This is the first historical survey of the Gulag based on newly
accessible archival sources as well as memoirs and other studies
published since the beginning of glasnost.
Over the course of several decades, the Soviet labor camp system
drew into its orbit tens of millions of people -- political
prisoners and their families, common criminals, prisoners of war,
internal exiles, local officials, and prison camp personnel. This
study sheds new light on the operation of the camp system, both
internally and as an integral part of a totalitarian regime that
"institutionalized violence as a universal means of attaining its
goals". In Galina Ivanova's unflinching account -- all the more
powerful for its austerity -- the Gulag is the ultimate
manifestation of a more pervasive and lasting distortion of the
values of legality, labor, and life that burdens Russia to the
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