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Review of The Gulag Archipelago: An Incredibly Relevant Book from 1973


I’ll be honest at the beginning of this book review, The Gulag Archipelago is not a fun book to read. That’s not to say it’s a bad book or poorly written. It’s a great, excellently written book that does an excellent job of showing the evil, brutal life lived by those under the repressive hand of socialism.

However, the content, as you would expect from a book about socialism, is incredibly disturbing. It’s like a real-life version of 1984 or The Gunpowder Coast, where a tyrannical government inflicts increasingly horrible brutalities and atrocities upon its own people.

Summary of The Gulag Archipelago

In The Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn doesn’t hold anything back. He describes exactly what the Soviet government did to its people in detail by excrutiation detail.

The false accusations, show trials, if there were trials at all, shockingly brutal interrogations, miserable conditions inside the prisons and camps, and utter injustice of it are all described in depth.

There’s not really all that much more of a summary of it that I can give. The Gulag Archipelago is full of anecdotes and stories about the horrors of the camps and stands as a living testament to the evils of socialism and what miserable circumstances it leads to. There are no redeeming features of it, despite what those insane members of the modern far-left might tell you.

In fact, the Soviet system was perhaps the most evil system ever created. Perhaps the Chinese or Cambodian socialist systems were slightly worse, but that’s like comparing the eighth circle of hell to the ninth. The Soviet system was based on falsely accusing citizens of the Soviet Union of political crimes and then imprisoning them in sub-human conditions and using them as slave labor for state-mandated projects.

Solzhenitsyn experiences those evils and horrors first-hand and they are what The Gulag Archipelago is about. He, a dutiful Red Army soldier on the Eastern Front, was accused and imprisoned by an NKVD officer that wanted his cigarette case. From there, he was tortured and treated even worse than the Nazis treated concentration camp inmates as he was shuffled from hellhole to hellhole until making his way to Siberia, where he was worked almost to the point of death for year after year.

prisoners in the gulag archipelago
Prisoners in the Gulag Archipelago

Solzhenitsyn leaves no holds barred in his telling of what the gulag system was like. He describes the cruelty of the guards, the horrific situations prisoners were placed in, and the utter inhumanity of it all.

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After finishing the book, I was surprised anyone survived. He was tortured in ways decency forbids me to reprint. His fellow prisoners were massacred for daring to try and strike for more bread. Female prisoners were raped and brutalized by evil Soviet guards. And all of it was just because Stalin needed more slave labor to do the dirty work of building a socialist utopia and NKVD officers were given a free hand to arrest anyone they wanted something from.

If they wanted an apartment, they could arrest the person who inhabited it. If they wanted a job opening for their family member, they could arrest the person that was filling that role. When Stalin needed more labor, they liquidated entire villages. The system was arbitrary, evil, and should be shocking and condemned by anyone with a conscience.

I wish my summary of The Gulag Archipelago could contain more details. But, frankly, what I haven’t included here was too horrific for me to rewrite. I was shocked and sickened by the details of the system Solzhenitsyn described. That’s why you need to read the book; it shows just how evil every socialist system is.

My Analysis of The Gulag Archipelago

The depth of information that Solzhenitsyn provides about the many immoral and terrorist-like activities of the Soviet government is what makes The Gulag Archipelago so interesting and worth reading.

Solzhenitsyn’s first-person account of what socialism was really like it just the information Americans need to hear. It is what gives credence to the stories and information presented in The Case Against Socialism and Socialism Sucks.

The fact remains that there are no capitalist gulags; socialism leads to gulags, not capitalism. Wilson Churchill was right in his great quote about socialism; it leads only to the equal sharing of misery. That misery is shared by all of the subjects unfortunate enough to live under socialist rulers. The barbarity of those rulers is beyond the pale and something no human should have to put up with.

Unfortunately, as I alluded to in my summary of The Gulag Archipelago, too few Americans today understand that fact. They think that somehow “democratic socialism” is different and the evils that are always the byproducts of socialism won’t happen here. That is a dangerous allusion that shows that socialists ignore the facts, or, in the case of the horrible people described in Fools, Frauds, and Firebrands, just knowingly pretend that those horrific facts aren’t the case.

We Americans need to start fighting back against the socialist idiots. They’re wrong about everything. Painfully and obviously wrong, as The Gulag Archipelago shows. Young conservatives especially need to be willing to stand up to and fight against the socialists on college campuses that have ignored the lessons of history that can be easily found in books such as The Gulag Archipelago and now want to create their version of the socialist hell on Earth here in America. It’s as if they know nothing of what Joseph Stalin did to his own people in those horrifying camps.

And, frankly, perhaps they don’t. Our teachers lie about everything. It’s not as if I learned about the gulag system from a high school teacher or a college professor. Those socialist-sympathizers do their utmost to cover up the crimes of socialist regimes and put the rather limited crimes of right-wing governments on full display. They hide the fact that socialism always fails and killed millions, especially those in the gulag archipelago system, but make sure to repeatedly point out that Bush’s invasion of Iraq killed a few civilians.

That intellectual dishonesty of the left extends to every area of life. From Jesus to Robin Hood, teachers betray their students and lie to them to make socialism look better and capitalism look worse.

So, if we conservatives want to try to avoid ending up in the same type of gulag system as the countless Soviet subjects that were starved, tortured, and worked to death in Stalin’s system, then we need to start fighting back by educating young Americans on what really happened in the 20th century.

Teach your kids, grandkids, or friends about the evil nature of socialist regimes. Read them sections of The Gulag Archipelago so they see where socialism ends; hellish conditions. Teach them about how pretty much every socialist regime has collapsed under the weight of its own evil. Educate them on the facts they need to know about socialism. Otherwise, all will be lost as the next generation forgets the lessons that were learned in the 20th century due to the massive spilling of blood that happened in it.


America is in a battle over its fate right now. Conservatives need to focus on winning it so that we don’t have to experience what the millions killed by socialism in The Gulag Archipelago had to experience.

But winning doesn’t just mean fighting. Sure, debate socialists at every opportunity and make sure to show them to be the idiots that they are. They’re ignoramuses with a complete lack of understanding of history. They just want to feel good about their ideas, not understand the actual nature of the ideology they claim to support. So, defeating them in debates is easy.

But fighting isn’t the only thing we have to do. We also have to educate the younger generations about why socialism is evil. The Gulag Archipelago is, in my opinion, at least, the best educator on what socialism is at its base level. It is a system meant to benefit those at the top, turn entire swathes of society into sociopaths that carry out immoral, evil orders from above, and utterly crush the rest under the weight of slave labor.

All of that is the direct opposite of what the American system is all about. Our Founding Brothers didn’t pledge their lives, fortune, and honor so that we could now throw away the freedom they won while chasing after the evil idea of socialism. Educate others on that fact.

Read The Gulag Archipelago. You won’t be disappointed. It shows exactly why socialism is evil; it leads to tyranny, repression, and the complete disappearance of justice. Remember it in times like now, when socialist politicians like AOC call for lists of their political enemies.

By: Gen Z Conservative