Alexander Solzhenitsyn August 1914

ISBN 13: 9780374106843

August 1914

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9780374106843: August 1914
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"The general concept of this novel," the author has written, "came to my mind in 1936, when I was just leaving secondary school. Since then I have never parted from it, regarding it as the chief artistic design of my life." He has also said he considers the previous books he has published minor to this--"a result of the oddities of my life story..."

AUGUST 1914, the first part of this major work, is set at the outbreak of the First World War, and its moral concern is to establish the responsibility for Russia's defeat in the battle of Tannenberg. Limiting itself to the opening two weeks of the war, the novel describes the Russian offensive into East Prussia, which resulted in the encirclement and defeat of General Samsonov's Second Army by Hindenburg. This disaster revealed the dry rot at the core of Tsarism and hastened its downfall.

The main theme is filled out by a great cross-section of characters, both fictitious and historic, from every walk of Russian life. The fictional character of Colonel Vorotyntsev, an enlightened and ironic young staff officer who mixes with the soldiers as much as with generals, provides a link between the various elements in the story. Solzhenitsyn gives a sympathetic portrait of Samsonov as the victim of staff blunders and personality clashes, and there is a moving description of his suicide in defeat.

AUGUST 1914 is a triumph of historical reconstruction as well as of the creative imagination. In the final chapter, it is clear that the guilty will escape through their influence at court, that Russia's military humiliation is only a symptom of the deeper shame of the Tsarists system, and that a new Russia will somehow have to be born. The novel glows with the author's love of his country and with his deep concern for ordinary men and women.

It's first publication in English, in an excellent translation by Michael Glenny, is a literary event of world-wide importance.

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About the Author:

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was born in 1918, received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970, and was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974. Until 1994, when he returned to Russia, he lived and worked in Vermont, primarily on The Red Wheel.

Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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