In the First Circle

In the First Circle

Book - 2009
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Baker & Taylor
The government orders an imprisoned mathematician and his fellow inmates to identify a turncoat, forcing the prisoners to choose between helping the Stalinist regime that jailed them or being sent to death in the Siberian Gulags.

A major literary event 50 years in the making:In the First Circle is the first complete English translation of Nobel Prize–winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s “best novel” (Washington Post). With an introduction by Edward Erickson, this work by the author of The Gulag Archipelago is the story of a brilliant mathematician who finds himself locked in a Moscow prison filled with the country’s brightest minds and must decide whether to aid Stalin’s repressive state.

& Taylor

Moscow, Christmas Eve, 1949. The Soviet secret police intercept a call made to the American embassy by a Russian diplomat who promises to deliver secrets about the nascent Soviet Atomic Bomb program. On that same day, a brilliant mathematician is locked away inside a Moscow prison that houses the country's brightest minds. He and his fellow prisoners are charged with using their abilities to sleuth out the caller's identity, and they must choose whether to aid Joseph Stalin's repressive state -- or refuse and accept transfer to the Siberian Gulag camps and almost certain death. --from publisher description
The government orders an imprisoned mathematician and his fellow genius inmates to figure out a turncoat's identity, forcing the prisoners to choose between helping the Stalinist regime that jailed them or being sent to certain death in the Siberian Gulags, in an edition that restores a significant amount of text originally cut by Soviet censors. Original. 50,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2009
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780061479014
Branch Call Number: FICTION SOLZH...A
Additional Contributors: Willetts, H. T.
Alternative Title: First circle
Notes: First uncensored edition


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Mar 12, 2016

In this novel Solzhenitsyn continues his investigation into what he called “the timeless essence of humanity” as well as the “fixed universal concepts called good and justice.” He examines the moral order of the Soviet system and the individuals within it, from Stalin down to a prison janitor. What does it take to defy the evil of such a regime, and what is the cost? What are the failings of the West in understanding the malevolence that lies behind the Soviet mask? While a historical novel, Solzhenitsyn’s quest transcends the time and the setting, looking at basic human questions such as the potential conflict between being a good person and a good citizen. Fortunately we have the uncensored version of the novel available now, which investigates in more detail the transformation within Volodin, leading to the opening phone call and the action of the book.

Nov 25, 2010

Lots of awesome characters through whom you get a good picture of the time and the victims of the late Stalin era. No central character.


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