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About the book
  • Published: 22 October 2018
  • ISBN: 9781473567771
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 144

Warning to the West




Solzhenitsyn's polemical speeches - a primer for understanding the moral, political vision of the Nobel prize winner

‘Can one part of humanity learn from the bitter experience of another or can it not?
Is it possible or impossible to warn someone of danger...to assess soberly the worldwide menace that threatens to swallow the whole world?

I was swallowed myself. I have been in the dragon’s belly, in its red-hot innards. It was unable to digest me and threw me up. I have come to you as a witness to what it is like there, in the dragon’s belly’

During 1975 and 1976, Nobel Prize-winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn embarked on a series of speeches across America and Britain that would shock and scandalise both countries. His message: the West was veering towards moral and spiritual bankruptcy, and with it the world’s one hope against tyranny and totalitarianism.

From Solzhenitsyn’s warnings about the allure of communism, to his rebuke that the West should not abandon its age-old concepts of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, the speeches collected in Warning to the West provide insight into Solzhenitsyn’s uncompromising moral vision. Read today, their message remains as powerfully urgent as when Solzhenitsyn first delivered them.

  • Pub date: 22 October 2018
  • ISBN: 9781473567771
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 144

About the Author

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was born at Kislovodsk in 1918. After graduating at Rostov University in mathematics—he took a correspondence course in literature simultaneously—he was called up for the army. He served continuously at the front as a gunner and artillery officer, was twice decorated, commanded his battery, and reached the rank of captain. In early 1945 he was arrested in an East Prussian village and charged with making derogatory remarks about Stalin. For the next eight years he was in labor camps, at first in 'general' camps along with common criminals in the Arctic and later in Beria's 'special' camps for long-term prisoners. The particular camp described in his book One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich was in the region of Karaganda in northern Kazakhstan. Released in 1953, on Stalin's death, Solzhenitsyn had to remain in exile for three years although his wife was allowed to join him, before returning to Russia. He settled near Ryazan and taught in a secondary school. In 1961 he submitted his novel, One Day ..., to Aleksandr Tvardovsky, the poet and editor of Novy Mir (New World), a literary journal; it was published, on the final decision of Khrushchev himself, in the November 1962 edition of Novy Mir, which sold out immediately.

Three further stories by him were published during 1963 and a fourth in 1966. In 1968 Solzhenitsyn came under attack from the Russian Literary Gazette, which alleged that since 1967 his aim in life had been to oppose the basic principles of Soviet literature, and accused him of being content with the role given him by ideological enemies of Russia. He was expelled from the Soviet Writers' Union in 1969 and in 1974, after the publication in Europe of his book The Gulag Archipelago, he was arrested by the authorities and deported. August 1914, Cancer Ward, The Love-girl and the Innocent (a play), Matryona's House and Other Stories, Candle in the Wind (a play) and Lenin in Zurich are all published by Penguin. The Red Wheel series—of which August 1914 is the initial volume—is his most recent work. In 1970 Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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Praise for Warning to the West

“When we look back at the 20th century, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn will be remembered not just as an influential author, but as one of the few authors who actually altered the way in which millions of people thought about politics... Solzhenitsyn stood out, even among an exceptional generation of Russian dissidents and writers, for his extraordinary commitment to truth-telling”

Anne Applebaum


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