Making history

Neal Ascherson

  • The Oak and the Calf by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    Collins Harvill, 568 pp, £8.95, July 1980, ISBN 0 06 014014 3

‘I was beginning to see revealed the higher and hidden meaning of that suffering for which I had been unable to find a justification …’ (1967). ‘It makes me happier, more secure, to think that I do not have to plan and manage everything for myself, that I am only a sword made sharp to strike the unclean forces, an enchanted sword to cleave and disperse them. Grant, O Lord, that I may not break as I strike! Let me not fall from Thy hand!’ (1973).

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