda true
inb4 but muh nazis, but muh capitalists
not an argument either

viagrandad
viagrandad

inb4 ex-wife said something that was pretty much put in her mouth by the KGB
Source?

TalkBomber
TalkBomber

but the others were rounded up and shot
Tell me, oh the genius HR manager, what would you do with traitors if not shoot them? Turn the other cheek to them, mayhap?

VisualMaster
VisualMaster

okay granted trash was a little extreme. Nevertheless it’s a piece of polemic literature, not a history book. 100 Years of Solutide is a tremendous piece of writing but I wouldn’t cite it as an authority on early colonial Colombia

Raving_Cute
Raving_Cute

Such is the mind of the ideologically possessed.
He thinks he's free from ideology
We are all eating from the trash can

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happy_sad
happy_sad

Gulag Archipelago
Nonfiction

Pick one

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