He was a man of massive courage and literary ability -- a central character of the twentieth century. He was a moralist to the core, affirming human dignity against Communist oppression and Stalin's murder of millions. Even so, he carried on an affair with the woman who became his second wife and the mother of his sons. He seemed ungrateful to America, but he also saw what many Americans, blinded by historical optimism, could not or would not see in the weakness of the West.Read the whole thing.
He returned to Russia a prophet, but also a man who seemed strangely out of his times. In his case, a great life of the twentieth century lingered awkwardly into the twenty-first. Nevertheless, his great courage and his literary achievement remain a tribute to the human spirit. Even more, Solzhenitsyn's moral vision serves as a reminder that Christianity alone provides an adequate grounding for human dignity.
When asked once about the force of his writings, Solzhenitsyn explained: "The secret is that when you've been pitched head first into hell you just write about it." The world was changed because he did just that.