Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn's ("A.S.") August 1914: The Red Wheel paints a marvelous portrait of Russia at the crossroads of the 20th century. By way of background, I read David Remnick's Resurrection about Russia's post -USSR struggles. Remnick writes a beautiful chapter on A.S., his life, his exile, Western Europe and the U.S. intelligentsia's dismissive treatment of him, and his return to Russia. Reminick's extraordinary discourse on A.S. is the perfect prelude to this work because it allows the reader to view the work with a greater respect for the man and his vision. The work itself is compelling in its own right. Some have suggested that it would be helpful to have some background knowledge of the events leading up to W.W. I, the revolutionary ferment enveloping Russia between 1901 and 1917, and the "players' involved in that process. Fair enough comment, but not essential. The reader should not be scared off from this work merely because he/she does not consider themselves particularly knwoledgeable aout Russia. A.S.'s descriptions of the Battle of Tannenburg, the life and times of Stolypin and Bogrov, his assassin ,make for both beautiful writing and a deeper understanding of the events the made the October revolution a foregone conclusion. Finally, A.S.'s focus on the disastrous Battle of Tannenburg sheds great light on a critical battle that has not been more than cursorily examined by eminent historians such as Maritin Gilbert or even Winston Curchill in his classic World Crisis. My sole disappontment was with A.S.'s use of what may be called the 'camera-eye' or multi-media type inserts. It seemed stale compared to its breathtaking freshness when used by Dos Pasos in his U.S.A.. trilogy. It also seemed to detract from the beauty and flow of the writing itself. (Looking back, Dos Pasos didn't suffer from the distraction.) The reader with any interest in Russia, world history, military history, or just plain good literature should seriously consider reading this work.