Press excerpts

  • JPEG - 18.3 kb Qu’elle était belle cette utopie !“Rossi’s book is clearly a remarkable feat of scholarship and presentation. The entries manage to be simultaneously succinct, lively and scholarly (…) Rossi’s intuitive and brilliant judgment as to what ‘mix of linguists, social, legal, historical and political material’ will be of most interest under each heading (…).Jacques Rossi’s work should be recognized at once for the goldmine that it is.” Peter Reddaway, London, 1984
  • “Mr. Rossi has systematically covered GULAG in all its range, in all its aspects. This is an important contribution to the understanding of a major modern phenomenon, and so of the world we live in.” Robert Conquest, Preface to The Gulag Handbook, 1986
  • “A linguistic guide to an entire subculture of prison camp existence in Soviet Russia.” Robert C. Tucker, 1986
  • “(…) These men have crossed the Achero many times. They are beyond our judgment. (…)Among the already abundant literature on the Gulag, the work of Jacques Rossi is original. Out of the limelight, he methodically led his investigation. For those who will have thoroughly studied it, this book will have an effect of terror, of horror, as strong as the best written story and will lead the imagination as far as it can go, that is , still far from the ‘last circle’ where Jacques Rossi lived for so long.” Alain Besançon, Preface to Spravochnik po Gulagu, Russian version of The Gulag Handbook, 1987
  • “A highly original work… Indispensable to all students of Soviet affairs who believe that discovering the truth is the most pressing task of Soviet historians, philosophers, and social scientists alike.” Alexander Nekrich, Harvard University, Russian Language Quarterly, 1987
  • JPEG - 59.5 kb Com’era bella questa utopia“The entire story about the Soviet system laid before the reader’s eyes through the description of the labor camp environment. A story unveiled with scientific rigour, laced with facts...Who wouldn’t find this book disconcerting?” David Tsifrinovitch, 22, 1987 -* “A veritable encyclopedia…The two aspects together produce an image of one of the darkest phenomena of this age, an image no less vivid than the works of some of the great Russian writers… A fascinating, almost haunting book, difficult to close, impossible to forget.” F.J.M. Feldbrugge, Review of Socialist Law, The Netherlands, 1988
  • “Rossi’s exacting labours were not in vain. Linguists, literary specialists, and historians are very much in his debt.” John B. Dunlop, Hoover Institution, 1989
  • “A book worth publishing in the USSR… useful to any historian, lawyer, sociologist, translator, and all those who keep pondering the past in order to understand how it could happen to us and what must be done in order not to step into the abyss once again.” Vladimir Shevelev, 1989
  • “This is a heart-breaking work, but also a memorial to those who perished in Stalin’s frozen Tartarus. Moreover it serves as a valuable work of reference… in what amounts to a treasury of linguistic, political, sociological and psychological information.” V. Tismeanu, Orbis,1990
  • “Jacques Rossi has produced a classic study of epic proportions, in which the reader is presented with a unique view of the Gulag. It is a view which is at the same time frightening and fascinating – and truly unforgettable.” Stephen Marder, New Zealand Slavic Journal, 1989-1990
  • “Rossi’s book has only few parallels with other works... In essence it is unique. It offers a historian, a philologist, and a lawyer a wealth of information.” Wolfgang Kasack, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 1990
  • “Well-known Gulag investigator”, in Zvenia, Moscow, 1991
  • “Rossi’s excellent work is an indispensable reference book for any student of Soviet affairs.” M.K. Dziewanowski, Polish Review, 1991
  • JPEG - 60.4 kb Version Japonaise“We wish to pay tribute to Jacques Rossi’s precious book, The Gulag Handbook, which goes beyond the mere explanation of specific terms to show how the Gulag phenomenon crept into the language and the mentality of the whole Soviet society.” Anatoly Zlobine, Déboulonnage, Paris, 1992
  • “Another book, Jacques Rossi’s (…) of a great erudition” Pierre Rigoulot, Les Paupières Lourdes. Les Français face au Goulag, Editions Universitaires, Paris, 1992
  • “Roland Barthes proclaimed ‘the death of the author’ in literature. Under Jacques Rossi’s pen, the author brings back to life a genre typically anonymous: that of a dictionary as if, at the window of a prison cell with a louver, a human face would appear.” S. Lominadzé, Literaturnaja gazeta, Moscow, 7 October 1992
  • “With the precision of a surgeon Rossi in this encyclopedia dismembers the anatomy of the labor camp world of the Soviet system, and reveals the true entrails of the Empire.” Lubomir Martinek and Marie-Noëlle Petrapavlovsky, Respekt, Prague, 3-9 February 1992
  • “One of the principle virtues of Jacques Rossi’s books is that they are read with passion. This is no doubt because behind the austere language and his scientific approach, is hidden the testimony that demonstrates that the Gulag is the epitome of the political system that it generated.” Kirill Podrabinek, Volya 2-3, 1994
  • “Both The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Soljhenitsyn and The Gulag Handbook by Jacques Rossi (London, 1987 ; Moscow, 1991) will undoubtedly remain some of the most valuable sources of reference regarding Gulag’s philosophy and subculture.” A. Roguinski, System of USSR Labor Camps 1923-1960, Moscow, 1998
  • “Dahl’s Dictionary quotes about ten synonyms of ‘prison’… Rossi gives 54 official names and 41 slang ones (…) What a shame there are so few studies on prisons and Russian camps as serious as Jacques Rossi’s. Will we always have to turn to French linguists?.” Grigori Pas’ko, Znamia , October 1999
  • “Jacques Rossi has written that the main trait of the Soviet penitentiary regime is its systematic intensification, gradual introduction of unadulterated, arbitrary sadism into the status of the law.” Ann Applebaum, Goulag: A History, Doubleday, 2003
  • JPEG - 42.3 kb Fragments de vies “(…) this real encyclopedia of 3,000 entries reminds us of the work undertaken by Beaudoin de Courtenay, and which can be compared to Soljhenitsyn’s work. (…) In his other book, Qu’elle était belle cette utopie ! Jacques Rossi demonstrates his mastery in elipses. The cunning yet nevertheless very evocative style permeates these short anecdotes.” Aleksandra J. Leiwand, Matériaux pour l’Histoire de notre temps, N° 73, January-March 2004
  • “Kidnapping, exploiting, torturing, yielding, killing: these are the objectives set by the Gulag, carried out scrupulously and methodically, almost compulsively. In the stories told by Rossi all the absurdity of a system based on lies and betrayal permeates the stories recounted by Rossi!” Massimiliano Porzia, L’Osservatore Romano, 23/02/04
  • “So that the Goulag becomes for him like a sociological laboratory that shows him the real face of the regime and makes him realize all the deviations of a theory that became a historic reality. Rossi doesn’t write his chronicles nor his Gulag handbook to free his conscience, but to accomplish an act of resistance against a totalitarian regime and an ideology that would risk to be pardoned by most of the democracies and the European intellectuals.” Frediano Sessi, introduction to the Italian version of Com’era bella questa utopia, 2003
  • “A series of portraits of inmates described in a most pungent, dry, ironic style, just like the skeleton-like prisoners he belonged to and whom he observed around him.” Lorenzo de Carli, Azione, 05/11/2003