61 pages 2 hours read

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The Gulag Archipelago

Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 1973

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Part 7, Chapter 1-P.P.S.

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 7, Chapter 1 Summary: “Looking Back on It All”

Solzhenitsyn reflects on the story of the Gulag. He never doubted that the story would be told by someone because “sooner or later the truth is told about all that has happened in history” (451). He knows many people who have tried to document the labor camps, but few have succeeded in writing everything down for publication. Solzhenitsyn, however, gratefully recounts his successful 1962 publication of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich—a short novel describing a single day in the life of its fictional protagonist, a prisoner in the Gulag (Nikita Khrushchev allowed the novel’s publication in an effort to dispel Stalin’s “cult of personality”). Solzhenitsyn is grateful for the letters he received afterward from people who had endured similar experiences to Ivan Denisovich, but he was surprised to receive letters from people still in similar prisons, despite Nikita Khrushchev’s insistence that he had closed Stalin’s camps. He criticizes the Soviet government for trying to cover up the truth.

Part 7, Chapter 2 Summary: “Rulers Change, the Archipelago Remains”

Solzhenitsyn considers Stalin’s death and its impact on the Gulag system. In the wake of Stalin’s death, Beria fell from power.