From Chris Floyd.com:
.....""""Again, one needn't agree with Solzhenitsyn's politics to admire him as a man and artist – as one does with, say, the even more problematical Dostoevsky – and to mourn his passing. Politics was forced upon him by historical circumstances, and were in some ways his ultimate undoing, killing off the artist in him. Certainly, after becoming a lightning rod of dissidence and then the exiled figure of conscience, he never wrote anything that even approached the level of his masterpieces of the 1960s, particularly the two great novels, The First Circle and Cancer Ward. But Solzhenitsyn was, for a time, a supreme literary artist, and in those two works particularly he fused his moral and political vision with the abiding wisdom and insight into our common human predicament that only great art can provide. It is for this that I will most warmly remember him."""""
Though he's now mostly out of favor with the hip gauchistes, Solzhenitsyn experienced the horrors of a modern police state first-hand: Solz. was all about authenticity, in the older parlance. In "One day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich" Solz. described the miseries of life in a siberian prison in precise, non-sentimental language (at least in translation). Floyd's pairing of Dostoyevsky and Solz. thus hits fairly close to the mark. Dostoyevsky.,like Solz. also had a few nasty run-ins with author-i-tays of the time. American scribes, however witty, simply do not produce a "Crime and Punishment" or "One day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich."
The eulogists have not addressed Solzhenitsyn's conservative political views, or his somewhat hawkish views on 'Nam in much depth. That he associated with WF Buckley might trouble some (AS's supposed anti-religious views probably irk the Coulter sort of jackbooted xtian). No matter. "Ivan Den." should be required reading for all: especially those (i.e., most Counterpunch writers) who remain convinced that Marxist revolution will magically transform corrupt western democracies into supremely efficient workers' utopias. An officer and engineer in the Red Army, Solz.'s writings on Zhukov's bloody march to Berlin circa 1945 also rather important (and cost him some years inside Stalinist pens).