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About the book
  • Published: 7 August 2014
  • ISBN: 9781448191376
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 832

August 1914

An epic war story from Solzhenitsyn - the great 20th century Russian writer who served eight years in the labour camps for his work

‘One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world’ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

In the first month of the First World War the Russian campaign against the Germans creaks into gear. Crippled by weak, indecisive leadership the Russian troops battle desperately, even as the inevitability of failure and their own sacrifice dawns. Solzhenitsyn’s astounding work of historical fiction is a portrait of pre-revolutionary Russia, a tragic war story, and an epic novel in the great Russian tradition.

  • Pub date: 7 August 2014
  • ISBN: 9781448191376
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 832

About the Author

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was born at Kislovodsk in 1918. After graduating at Rostov University in mathematics—he took a correspondence course in literature simultaneously—he was called up for the army. He served continuously at the front as a gunner and artillery officer, was twice decorated, commanded his battery, and reached the rank of captain. In early 1945 he was arrested in an East Prussian village and charged with making derogatory remarks about Stalin. For the next eight years he was in labor camps, at first in 'general' camps along with common criminals in the Arctic and later in Beria's 'special' camps for long-term prisoners. The particular camp described in his book One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich was in the region of Karaganda in northern Kazakhstan. Released in 1953, on Stalin's death, Solzhenitsyn had to remain in exile for three years although his wife was allowed to join him, before returning to Russia. He settled near Ryazan and taught in a secondary school. In 1961 he submitted his novel, One Day ..., to Aleksandr Tvardovsky, the poet and editor of Novy Mir (New World), a literary journal; it was published, on the final decision of Khrushchev himself, in the November 1962 edition of Novy Mir, which sold out immediately.

Three further stories by him were published during 1963 and a fourth in 1966. In 1968 Solzhenitsyn came under attack from the Russian Literary Gazette, which alleged that since 1967 his aim in life had been to oppose the basic principles of Soviet literature, and accused him of being content with the role given him by ideological enemies of Russia. He was expelled from the Soviet Writers' Union in 1969 and in 1974, after the publication in Europe of his book The Gulag Archipelago, he was arrested by the authorities and deported. August 1914, Cancer Ward, The Love-girl and the Innocent (a play), Matryona's House and Other Stories, Candle in the Wind (a play) and Lenin in Zurich are all published by Penguin. The Red Wheel series—of which August 1914 is the initial volume—is his most recent work. In 1970 Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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Praise for August 1914

“One of the greatest and most influential writers of the 20th century”

Washington Post

“It is written in anger yet with understanding, in scorn yet with compassion. Its characters are universal and timeless. A great book. Read it for an understanding of the human condition in time of war and defeat”

James Callaghan, Guardian

“There is a magnificence about it; not in the writing…but in the determination to make the reader understand that here was a nation careening into a century more tragic for it than any has been for any nation ever”

Scotland on Sunday

“Solzhenitsyn's life…spanned all the decades of Soviet history, and his moral authority is unique among his generation”


“The great dissident's massive historical novel”


“Alexander Solzhenitsyn was one of those exceptional figures who had a message, a story to tell. Domineering and self-righteous, he was none the less a remarkable human being: a visionary, a crusader in the simplest sense, who was steered in his writing, as in his actions, by a deep sense of justice”

Daily Telegraph

“It has been compared, at least in its sweep and intentions, with Tolstoy's War and Peace”

New York Times

“Solzhenitsyn will be remembered in the short-term as the bard of the Gulag, a fearless tribune who exercised a crucial liberating influence at a decisive moment in Soviet history, but in the context of the ages, his works will be read so long as readers thirst for the truth about life on this planet”


“At his best, his writing stands comparison with Dostoevsky, and even when it does not…it has a purpose and ethical force that come from deep within him, honed in the gulags during long years staring at man's inhumanity to man straight in the face”


“Not only a great writer but also one who was passionately committed, believing it to be his moral duty, in the face of systematic totalitarian obfuscation, to record Russia's 20th-century experience for posterity”

Daily Telegraph

“As deeply opposed to rampant, materialistic capitalism as he was to totalitarian, atheistic communism, Alexander Solzhenitsyn will never be forgotten by historians, writer, readers, or ethicists”

The Age

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