Between Two Millstones, Book 1
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291 pages

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Russian Nobel prize–winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008) is widely acknowledged as one of the most important figures—and perhaps the most important writer—of the last century. To celebrate the centenary of his birth, the first English translation of his memoir of the West, Between Two Millstones, Book 1, is being published. Fast-paced, absorbing, and as compelling as the earlier installments of his memoir The Oak and the Calf (1975), Between Two Millstones begins on February 13, 1974, when Solzhenitsyn found himself forcibly expelled to Frankfurt, West Germany, as a result of the publication in the West of The Gulag Archipelago. Solzhenitsyn moved to Zurich, Switzerland, for a time and was considered the most famous man in the world, hounded by journalists and reporters. During this period, he found himself untethered and unable to work while he tried to acclimate to his new surroundings.

Between Two Millstones contains vivid descriptions of Solzhenitsyn's journeys to various European countries and North American locales, where he and his wife Natalia (“Alya”) searched for a location to settle their young family. There are fascinating descriptions of one-on-one meetings with prominent individuals, detailed accounts of public speeches such as the 1978 Harvard University commencement, comments on his television appearances, accounts of his struggles with unscrupulous publishers and agents who mishandled the Western editions of his books, and the KGB disinformation efforts to besmirch his name. There are also passages on Solzhenitsyn's family and their property in Cavendish, Vermont, whose forested hillsides and harsh winters evoked his Russian homeland, and where he could finally work undisturbed on his ten-volume dramatized history of the Russian Revolution, The Red Wheel. Stories include the efforts made to assure a proper education for the writer's three sons, their desire to return one day to their home in Russia, and descriptions of his extraordinary wife, editor, literary advisor, and director of the Russian Social Fund, Alya, who successfully arranged, at great peril to herself and to her family, to smuggle Solzhenitsyn's invaluable archive out of the Soviet Union.

Between Two Millstones is a literary event of the first magnitude. The book dramatically reflects the pain of Solzhenitsyn's separation from his Russian homeland and the chasm of miscomprehension between him and Western society.



Publié par
Date de parution 30 octobre 2018
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780268105044
Langue English

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Between Two Millstones, Book 1
Sketches of Exile, 1974–1978
“The publication of Between Two Millstones, Book 1 is most welcome and occurs at just the right moment, when relations between Russia and the West are in a sorry state. This volume introduces readers to the worldview of a formidable writer after his expulsion from the Soviet Union in 1974. A Russian patriot and an honest and unrelenting champion of the oppressed, Solzhenitsyn disappointed those pundits and public figures who expected him to lavish only praise on the West. His memoirs are continually absorbing and contain fascinating insights and observations, where his literary brilliance is on full display.”
—David L. Tubbs, The King’s College, New York City
“The popular image of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is that of a dour prophet, waging a war of words against international Communism—he won. However, Solzhenitsyn is primarily an author with an exceptional knack for making characters come alive off the printed page. In this personal memoir recounting the years after his expulsion from the Soviet Union, Solzhenitsyn himself emerges from behind the shadows of his public persona. Instead of the ‘slightly balmy nineteenth-century Russian mystic’ that President Jimmy Carter styled him, we see a thoughtful, witty, ironic, sensitive man struggling to learn the ways of new cultures, new friends, and new languages. He documents his search for a place to live where his family will thrive, safe from the threat posed by the KGB. He is always torn between the weight of fame (legions of people want to admire, damn, or at the least meet him) and the longing for the unencumbered existence of a writer. For readers interested in one of the pivotal figures in the demise of twentieth-century totalitarianism, this book is a treasure.”
—James F. Pontuso, Charles Patterson Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs, Hampden-Sydney College, author of Assault on Ideology: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Political Thought
“For those wishing to know more about the literary genius and political giant who was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, this autobiographical account of his years of exile in the West is a wish come true. Up until now, we have only had Solzhenitsyn’s account of his years as a dissident in the Soviet Union, prior to his expulsion from his homeland. As for the years from 1974 to 1994, we have had to content ourselves with mere scraps and fragments. Now, at long last, we are being served the feast for which we have hungered.”
—Joseph Pearce, author of Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile
“ Between Two Millstones describes the years when Solzhenitsyn, banished but unbowed, defied Western decadence as eloquently as he had Soviet brutality.”
—Christopher Caldwell, The Weekly Standard

