Foreword Reviews

Starred Review:

Between Two Millstones, Book 2

Exile in America, 1978–1994

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Between Two Millstones, Book 2 is a captivating record of his life of exile in the United States.

In 1976, Solzhenitsyn, his wife, Alya, and their three sons settled in Cavendish, Vermont, after being exiled from the Soviet Union because he published the influential The Gulag Archipelago, a chronicle of the USSR’s forced labor camps that drew upon reports, testimonies, diaries, and interviews.

With invaluable insights into the Nobel Prize winner’s personal life, this book also conveys Solzhenitsyn’s passion for Russia and his unwavering artistic commitment to his work. The Red Wheel, his cycle of novels that covers Russian events from 1914 to 1917 and the birth of the Soviet Union, was his consuming ambition. With ever-energetic Alya as his editor and researcher, and his sons helping to typeset his work, his home became a veritable small publishing house.

Solzhenitsyn’s sketches are intricate and complex historical accounts of the many distractions that plagued him as he attempted to withdraw from society and focus on his work. They include presidential luncheon invitations, speaking engagements in Asia, constant assaults in the press, and tea with Margaret Thatcher; each provides context for his life. Solzhenitsyn covers Russian history, corruption in the Soviet Union, and the vacuity of Western culture alongside humorous anecdotes about friends and acquaintances. Each page pulses with intellectual rigor and life energy. It becomes difficult to imagine how Russian literature, and the world’s view of life inside of the Soviet Union, would be without the undying devotion and work of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Complete with helpful and extensive endnotes, Between Two Millstones is an absorbing historical work that conveys Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s love of his country and, above all, the truth.

Reviewed by Monica Carter

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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