''The Gulag Archipelago'' is a novel by Creator/AleksandrSolzhenitsyn.

An account of life in TheGulag, required reading in Russian high schools as of 2009. Multiple editions exist, most of which have been abridged because of the sheer length. This book tells the story of the Gulag from Solzhenitsyn's perspective as a former inmate, in stark contrast to the Soviet Union's account of the Gulag once it was shut down upon Stalin's death. Solzhenitsyn considered their account to have been written with rose-coloured goggles. ''Literature/TheFirstCircle'' can be considered the more fictionally-inclined sequel.

!!This book contains the following tropes:

* TheApocalypseBringsOutTheBestInPeople: There is a chapter called ''The Ascent'' that explores how people could actually become ''better'' while living in the slavery and poverty of the work camp.
* BadBoss: Too many Gulag camp managers to count. In many cases they were responsible to no one and had total control over the ''zek''s' lives, with predictable results.
* BenevolentBoss: ...But there were a few managers and guards who kept their human decency.
* BigBrotherIsWatching: Everywhere. And that means ''everywhere''. One common tactic of the authorities was to plant a so-called "stool pigeon" in the cells to spy on the prisoners. Solzhenitsyn alludes to numerous cases of inmates being slapped with ''another'' prison sentence for having been loose-tongued in the presence of a spy.
* ColdBloodedTorture: Some sections read like a manual on how to become a TortureTechnician or BigBrother. You'll never look at [[NoodleImplements office chairs or baggy pants]] the same way again.
* DeadlyEuphemism: Chapter title "History Of Our Sewage Disposal System."
* DeadpanSnarker: The narration of the arbitrariness of the regime is full of dry humour and sometimes the absurdism borders on black comedy.
* {{Dedication}}: The book is dedicated "to all those who did not live to tell it."
* {{Doorstopper}}: It is a very large book, normally published in three heavy volumes.
* HistoricalHeroUpgrade: By the regime of itself, its' predecessors, and ironically many of the people they threw behind bars who were safely dead. On the author's part, Solzhenitsyn's high opinion of TsaristRussia is... [[CriticalResearchFailure dubious.]]
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Nobody was completely safe from purges, even those who had orchestrated previous purges from the highest echelons of Soviet society e.g. the 1938 show trial of Yagoda (former head of the [[SecretPolice NKVD]], who had supervised the Moscow Show Trials of 1936 and '37), Bukharin, Rykov, and other high-ranking officials.
* [[HolierThanThou More Communist Than Thou]]: Many of the Communist prisoners being purged still think themselves loyal to Stalin's regime, convinced that it was all a mistake that they were arrested, whereas everybody around them are of course scum and deserve every moment of their sentence. Solzhenitsyn distinguishes between them and the true socialists who carried their beliefs in their hearts and not on their sleeves--and were arrested because of it.
* TheInformant: ''Stoolies'', as they were called, were universally despised by prisoners and the security services alike. In many cases they didn't have a choice when they were recruited; Solzhenitsyn himself was forced to become an informant. He considered himself very fortunate to have been transferred out to a ''sharashka'' before internal security could really pressure him into snitching on overheard conversations.
* InsaneTrollLogic: Article 58 of the Soviet Penal Law, which was so broadly written that it could easily cover any sort of unapproved behavior.
* InterrogatedForNothing: Frequently followed by a Tenner For Nothing.
* AMillionIsAStatistic: The author laments that the numbers he's dealing with are simply too immense to leave an emotional impact. To give you some perspective, Solzhenitsyn's estimates of the total death toll under Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev combined have ''margins of error'' numbering in the tens of millions.
* MoralMyopia: Stalin's regime never misses a chance to rant about the (admittedly dreadful) purges of the Tsars, even with the even more massive purges conducted by them themselves.
* NeverSpeakIllOfTheDead: One of the objections to the original publication of the book was that Solzhenitsyn was disgracing the memory of the dead. He was even accused of pointlessly [[InsaneTrollLogic opening the old wounds of the camp survivors]], by former camp guards, no less.
* NoHonorAmongThieves: The "58s", as the political prisoners are called, have to share their camps with the "socially friendly" elements, the thieves and career criminals, and Solzhenitsyn makes it very clear that the romanticization of the thieves has no basis at all in reality, particularly as the thieves could be trusted by the camp administration to keep the 58s under strict control.
** Averted during the Kengir Revolt, much to everyone's surprise.
* PlaceWorseThanDeath: The eponymous Gulags.
* RussianGuySuffersMost: Hell yes, they all do. Also the Ukrainian guy, Belarusian guy, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian guys...
* TakeThat: Mostly sarcastic parenthetical asides and footnotes to Soviet officials and policies, but some of those are aimed at Western persons (at least three to Bertrand Russell, for instance) sympathetic with the Soviet Union.
* ThisIsAWorkOfFiction: Inverted. The book has a disclaimer at the beginning, saying that while many names have been changed, everything in it really happened exactly like it's described.