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The Gulag Archipelago

Length: 23 hrs and 28 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
5 out of 5 stars (216 ratings)

Non-member price: $36.45

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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, read by the author's son, Ignat Solzhenitsyn.

With a new foreword written and read by Jordan B. Peterson, and an exclusive Q&A between Jordan B. Peterson and Ignat Solzhenitsyn.

The officially approved abridgement of The Gulag Archipelago Volumes I, II & III.

A vast canvas of camps, prisons, transit centres and secret police, of informers and spies and interrogators but also of everyday heroism, The Gulag Archipelago is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's grand masterwork. Based on the testimony of some 200 survivors, and on the recollection of Solzhenitsyn's own 11 years in labour camps and exile, it chronicles the story of those at the heart of the Soviet Union who opposed Stalin, and for whom the key to survival lay not in hope but in despair.

A thoroughly researched document and a feat of literary and imaginative power, this edition of The Gulag Archipelago was abridged into one volume at the author's wish and with his full co-operation.

©2019 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Solzhenitsyn’s masterpiece...The Gulag Archipelago helped create the world we live in today." (Anne Applebaum) 

"[The Gulag Archipelago] helped to bring down an empire. Its importance can hardly be exaggerated." (Doris Lessing, Sunday Telegraph)

What members say

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Must listen!

Essential book, shocking and so well written it feels like you’re living through it. I think everyone should listen to this audiobook, as essential as other books like mans search for meaning.

6 people found this helpful

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Never take your liberty for granted again

I thought I had some idea, but really didn't, truly. Take the depth of horror that was Nazi Germany, then multiply out the breadth in years and humanity. Finally, shrink wrap everything in the hopelessness of total censorship, and total deceit, right down to the family.

It started with such utopian ideals of economic redistribution too.

This is a grim read, but I feel it is necessary to begin to appreciate the insights on the human spirit.

2 people found this helpful

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Life changing and horrific

This should be made compulsory reading for university students who consider advocating for socialism. It is not a happy and uplifting read, but it is probably the most moving book I have read in long time.

2 people found this helpful

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Unreal

An amazing book to drive with, very compelling and interesting. An amazing story of how bad humans can be to each other, and yet how resilient we can be in the face of adversity.

1 person found this helpful

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A valuable lesson

This book should be mandatory reading for every high school in every country. The fact that this book is more well known is a tremendous disservice to all the victims of the soviet regime.

1 person found this helpful

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Literary work of genius.

One of the most important works of literature ever written. May it always be remembered.

2 people found this helpful

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A must read for everyone.

Contradictory to the author and his values, I believe this book must be read by all.

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A journey to the depths of human depravity.

A stark insight into pernicious totalitarian ideology. With a sepia filter throughout, at times this was difficult to listen to. Solzhenitsyn highlights the juxtaposition between the utopian ideals of Marxism and the reality of millions that were murdered in (ostensibly) the persuite of Stalins communist dream/nightmare.

"You only need one sip to taste the ocean" - Russian proverb
(part 2 - chapter 4 - Gulag Archipelago)

The ultimate "glass half full" reminder.

Throughly recommend.

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amazing

A must read for all people, give a greater understanding of human kind and what we are capable of.

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5*

One of the most impactful books I've read in my life. I find myself reflecting on its pages constantly and yet there are deeper truths I'm still to uncover. I feel like I could read this book several times and get something new from it each time.

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  • Reyes Maxi
  • 01-07-2019

Great story, poor performance

I was expecting the unabridged version, perhaps that was explicited in the pre-order and I didn't notice.
Anyways, this was a bit of a letdown.
The book itself is great, as well as the foreword written and performed by Jordan Peterson, who introduced me to this great work of literature.
It was also great (and also suspicious, given the fact that he probably isn't a professional reader) that Ignat Solzhenitsyn was brought into the project, given the implications the bond with his father could have played in the performance of the work... but this was a major letdown.
The performer is just not up to the task. He does a great job with some impersonations, has a good voice and pronunciation, but he is extremely monotonous, sometimes giving an old computer algorithm like feeling to the lecture. But the biggest problem is the "copy-paste" feeling you get throughout the performance, he stops during the reading, sometimes at the beggining, sometimes in the middle, and sometimes just before finishing a sentence, in the last scenario you get an unexpected extra verse after you though he had finished the phrase (due the monotonous quality of the lecture). I don't know if he struggled with the task because the reading wasn't done in his native tongue, but that is not excuse for the QC in audible, get someone else to do it and let Ignat close the book with his thoughts, that would have been waaaayyyyyy better.
I am returning this book, I just couldn't finish it. I've listened to it for 4 hours... and that's enough. It's the first time I am returning a book for this reason, believe me, I am not that picky about the reading, but this was just too much. If you want a better version there is an unabridged one you can easily find, I will be going back to that one.
Audible, next time you get someone to read, be sure that merit is the base of that decision.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Martin Ferrari
  • 04-11-2019

Left me scarred, a necessity in a way

Never thought that a book would take me to such a dark place within myself. Thank you to everyone involved in the production of these pages.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ben
  • 03-11-2019

an indictment on humanity

What a powerful story...!
Shame on us citizens of the 'free' areas of the world. what do we know of suffering and tragedy...?!
I am humbled when considering the 'drama of my own life in comparison...
...and I am encouged to embrace compassion and grace

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  • evan storm
  • 08-08-2019

Enthralling story but a horrifying journey

The story of this book is enthralling, I usually have a hard time staying focused on one book at a time, and sometimes even completing a book. Knowing that the average audiobook is 7-8 hours long and that one is triple that amount, it seemed like a daunting task to complete it, but I devoured this book within a week, if that can be a testament to the quality of the writing.

