A Dual Estrangement by James A. Altena

Book Review

A Dual Estrangement

Between Two Millstones: Sketches of Exile, 1974–1978
by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Notre Dame Press, 2018
(470 pages, $35.00, hardcover)

reviewed by James A. Altena

Between Two Millstones is Part I of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's memoirs of his years of American exile. (Parts II–IV are to follow shortly in a second volume.) It thus forms a sequel to the author's previous memoirs of his final years in the Soviet Union (The Oak and the Calf and Invisible Allies). The title (drawn from a passage on page 264) captures the overarching theme of the book: Solzhenitsyn's struggle to avoid being ground down between the soulless totalitarian regime of the USSR, from which he had just been forcibly deported, and the unexpectedly secular, materialist West into which he found himself cast, spiritually dead in its own quite different way.

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James A. Altena is the associate editor of Fanfare magazine, a comprehensive bimonthly periodical for reviews of classical music recordings. He is a member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in church history at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

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