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Chain of Misery: Was the Soviet gulag economically rational?

Stephen Sestanovich

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In 1958, Alexander Solzhenitsyn began collecting material on the Soviet labor-camp system. When he finally published "The Gulag Archipelago" 15 years later, in three big volumes, he made no claim to have written the last word on the subject...

What Mr. Solzhenitsyn hoped for, Anne Applebaum has now done. "Gulag: A History" achieves the "view from the tower" that he was denied...

Mr. Solzhenitsyn wrote "The Gulag Archipelago" to destroy the Soviet regime. He had to make reading it an overwhelming experience, and he succeeded. Despite his current reputation as moralist scourge and traditionalist bore, Mr. Solzhenitsyn was a polemical genius..

Anne Applebaum writes to keep that regime alive--in memory. Compared with its predecessor, "Gulag: A History" is a mere book, not an experience. But it is a valuable and necessary book, the kind that Mr. Solzhenitsyn hoped for and that he, 30 years ago, did much to make possible.

Read the entire article on the Wall Street Opinion Journal website.



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