In the First Circle
Why would I choose to review a book of this magnitude? I can only say that names like Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Solzhenitsyn are names that, to me, are synonymous with detail, depth, mind-blowing capturing of a time that was filled with change and upheaval. Those names, in literature, mean excellence; writing skills that the average writer can only dream of.
This book captures the essence of the lives of political prisoners in the Soviet Union as experienced by Solzhenitsyn. The impact of Lenin and Stalin in the growth of communism along with the miasma of political requirements such as special communist classes and educational meetings all in line with the communist perspective were nothing more than the indoctrination of dogma. People like Solzhenitsyn, who questioned the political rhetoric, were imprisoned.
Putting aside the politics of this book, it also captures the day-to-day living of political prisoners, the fears, the consequences, the, often intellectual, integrity that made survival possible. It highlights the potential threat towards family members and friends of a political prisoner.
Finally, it captures how everyone spied on everyone else and how even the closest friend could not be trusted. This book captures an era and a piece of history.