After serving as a decorated captain in the Soviet Army during World War II, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) was sentenced to prison for eight years for criticizing Stalin and the Soviet government in private letters. Solzhenitsyn vaulted from unknown schoolteacher to internationally famous writer in 1962 with the publication of his novella One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich; he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968. The writer's increasingly vocal opposition to the regime resulted in another arrest, a charge of treason, and expulsion from the USSR in 1974, the year The Gulag Archipelago, his epic history of the Soviet prison system, first appeared in the West. For eighteen years, he and his family lived in Vermont. In 1994 he returned to Russia. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died at his home in Moscow in 2008.
"Best Nonfiction Book of the Twentieth Century" -- Time magazine"The greatest and most powerful single indictment of a political regime ever leveled in modern times." -- George F. Kennan"It is impossible to name a book that had a greater effect on the political and moral consciousness of the late twentieth century." -- David Remnick, The New Yorker"Solzhenitsyn's masterpiece. ... The Gulag Archipelago helped create the world we live in today." -- Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag: A History, from the foreword