As I stated recently I have begun to read The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I had to do a bit of sleuthing to be able to do so. I figured since it is a very famous work, it would be available at every library. I began to get frustrated when I could not find it anywhere. There is a tool that will search all of the 27 libraries in the area even if you do not have a card. It came up empty. I had given up and was starting to work up to a purchase when I tried one more thing.
Instead of typing the author’s full name or the complete title I just typed in “Gulag”. Almost instantly is showed up, all three volumes. Amazing. Being a trouble maker I copied the name as it appeared on the page of the library website and pasted it in the search box: Nada. I went to the library, pulled volume one off the shelf and went to the help desk. “According to your computer you do not have this book.” The librarian did all that I had done and had the same results. She had some excuse. I will check in a few weeks and see if the database has been repaired. What is more likely is that they will discard the books.
This is just one of the types of things that “coincidently” seem to happen in our modern culture. I remember going to Barnes and Noble looking for a best selling book by a conservative author. I could not find it so I asked. The clerk checked the computer and told me that none of the stores in the area had a copy but they had them in their central warehouse and I could get it an about a week. Don’t you love liberals?
As I began reading The Gulag Archipelago I quickly started seeing why they would want to make this book hard to find. Check out this from a footnote on page 13,
“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the down stairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... Or what about the Black Maria siting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur - what if it had been driven off or its tires spiked? The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!”This is not the kind of talk that Big Brother would want to get around. No wonder the book is hard to find.
Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr I. Translated by Thomas P. Whitney. The Gulag Archipelago. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1973.
homo unius libri