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Byline: CHRISTINA WISE
Alexander Solzhenitsyn's life was brutal from the day he was born in 1918. The Russian Revolution raged around him. His father, who'd fought for the czar's army in World War I, had died six months earlier.
Though the first 35 years of his life were comprised largely of war, starvation, poverty and, later, prison, Solzhenitsyn was determined to let the world know the true story of Russian history.
His dogged quest to do so "helped bring down the greatest tyranny the world has seen, besides educating the West as to its full horror," D.M. Thomas wrote in the book "Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century In His Life."
"No other writer of the 20th century has had such an influence on history," Thomas wrote.
Solzhenitsyn's maternal grandfather, Zakhar Scherbak, had been born a peasant farmer. But sharp investments made him a …