In the First Circle    -     Edited By: Thomas P. Whitney
    By: Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn
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In the First Circle

HarperCollins / 2009 / Paperback

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Product Description

When first published in 1968, a quarter of this book's content was cut due to Soviet censors; now Solzhenitsyn's most respected translator has completed the full, definitive text. "Systematically, Solzhenitzyn lays bare all the circles of Stalin's inferno, writing with power, insight, savage sarcasm, and even occasional humor,"---Saturday Review. 784 pages, softcover. HarperPerennial.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 784
Vendor: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 2009
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0061479012
ISBN-13: 9780061479014
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Publisher's Description

The thrilling cold war masterwork by the nobel prize winner, published in full for the first time

Moscow, Christmas Eve, 1949.The Soviet secret police intercept a call made to the American embassy by a Russian diplomat who promises to deliver secrets about the nascent Soviet Atomic Bomb program. On that same day, a brilliant mathematician is locked away inside a Moscow prison that houses the country's brightest minds. He and his fellow prisoners are charged with using their abilities to sleuth out the caller's identity, and they must choose whether to aid Joseph Stalin's repressive state—or refuse and accept transfer to the Siberian Gulag camps . . . and almost certain death.

First written between 1955 and 1958, In the First Circle is Solzhenitsyn's fiction masterpiece. In order to pass through Soviet censors, many essential scenes—including nine full chapters—were cut or altered before it was published in a hastily translated English edition in 1968. Now with the help of the author's most trusted translator, Harry T. Willetts, here for the first time is the complete, definitive English edition of Solzhenitsyn's powerful and magnificent classic.

Author Bio

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.

Publisher's Weekly

This first uncensored translation of what many consider Solzhenitsyn's masterpiece shows the Nobel laureate treading deeply into the logic of Soviet Russia's gulag, if not deeply enough into the minds of his characters. A quest to discover the identity of a rogue Russian diplomat serves as Solzhenitsyn's springboard for a tour of Russia's immense gulag system, slipping from prisoner to jailer to anguished wife (and even detouring through a weary Stalin) to briefly examine the lives of more than 60 significant characters. Each short chapter contributes to a vast mosaic of philosophies and moral dilemmas that, taken together, form a panorama of a Russia gripped by Stalinist terror. Unfortunately, none of the characters steps out from the shadow of the political to become a full-fledged individual; the result is an oddly skewed work, a highly journalistic novel that hits the political and material realities of post-WWII Russia, but that subsumes humanity beneath its ideas. It's more valuable as testimony than as literature, thanks largely to Solzhenitsyn's insight into one of the great abominations of the 20th century. (Oct.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

“The appearance of this new version of Solzhenitsyn’s best novel is an exciting literary event. This is a great and important book, whose qualities are finally fully available to English readers. A fifth longer than the original, it is a vastly better novel.”
“The new edition of Solzhenitsyn’s epic novel, In the First Circle captures better than any other work of fiction the quintessence of communist rule at its Stalinist peak: all-pervasive, paranoid, oppressive, incompetent, lethal. ... The longer text is deeper and darker.”
“Solzhenitsyn’s Cold War masterpiece ... a new radically retranslated edition, which is greatly expanded.”

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