Gulag: A History
It's a work of labor as much as debt and sheer investigative powers. It covers every aspect of the Gulag system from its pre-history to its closing-down.
Russia's history is sad, unsentimental, and violent. One must thank God that Americans took a more noble and humane path for their history. If people get what they deserve, the Russians must be really wicked, and Americans must congratulate themselves for their differing paths.
Take these words from a Russian of today: "Perhaps the old system was bad -but at least we were powerful, we don't want to hear that it was bad." So will the devil himself say on the day of reckoning.
Bad people make bad systems. "The new Russian elite's arrogant contempt for its fellow citizens lives on" says the author. Seems like Russia is in for some more trouble soon.
One might wrongly assume that once through the first half of the book, the second will be just more of the same, but read on, it can always get worse.
Despite the huge amount of information it collects, it still does not cover the story of the "special exiles", millions of people who were sent not to concentration camps but to live in remote villages were they died of cold, starvation or overwork.
Gorky's description of the prisoners of the forced labor camps, and the kulaks: "half-animals". He and the other "intellectuals" were the ones most exhilarated by the "progress" of Soviet society!
What still amazes me most is the extreme voluntary blindness that many Russian communists reached to explain away THEIR OWN arrests and torture: "We are honest Soviet people, hurrah for Stalin, we aren't guilty and our state will free us from the company of all these enemies. Their arrests were caused by "the cunning work of foreign intelligence services".
With this kind of people what can anyone expect for a country? Thank God, again and again, for America.