The novel deals with the embarrassing total defeat of a Russian army at the hands of a much smaller German force (though admittedly on their home territory) at the battle of Tannenberg in August 1914, for Solzhenitsyn this defeat is both a revelation and a condemnation of the state of Russia, and a harbinger of future bleaknesses to come. Personally I think his vision history is unfair, although crushing defeated, the army was at least capable of offensive action and remained so for several years (admittedly with massive amount of military equipment provided by the allies) and the army had bee in a steady process of reform and improvement for the preceding past century, unfortunately as generally in life doing ones best is very nice but tends not to be good enough, certainly in this case not good enough to overcome the problems of underdevelopment and relative backwardness compared to Imperial Russia's western neighbours.
There's not much to recommend about this book apart from the relative novelty of the subject matter to an English speaking audience. But even as a first world war novel it comes across as unusually heavy handed. On the whole I'd recommend Dr Zhivago or Red Cavalry in preference.
Amazing E-Book, Август Четырнадцатого By Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book Август Четырнадцатого, Essay By Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For? Please Read And Make A Refission For You Bought secondhand and devoured in a single overnight reading. Back in the day when I could do an overnight readmy rock and roll years.
Reread and enjoyed a couple of times since.
An excellent read. August 1914 is a monumental work, part history, part historical fiction, part a detailed account of the battle of Tannenberg (26 August30 August 1914) with fictional elements interwoven, including minibiographies and accounts of key elements and episodes of Russian history in the years leading up to World War I.
In reading the book I sometimes wondered Is this fiction or fact? It's wasn't always possible to decide (at least with my limited knowledge) But eventually I concluded that obviously significant historical episodes, and the biographical information of the main (nonfictional) characters are as accurate as could be desired. The back of the book contains an index of names, so that when a character is mentioned, one can always check this list to see if this was a real living person. In most cases (certainly the minor characters) they are. There's also a useful map back there.
Some of the high points for me:
Chapters 1021 are a masterful depiction of the total ineptitude of the Russian GHQ, and the appalling chaos that resulted as the Russian First and Second Armies attempted to join battle with the German Eighth Army.
Chapter 22 relates the activities of Lenin in the years leading up to the war. And then The War!
A joyful inspiration took place in his dynamic mind … TRANSFORM THIS WAR INTO CIVIL WAR! And this war, this war will bring all the governments of Europe down in ruins!
He stood by the parapet, looking down on the square with his hands raised, as though he had taken his place for a speech but was not quite ready to begin.
Daily, hourly, wherever you may be, protest angrily and uncompromisingly against the war! But … (the dialectic essence of the situation.) But … will it to continue! See that it does not stop short! That it drags on and is transformed! A war like this one must not be fumbled, must not be wasted.
Such a war is a gift from history!
Chapter 25 has a hilarious section, "Russian eccentricities as seen by the Germans".
A couple of the chapters towards the end get immensely long … Chapter 65 (Pyotr Arkadievich Stolypin), over 70 pages; and Chapter 74, which mixes some of the main fictional characters into history, 100 pages. But not boring at all, at least for me.
A book that needs to be read by a fan of Solzhenistsyn, or a reader with an interest in the events in Russia in that fateful first 20 years of the last century.
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Description: A new adaptation for radio of Nobel Prizewinner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's epic story of the first battle of the Eastern Front in 1914which was a disaster for Russia. Solzhenitsyn's book was published in the West one year after he won the prizewith sections about Lenin omitted. It was only after his expulsion from the USSR that the complete book was available. This new production is narrated by Fiona Shaw.
In August 1914, Colonel Vorotyntsev advances into East Prussia in search of the elusive front line. As he encounters the truth about the German warmachine his military ideals rapidly tarnish and he must decide whether to volunteer his men for certain death or retreat. At the outbreak of the First World War, the Russian advance met with catastrophic results. Bungled orders, poor and insufficient supplies, outdated equipment and tactics, and deliberate misinformation resulted in chaos and the nearannihiliation of the army at the hands of the Germans. Three years later the tsarist regime fell as Lenin led the October Revolution.
