In This Review

Solzhenitsyn: A Biography
Solzhenitsyn: A Biography
By Michael Scammel
Norton, 1984, 1051 pp

In size this is surely a full-scale biography, but the author calls it "little more than a biographical chronicle," a "portrait from the outside." He uses all the published material he could lay hands on, plus interviews, including some with Solzhenitsyn himself (who cut them off in midstream). It is not an authorized biography but a sympathetic one. It does not attempt a detailed critique of the literary works. But it is an immensely informative and serious effort to portray the man Solzhenitsyn in the context of the Soviet system and of Russian culture.