In the years since his return to Russia in 1994 and especially since his death in 2008, the literary legacy of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has been an uncertain thing — at least in the English-speaking world. On the one hand, the work which he considered to be his magnum opus, the Red Wheel series of historical works chronicling the history of the Bolshevik revolution, has apparently ground to a halt: only the first two "knots" have been published in an English edition, and it seems unlikely at present that the rest of the work will be so published for the foreseeable future. However, established works such as the Gulag Archipelago, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and The First Circle have continued to draw interest, and even new, improved translations.
The most recent addition to Solzhenitsyn’s English literary legacy is a collection of experimental short stories entitled Apricot Jam and Other Stories. The volume has been met with mixed reviews — an unsurprising development, given the experimental character of the stories in question. Some readers may come to a new collection of stories by a Nobel-Prize-winning author imagining that they knew in advance what they would find, only to discover that even in his later years, that author had not given up his willingness to experiment with new forms.
With the help of 14 writers and seven contributors and researchers, Glenn Beck has burst forth with another book that expresses his unique style: fulminating, ranting, exploding, rollicking, sardonic, eclectic, and intemperate. Beck and friends have written 11 best sellers and seven of them have reached the #1 position on the New York Times best seller list. Cowards will no doubt be number eight.
A new book, Forgotten Conservatives in American History, is dedicated to the task of ensuring such conservatives are forgotten no longer. Its authors — noted historian Clyde N. Wilson and one of his former students, Brion McClanahan — have masterfully gathered brief accounts of nearly two dozen men who made their own significant contributions to the American Republic.
In his most recent book, God Is Not One, Stephen Prothero endeavors to offer his readers an introduction to the various major religions of the world. Of necessity the book’s nine chapters can only offer a brief summary of the teachings and structure of each system of belief. Still, the idea behind Prothero’s book is one that is worthy of being pursued, particularly as an antidote to the shallow approach to religious belief regularly witnessed in the American media and in political discourse. However, the book is flawed — perhaps fatally so — by the author’s apparently weak grasp on the religion practiced by the majority of citizens of his own country.