The Gulag books should be "required reading". This volume in particular is important. A bit easier to read than the first as well.
a lesson for all, October 30, 2005
Reviewer: Helenka "Helenka" (Australia)
This book was impossible to put down. I think it is essential reading for people of all cultures. It is blunt, brutally honest, eye-opening, non-apologetic and confronting. It educates and enlightens the reader. The author gives a voice to many who had been silenced either by death, torture or fear of both. In exposing a leader, a system and a regime, he also exposes humanity everywhere. In his description of what occurred, he is putting the spotlight on the inhumanity and cruelty that humans are capable of inflicting on each other, and have done again, since the collapse of the Soviet system. Whilst the setting is Soviet Russia, history shows that people elsewhere, and in other styles of regimes have been just as cruel and life-destroying, in their own, or in similar ways. Despite the despair, the anger, the tragedy of it all, the author also shows that there is hope, survival, and a light at the end of the tunnel. The human spirit is capable of overcoming seemingly impossible hurdles. Despite being exiled for the book, and believing that he would never see it in print in his lifetime, he returned to Russia.