Solzhenitsyn's One Day: The book that shook the USSR 50 years ago this month

In November 1962, one story shook the Soviet Union.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn described a day in the life of a prison camp inmate, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov.

The character was fictional. But there were millions like him – innocent citizens who, like Solzhenitsyn himself, had been sent to the Gulag in Joseph Stalin’s wave of terror.

Censorship and fear had prevented the truth about the camps from being published, but this story made it into print. The USSR would never be the same again….

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Books, Europe, History, Russia

5 comments on “Solzhenitsyn's One Day: The book that shook the USSR 50 years ago this month

  1. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    If I ever run across anyone who thinks Communism or Militant Atheism is a good idea (you’d be surprised how many in academia believe this), I make them read Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. It’s massive, but if anyone can read all that and still think Communism is a good idea, they are insane.

  2. Br. Michael says:

    All utopianism is insane. They all presuppose that people will behave in accordance with the behavior that the particular utopian construct requires. This is at odds with the human capacity to sin and not behave as others require. A fact well known to Christians. Thus the utopian must sooner or later resort to force and coercion to get the required behavior.

    Obamacare is a case study.

  3. Jeremy Bonner says:

    Br. Michael,

    Don’t Christian intentional communities (whether monastic or otherwise) fit your definition? I don’t think utopianism [i]necessarily[/i] assumes innate human goodness (although it frequently does).

    Utopianism can be entered into voluntarily and left voluntarily too – many of the American nineteenth century utopian communities did collapse for precisely that reason, but coercion was never an issue.

  4. Br. Michael says:

    Jeremy, I don’t think so. Monastic communities are quite well aware of sin and our inability to behave. Monastic rules include codes of behavior and the Abbot’s authority to discipline.

  5. Jeremy Bonner says:

    If utopia is defined as a community without rules, then I agree its ability to endure beyond the life of its founders is doubtful. My sense though is that this represents only a subset of utopian communities across time. Interesting point, though.