Your average Russian 'Boris' is still being fed daily doses of misinformation, and hazard to guess that should a war footing be declared, they would fare no better next time around. For that very reason, this book is still relevent today. Current misinformation comes no fouler than out of the mouth of a certain Vladimir Medinsky:
Medinsky is so keen to demonstrate Russia’s superiority to other nations that he has even said that Russia’s perseverance in the face of all twentiethcentury catastrophes, indicates that “our people have an extra chromosome.”.Source
I cannot believe that the Russian population is blanket Down's Syndrome
Take a moment to think about those who have lost their lives so senselessly.
Sasha LenartovichMark EdelHunt
Yaroslav KharitonovWill Howard
5* The First Circle
3* One Day
The Gulag Archipelago 19181956: Left unrated for a reason
3* Cancer Ward
3* August 1914
4* We Never Make Mistakes: Two Short Novels 2.5/5
On a purely literary merit it is a big and tiresome slog. It is designed to be 10 volumes' chronicles devoted to the events which has lead to the Revolution of 1917. So the parts about the fictional characters are alternated by the parts about real historic figures and events. The construction is complex and really awkward. Initially the fictional parts were relatively lively with interesting set of characters and several story lines. But the gaps between dropping a particular line and coming back to it are too big to emphasise with the characters. So i stopped caring about the fictional parts.
The historical chronicle is meticulously detailed and relatively slow moving. His method is to pick a historical event or a figure and drill so dip that it becomes overwhelming after a while. This book is devoted to two main themes: the beginning of the First World War from the perspective of the Russian front; the personality and the achievements of Pietr Stolypin, the Russian Prime Minister and strong leader, who was assassinated in the Kiev Opera in 1911 by a terrorist (at the same time the informer of the police), Merdco Bogrov. Those two historical figures are juxtaposed to each other for obvious reasons. But if Stolypin's life seems to be based on numerous sources, Bogrov's life and his motivation seems to be presented in more fictional wayit is unclear how Solzhenitsyn has compiled it. Solzhenitsyn presents him as a lonely, evil revolutionary who wanted to outsmart everyone (including the Okhrana) and succeeded. While for me, with the hindsight of another century, it seems more likely that he was the hand of the state secret service.
There is a little episode about Lenin travelling to Zurich and this one is more readable. That is the only reason why I would try to read the second instalment of these chronicles.
However, if one even manage to ignore monarchist, nationalist ideology (Russia is unique country in which democracy should be very different from the Western onesounds familiar isn't it?) which is streaming from every page, it is still not very well written book.
I've never read Solzhenitsyn before, so my view is based only upon this book. I've started the second part already (November 1916) and it is going a bit easier sofar. I do not think i plan to finish all 10 volumes. I will finish the second book and then probably dip into the rest. I read in original Russian.
About the warthat the part i was not particularly interested, so I might misinterpreted some details, but the general story is relatively traditionally toldcourageous soldiers, especially from the peasant backgrounds, treacherous, cowardly and incompetent HQ. Lies at the papers. I think the readers who are interested in the detailed description of the war from the Russian point of view and possess the initial knowledge on the subject, might find it more interesting than i did. Ever wanted to smack someone in the face because of their insistent incompetency and blatant disregard for others just because of their own selfinterests? Then you're going to have a lot of sympathy for the Russian soldiers who lost their lives in Russia's opening campaign in World War I.
As always, typical Russian/Solzhenitsyn epic, wide array of characters caught up in something bigger than them with each having different opinions on religion, politics, and society. Not as 'great' as Cancer Ward or In The First Circle, but definitely a text of great value if not for its historical referencing alone.
As others have noted, if you're not a big buff for World War I history, this may not be for you, as this was not written solely for a pretty little story for the reader to be able to fully appreciate without any background knowledge or willingness to look things up while reading the book.
