It has been twenty-five years since the exiled Soviet dissident and Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn delivered his famous address at Harvard University. Too radically opposed to the ideology of progress, and too critical of the West's culture of materialism, Solzhenitsyn failed to win many admirers among his American audience. Harvard expected paeans to freedom and tolerance, but what it received (or so it thought) was sheer pessimism and ingratitude.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has never been one to shade the truth to ease its public consumption. And so, having returned to his homeland in 1994, Solzhenitsyn has largely slipped from public consciousness, exiled from the realm of intellectual respectability by his liberal critics, who typically characterize his thought as "medieval," "theocratic," or "authoritarian."
Russia in Collapse, first published in Russia in 1998, is the first book of nonfiction by Solzhenitsyn to appear in English since 1995. It contains his latest and most considered thought on the state of Russian politics, history, society, and culture. But it also includes his reflections on more general topics like law, democracy, patriotism, local self-government, and authority. The book ends with a new afterword by Solzhenitsyn written specifically for this edition. To those with ears to hear, Russia in Collapse confirms that Solzhenitsyn is no pessimist, and certainly no theocrat, but rather a hopeful realist in full engagement with his times....Continua