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SUNDAY READING

A Painless Gantlet : In the Soviet Union, Solzhenitsyn Overcame Imprisonment, Harassment and Censorship. Here, the Obstacle Is Public Indifference

April 06, 1986

The other day, we visited one of New York's most distinguished bookstores in search of "The Gulag Archipelago," by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Failing to find it in the hardcover division, under either "World History" or "Current Events," we proceeded--passing shelves with such designations as "Occult," "Self-Help," and "Computer," all groaning with volumes--to the paperback department and asked a salesman there if he could find the book.

He looked blank. "What's it about?" he asked.

"It's about the concentration-camp system in the Soviet Union," we answered.

He paused for a moment, then said, "You might try fiction."

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