The Russian Nobelist's major work, back in print for the centenary of World War I and the Russian Revolution
In his monumental narrative of the outbreak of the First World War and the ill-fated Russian offensive into East Prussia, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has written "a dramatically new interpretation of Russian history" (Nina Krushcheva, The Nation). The assassination of the tsarist prime minister Pyotr Stolypin, a crucial event in the years leading up to the Revolution of 1917, is reconstructed from the alienating viewpoints of historical witnesses. The sole voice of reason among the advisers to Tsar Nikolai II, Stolypin died at the hands of the anarchist Mordko Bogrov, and with him Russia's last hope for reform perished. August 1914 is the first volume of Solzhenitsyn's epic, The Red Wheel; the second is November 1916. Each volume concentrates on a critical moment or "knot" in the history of the Russian Revolution.
About the Author
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature, was born in 1918. In February 1945, while he was captain of a reconnaissance battery of the Soviet Army, he was arrested and sentenced to an eight-year term in a labor camp and permanent internal exile, which was cut short by Khrushchev's reforms, allowing him to return from Kazakhstan to Central Russia in 1956. Although permitted to publish One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in 1962—which remained his only full-length work to have appeared in his homeland until 1990—Solzhenitsyn was by 1969 expelled from the Writers' Union. The publication in the West of his other novels and, in particular, of The Gulag Archipelago, brought retaliation from the authorities. In 1974, Solzhenitsyn was arrested, stripped of his Soviet citizenship, and forcibly flown to Frankfurt. Solzhenitsyn and his wife and children moved to the United States in 1976. In September 1991, the Soviet government dismissed treason charges against him; Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia in 1994. He died in Moscow in 2008.
“It is now clear that [Solzhenitsyn] towers over all his contemporaries, European, American, and Latin American . . . The greatness of Russia is in this novel as it has not been in any work of fiction since the generation of Dostoevski and Tolstoy.” —Lionel Abel, The Wall Street Journal