Many years ago I purchased a used paperback version of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's novel August 1914. I only read it last year, and enjoyed it and decided to continue reading the series, which consists of August 1914, November 1916, March 1917, and April 1917. The books concern the fall of Tsarist Russia and the rise of communism.
August 1914 dealt with the first months of World War I, where Russia military obsolescence was exposed by the Germans, who routed the Russian army in the invasion of East Prussia.
November 1916 begins at the front in Romania, but then moves to the home front where Russia is on the brink of collapse. It is fascinating to see Solzhenitsyn's perspective on a civilization that has turned on itself. Russia has obviously turned from its Christian roots. Evidence of moral decay is rampant, the Tsar ineffective, self-indulgent, and inflexible. His palace has been scandalized by Rasputin and is in constant conflict with democratic movements within his empire.
The people are held hostage by rampant inflation which leads to mass paranoia concerning war profiteers, cost controls, famine, increased bureaucracy leading to terrible corruption and waste. There are food shortages and capital controls. There are rumors of revolution, conspiracy, and espionage.
The book is remarkably relevant to modern America. As I read, I see a society further advanced in decay than our own, but clearly the paths are the same. I read an article about pornography this morning that further demonstrates the societal decay surrounding us. We often lose perspective on our own era. I quoted Ken Myers recently as saying, "we fail to understand the significance of our own situation." He meant this personally, but the principle may also be extended to the general. The mundane things of life are so easily dismissed as insignificant, but the widespread availability of pornography, which may be consumed anonymously is a new development in history. This may appear mundane, but it is a remarkable, and tragic moment in the history of man.
The rise of the homosexual movement is something we've been watching for half a century now. Many of us, including those born after 1970 have been raised into the era of the gay rights movement. This too may seem commonplace, or even a mere nuisance. But this too is a significant moment in history. It is further evidence of the moral confusion and rampant wickedness found in modern society. Ours is a culture that has abandoned God--just as pre-revolutionary Russia. What comes next is not ours to know, but just like Russia in 1916, we deserve whatever we get. Let us pray for mercy, repentance, and faith!
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