“Solzhenitsyn’s account of his early years of exile is informed by a refusal to be swept along by the swift-moving currents of modernity and an ever-increasing awareness of the West’s loss of a moral compass. It should be high on the reading list of every thinking American.”
—Lee Congdon, author of Solzhenitsyn: The Historical-Spiritual Destinies of Russia and the West
“Like the man himself, the translated memoir of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is an indispensable part of history. Solzhenitsyn’s words, now accessible to English readers for the first time, are a lasting testimony to his unbending moral courage, his persistence, and his persuasiveness—all of which helped bring down Communism.”
—Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense (1975–1977, 2001–2006)
“These ‘sketches of exile’ were written during the events described and are informed with the same energy and vivid powers of description that characterized Solzhenitsyn’s acclaimed memoir The Oak and the Calf . Between Two Millstones has appeared in Russian, French, German, Italian, and Romanian, but not in the country where Solzhenitsyn spent eighteen years of his Western exile. It is one of the great memoirs of our time and a distinguished work of art in its own right.”
—Daniel J. Mahoney, Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship, Assumption College
“As a former political prisoner fresh out of the USSR, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was consumed with the desire of making the West see the dangers of Communism. But an increasing number of Western commentators found his views too harsh in this respect, as well as ‘insufficiently liberal’ in general. Controversies concerning Solzhenitsyn began erupting with ever greater frequency, reaching a crescendo of sorts after the Harvard speech. In Between Two Millstones , Solzhenitsyn revisits these polemical battles with gusto and in fascinating detail.”
—Alexis Klimoff, emeritus, Vassar College
“Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn took to Vermont, and Vermonters took to him. I felt it a privilege to have met with him in his new Vermont setting, and I know that our state’s forested beauty reminded him of home. We are proud that he believed that his homeland, and the world, could learn from the local self-government that is embodied in Town Meeting Day in towns and hamlets across the Green Mountain State.”
—Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont)
The Center for Ethics and Culture Solzhenitsyn Series
The Center for Ethics and Culture Solzhenitsyn Series showcases the contributions and continuing inspiration of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008), the Nobel Prize–winning novelist and historian. The series makes available works of Solzhenitsyn, including previously untranslated works, and aims to provide the leading platform for exploring the many facets of his enduring legacy. In his novels, essays, memoirs, and speeches, Solzhenitsyn revealed the devastating core of totalitarianism and warned against political, economic, and cultural dangers to the human spirit. In addition to publishing his work, this new series features thoughtful writers and commentators who draw inspiration from Solzhenitsyn’s abiding care for Christianity and the West, and for the best of the Russian tradition. Through contributions in politics, literature, philosophy, and the arts, these writers follow Solzhenitsyn’s trail in a world filled with new pitfalls and new possibilities for human freedom and human dignity.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Sketches of Exile 1974–1978
Translated from the Russian by
Published by the University of Notre Dame Press
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556
English Language Edition copyright © 2018 by University of Notre Dame
All Rights Reserved
Printed in Canada by Friesens Corporation
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr Isaevich, 1918–2008, author. | Constantine, Peter, 1963– translator. | Mahoney, Daniel J., 1960– writer of foreword.
Title: Between two millstones, book 1: sketches of exile, 1974–1978 / Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn ; translated from the Russian edition by Peter Constantine ; foreword by Daniel J. Mahoney.
Other titles: Ugodilo zyornyshko promezh dvukh zhernovov. English Description: Notre Dame, Indiana : University of Notre Dame Press, [2018] | Series: Center for Ethics and Culture Solzhenitsyn series | “This is the first publication in English of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s memoirs of his years in the West, Ugodilo zyornyshko promezh dvukh zhernovov: Ocherki izgnaniya. They are being published here as two books: The present first book contains Part One. The forthcoming second book, under the title Between Two Millstones, Book 2: Exile in America, 1978–1994, contains Parts Two, Three, and Four”—Publisher’s note. | Includes bibliographic references and index. |
Identifiers: LCCN 2018021919 (print) | LCCN 2018041531 (ebook) | ISBN 9780268105037 (pdf) | ISBN 9780268105044 (epub) | ISBN 9780268105013 (cloth : alk. paper) | ISBN 0268105014 (cloth : alk. paper)
Subjects: LCSH: Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr Isaevich, 1918–2008. | Authors, Russian—20th century—Biography. | LCGFT: Autobiographies.
Classification: LCC PG3488.O4 (ebook) | LCC PG3488.O4 Z4613 2018 (print) | DDC 891.78/4403 [B]—dc23
LC record available at
∞ This paper meets the requirements of ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992 (Permanence of Paper).
This e-Book was converted from the original source file by a third-party vendor. Readers who notice any formatting, textual, or readability issues are encouraged to contact the publisher at
Publisher’s Note
PART ONE (1974–1978)
CHAPTER 1 Untethered
CHAPTER 2 Predators and Dupes
CHAPTER 3 Another Year Adrift
CHAPTER 4 At Five Brooks
CHAPTER 5 Through the Fumes
List of Appendices
Appendices (1–24)
Notes to the English Translation
Index of Selected Names
General Index
This is the first publication in English of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s memoirs of his years in the West, Угодило зëрнышко промеж двух жерновов: Oчерки l

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