Mahoney reintroduces Solzhenitsyn as a political thinker who deserves to be included in the ranks of Raymond Aron, Jacques Maritain, Martin Buber, and John Dewey, among others. Trying to free Solzhenitsyn from the reactionary and antediluvian reputation he has in the West, Mahoney highlights his deeper commitment to government under the rule of law and the right of "every private citizen" to "independence and space." At Solzhenitsyn's core, says the author, is the desire to rescue humankind's spiritual being, drawing it away from the cult of "well-being" and the humanity-reducing effect of "modern technical and social progress." Above all, he would vanquish ideology, that most pernicious product of the Enlightenment, with its arrogant and limitless inhumanity justified in the name of "Historical Necessity." Solzhenitsyn (and Mahoney, one suspects) would put at the center of this new order not so much the "destiny, fate, and progress" of the individual but the "individual soul."
Get the latest book reviews delivered to your inbox.
More Reviews on Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Republics From This Issue