Alexander Solzhenitsyn lived the nightmare, not the illusion, of Soviet history and has refused to keep silent. Born the year after the Communist revolution, he served in World War II and was decorated for heroism. His life since then has been a series of reversals. He was condemned to the "Gulag Archipelago" for anti-Soviet activity, exonerated of all charges and permitted to expose prison conditions when it suited Nikita Khrushchev to tarnish Josef Stalin. He was awarded the Nobel Prize -- and formally accused of treason and forcibly expelled from his homeland.
Through all the turns, Mr. Solzhenitsyn kept writing. Since 1976 he has been at work behind the walls of his compound in Cavendish, Vt., insisting that the truth be told and the history remembered, spicing his moral witness to the Soviet Union with grumpy jeremiads about the "decadence" and "materialism" of the United States, his country of refuge.
In the Gorbachev era, Mr. Solzhenitsyn's political fortunes improved. His books are now sold in his homeland, and last year he was offered restoration of his Soviet citizenship. He refused because the treason charge had never been withdrawn. Now that obstacle has been lifted, and Mr. Solzhenitsyn says he will go home. But not yet. First, he must finish the writing he is working on.