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posted ago by GoldenPlains ago by GoldenPlains +47 / -1

Welcome back to Book Club!

This is the next discussion thread for The Gulag Archipelago. Next weeks will cover chapters 9-12.

I'm going to have a poll going forward every week. I'm going to ask if you want to continue doing this book or stop and have another vote thread for a new book. Here is the poll: https://youpoll.me/67974/ . I figure the next book will be required to be fiction. Next week I'll check the results and if the 'continues' win then I'll post the next discussion thread.

If we do continue I'm going to also have a post wrapping up part 1 which will allow for people to comment about any part of this first section.

Previous Discussions:


Chapters 1-2

Chapters 3-5


If you don't have a hard copy of the book here is an archive link provided by u/8bitArchitect on my last post: https://archive.org/details/TheGulagArchipelago-Threevolumes

Comments (12)
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CatoTheElder 9 points ago +10 / -1

Throughout chapter 6 there is a secondary theme, explicitly stated on pg. 263,

"every Soviet person who had lived abroad had to be imprisoned in camp".

This comes from the fact that anyone who has ever seen the relative plenty of even wartime Europe will know that the starvation and poverty, the inevitable result of communism, is not normal. Thus anyone who had lived abroad had to be silenced lest they spread discontent. As long as a single communist exists anywhere in the world, they will work to destroy all other systems, because theirs is so inferior. The only way to make them stop is to make them stop existing.

As usual the footnotes are where the interesting information is, A footnote on page 266 has this tidbit about ex post facto laws:

The Chinese, in fact, will promulgate precisely such laws--just give them the chance to reach out that far.

And of course Solzhenitsyn is correct in his prediction.

The only thing chapter 8 really points out is that we are still in the phase where the left gives lip service to the law. The trial of Chauvin shows that the outcome is determined before the trial ever starts, but at least there is a trial.

As for the poll, we might as well end here. Much of Solzhenitsyn's book so far seems excessively redundant. Fortunately, it seems that the book is organized from most relevant and broad to the least important and detailed.

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MetallicBioMeat 6 points ago +6 / -0

But the next volume details the camps, which must truly be the best part...

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subbookkeeper 3 points ago +3 / -0

every Soviet person who had lived abroad had to be imprisoned in camp

Oh we have that in Australia now.

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Fursona7 3 points ago +3 / -0

I think there’s something wrong with your poll. I voted minutes after the poll was posted to continue and still don’t see any results from voting. I checked before logging in and the results it gives me are still 0/0.

If you’re taking a forum vote, I still vote to continue.

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GoldenPlains [S] 3 points ago +3 / -0

I'll try a different website then. Strawpoll has been screwed up for the last month. Here ya go: https://youpoll.me/67974/

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MetallicBioMeat 2 points ago +2 / -0

Yep the poll seems broken atm.

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DR534 2 points ago +3 / -1

I need to finish listening to Dostoevsky's "The Idiot."

The main character is based on Jesus and Don Quixote, and interesting mix. Basically, he's humble but comes from a royal lineage, and most look down on him and you see the contrast of interactions with various people of this world with a humble soul.

Irwin Weil gives a good lecture on this with a brief biography of Dostoevsky here.

Some that I've talked to see that as his second-best book behind The Brothers Karamazov. Then Notes from the Underground as a short one to hear the rantings of a madman who has been living underground to see how the depraved human mind works.

I went off-topic, but mentioned those as good ones for fiction, really good heavy philosophy packed into novels, dissecting and laying bare the human mind and soul. The kind of books that change you when they expose flaws you have you didn't realize were there or lies you tell yourself as you read them in a character in the book.

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ajfofjakf 2 points ago +2 / -0

Notes from the Underground is worth a read. It's worth a discussion, even just with a friend.

19th century Russians are a good read. Maybe some short stories from Gogol, Tolstoy, or Chekhov for fiction reading?

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PrecisionStrike 1 point ago +1 / -0

I want to buy a paper copy of the book. Are all 3 volumes necessary to get the whole picture?

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Ralt 2 points ago +2 / -0

Nope. Volume one alone will be harrowing journey. I imagine the abridged would also still be gut wrenching.

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GoldenPlains [S] 0 points ago +1 / -1

Hey u/DomitiusOfMassilia can I get a sticky please, thanks.

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DomitiusOfMassilia 1 point ago +2 / -1

done