I've been taught the horrors of the nazi camps in school, but lacked massively in my knowledge of communism and its own share of dead bodies. This book tells a shocking story of what happened in Russia, but also asks us moral questions that profoundly disturb one's mind.
It is puzzling to see the range of human emotions, from abject monsters to benevolent angels. "The line between good and evil cuts through every man's heart" to quote the author.

This book brought me to tears many times, by the recollected stories told, it squeezed a few laughs, sighs of disbelief, and awe struck silences.

I do recommend this book without hesitation.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dienuca
  • 28-03-2020

annoying performance

the seriousness of this masterpiece does not match the sexiness and relaxing voice of the narrator. i couldn't concentrate, the discrepancy is very distracting.

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  • RexTppy
  • 22-02-2020

Mandatory reading about a diabolical ideology.

Some say it is the book that brought down the Soviet Union, others that after its publication, no one would be able to defend communism as "a good idea badly implemented". Solzhenitin goes down into the deep caverns and pits of this purely diabolical and anti-human ideology, pushing aside its façade of equality and kamaraderie. Once the lies are dismissed, the inferno is revealed in all its hideousness: torture, humiliation, summary executions, extermination camps, the destruction of the very essence of what makes us human. If the devil himself could have devised an ideology aimed at spreading pain and suffering, the communists have far outdone him. And not only in the Soviet Union. In a time when this demented and hateful view of the wold seems to make a comeback, when extremism seems to be on the rise, both on the left and on the right, when collective thinking and collective blaming seem to be, once more, the norm, every child and adult should read this book, to trully understand where such hatred leads.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-02-2020

A must read/listen

A must read/listen, especially for those who haven’t got to live under communist or other dictatorship rule.

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  • Nik
  • 22-01-2020

Should be taught in all schools

If one was to come up with a fictional horror story, they would not be able to put together all the terrors that really happened. Beautifully written and edited, simple to understand, and life changing.

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  • Branislav Randa
  • 12-01-2020

A must read

Just read it, no matter who You are. Everyone should know the true past. No one should live a lie.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-12-2019

Coping with horror

Unbelievable horrors of human ideology and disrespect for the lifes of others in a game of power, storytelling and behaviour. No matter what you do someone will suffer on a non-utopian World. I must now put every gram of consciousness I have into liberating the individual truth including my own and fight for the kindness towards others.

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  • Paolo
  • 09-07-2019

Incredible Biography/Documentary/Story!

What a book! This should be read by everybody. Who knew that these things were happening? Who could understand the fear, pain and despair these people were going through? And who could have survived and moreover, changed the world! At least my world! I literary masterpiece by Solzhenitsyn and excellently narrated by his son.

7 people found this helpful

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  • K. Fairweather
  • 30-07-2019

Absolutely compelling from start to finish..

I first heard about this from Jordan Peterson on the Joe Rogan podcast..

It is the best audiobook i have listened to out of the 15 or so i have bought.

Amazing story, so dark and graphic but it was all true, it really happened !

Wow, wow and wow, incredible !

5 people found this helpful

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  • RB
  • 27-07-2019

Magnificent reading

Ignat Solzhenitsyn's reading--I almost want to call it a dramatisation, a performance--of this father's great, terrible masterwork is the best reading I've so far heard on Audible. It's a fitting tribute to his father's achievement and will be worth listening to many times over.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-07-2019

holy shit

this is a must read for the common person who struggles with understanding the past and present way of men being possessed by ideology.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-07-2019

Harrowing but it should be heard.

A good opportunity to hear a book very few would read, but should. Read exceedingly well by the writer's son. Finishes with an interesting conversation between Peterson and Ignat Solzhenitsyn.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-08-2019

Crushing

An almost unbelievable journey through some of the worst horrors that mankind has to offer.

Chilling in it's description of the destruction of not just the bodies but also the minds of a people on the altar of an ideology still held up by politicians today as a shining example of what 'could be' in modern times if only we try it.

The true brilliance of this journey lies in the uncompromising way Solzhenitsyn reveals the depths of the evil that lies within all all people man, woman and child if only given a bad idea to believe and writes unflinchingly of how complicit and entire nation was in it's own descent into Hell.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Pete Holloway
  • 04-08-2019

Magnificent and honourable.

A forensic analysis of the reality of political extremism. It shows the awful potential of human depravity when given the opportunity, provided by corrupt power. I am thankful that enough witnesses survived for their story to be told and sorry that nobody has ever been held to account. A magnificent book and an honourable endeavour.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Edvardas
  • 31-07-2019

Recomended

don't really know what arguments to use to justify my recommendation. Its not fiction. its real life. I noticed that in recent years socialism/communism is getting more attention as a valid ideology to follow. well here you can find out what unintended consequence it has on a personal level. I recommend it especially to young idealistic people.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Katty
  • 18-07-2019

It's your human DUTY to read this book

This book will leave you speechless over the horrors we (humans) are capable of. But it'll also leave you inspired over the strength we're also capable of. This book is more important to understand and consider way more than any religious texts you can think of. It's a must read.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-07-2019

TRUE

Mandatory book for every politician before taking up the office, especially book for European parliamentarians.

4 people found this helpful