The Soul and Barbed Wire:
An Introduction to Solzhenitsyn
by Edward E. Ericson Jr. and Alexis Klimoff
$28.00 List Price
I’d like to address some of the hostility Keith Gessen shows toward Alexandr Solzhenitsyn while allegedly reviewing The Soul and Barbed Wire: An Introduction to Solzhenitsyn by Edward E. Ericson Jr. and Alexis Klimoff (“Calamities of Exile,” Dec/Jan 2009).
Gessen writes that Solzhenitsyn “lived his life in the mode of a biblical prophet.” This stretch of rhetoric skirts Solzhenitsyn’s Marxist views from the age of twelve through the Second World War and into the camps (which, incidentally, he did not enjoy seeing, as Gessen wickedly thinks he seems to), where his beliefs ran into severe opposition. The process of entering the gulag and meeting other free-speaking prisoners changed Solzhenitsyn’s views, and he then reacquainted himself with the Orthodox Church. Implying that Solzhenitsyn’s
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