If you're going to check this out, please check out some of the other works Solzhenitsyn has on offer, as his writing style is unique and some may not be so familiar with his ability of wittily critiquing some of the most serious topics, or the almost consistent debating of aforementioned topics throughout a nearly 900 page novel. The book itself is big (not speaking in terms of page numbers), with the text being relatively small, but as usual, the majority of readers will just read the abridged version and be under the delusion that they've read the same book. question whether I read this back in the day when I was reading Solzhenitsyn. This is probably my favorite book of all time. Alexander Solzhenitsyn was brilliant. If you don't like WWI history, this book is not for you, but it was excellent. It was fiction, but centred around the campaign in Tannenburg, Prussia. There wasn't much of a plot other than the campaign, though the characters made up for it, and is the first in a series of four, the last of which has not been translated into English as yet. It was 622 pages, but well worth reading. This is Solzhenitsyn’s counter to Tolstoy’s view of history. Actually, it’s a counter to everything Tolstoy believed. Solzhenitsyn arranges his philosophy of history around a series of “nodes” or “knots” that describe the fall of Russia. Particularly fine is his brutal, yet fair and realistic critique of both liberalism and blind monarchism. How do I know he is being fair? If you can find yourself in the critique and say “Ouch,” then you know he is being fair to all sides.
Both liberals and Russian monarchists today think Solzhenitsyn was a pure Russian nationalist. He might have been in his private life, but that doesn’t come through in his writings. He is very critical of the Tsar and in other writings (e.g., The Russian Question) he thinks every war Russia fought was a bad idea.
And his take on the Jews is more balanced than people on either side realize. He mocks the antiJewish attitude of conservative Russians just before the Revolution. One of the characters had the name Isaaki (named after St Isaac), so the University thought he was Jewish and wouldn’t let him in. He proved he wasn’t Jewish and then realized, “His acceptance rested on his having proved that he did not belong to the nation through which Christ had come into the world” (Solzhenitsyn 20).
Solzhenitsyn is aware of the existential danger that Russia faced, and not just from Satanists like Lenin. Russia had lost two big wars, Crimea and Japan. She could not afford another loss (112). Even worse, Russia had failed to listen to Dostoevsky and form an eternal alliance with Germany. Such would have protected her against the Bolsheviks (and forever doomed the British banking clans). Neither scenario, however, would be realized. Russia was doomed before the war began.
What Russia Should have Done
1) Tell France to go pound sand.
2) Expand the invasion of East Prussia beyond the Maurian lakes. Amputate the whole thing (208).
3) Following Dostoevsky’s instructions, Russia should have formed an “eternal alliance” with Germany (114). Indeed, “peace between Germany and Russia was far preferable to this disastrous alliance with those circus artistes from Paris” (348).
a) German General Hermann von Francois was of Huguenot descent (214).
b) “It was one of those moments in war when time contracts to an explosion, when action must be instantaneous and nothing can be put off” (191).
c) There is a fun scene where an old man finds out that Sanya and Kotya are Tolstoyan and Hegelian, respectively (399401). As someone who used to be a pure Hegelian, I enjoyed this part. It also reveals that a Hegelian affirms the existence of the state. This means a Hegelian can’t be a Marxist. It’s important to make this basic distinction, otherwise conservatives come off as conceptually inept.
The whole section is a wonderful critique of ideology. We shouldn’t impose a government from top down as a way to “fix” society (409). Rather, the people of a country should focus on developing its soul. An example of this is the misguided attempt to “make the world safe for democracy.” That is the essence of Revolution and Bolshevism.
d) One is often struck by the similarities of the Russian “intelligentsia” and the “Woke” Americans of today. Both sneer at the idea of a nation’s history. Indeed, both sneer at the idea of nations. Both are socialistic. Some characters in the book are accused of being part of the “Black Hundreds,” an ultranationalist (and probably xenophobic) paramilitary group in Russia. If someone is a patriot, then he is a Black Hundred by definition. It’s similar to today when anyone who loves America is an evil nationalist and probably a member of the KKK.
That’s another lesson today’s conservatives should learn from Solzhenitsyn. Revolutionary socialists want you dead. You cannot reason with them. You cannot tell them “No, I am not a racist or .” They are only waiting to line you up against the wall.