Title: The Gulag Archipelago.
Publisher: Collins & Harvill Press
Publication Date: 1974-8
Book Condition: Very Good
Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good
Edition: 1st EditionFIRST UK EDITIONS. Complete set of three hardback, jacketed volumes: vol. 1 - part I & II (1974): 660 pages; vol. 2 - part III & IV (1975): 712 pages; vol. 3 - part V - VII (1978) : 558 pages. Age tonong and foxing in volume 2. 22 x 14 cm. Original green, black and blue cloth bindings, complete with red, yellow and blue original, unclipped dust-jackets (slightly faded and a little torn at head of volume 3). Slight shelf wear and a few slight tears to edges. In late September 1973, Solzhenitsyn told Stig Fredrikson (his secret go-between to the West) the KGB had seized a copy of the manuscript of The Gulag Archipelago . He had written it in secret and made sure copies of the manuscript were being translated into English, French and German. He had also hidden three copies of the manuscript with key friends in the Soviet Union. Elizaveta Voronyanskaya, one of Solzhenitsyn's trusted typists in Leningrad, had one buried in the ground, but the KGB found out & interrogated her until she confessed where she had hidden it. Voronyanskaya was then released but within days hanged herself, feeling she had betrayed Solzhenitsyn's confidence in her. In light of this tragedy, Solzhenitsyn feared the KGB would use the manuscript to discredit him & decided to act before them by speeding up the translations and publication of the first volume of The Gulag Archipelago in the West as soon as possible. The original press release, a small typewritten statement, revealed the existence of the till then unknown book, "a documentary study in several volumes about the Soviet prison camps in the years 1918-1956, based on evidence from more than 200 people who on different occasions spent time in the camps". What was most damaging was the proof that the labour camps were an executive decision by Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union, and not a crime perpetrated by Stalin. Novelist Doris Lessing said that the book "brought down an empire" while the American diplomat George F. Kennan, said that the book was "the most powerful single indictment of a political regime ever to be levied in modern times". Seller Inventory # 5086