|Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was born in the northern Caucasus Mountains between the Black and Caspian seas. He was raised by his mother after his father died in an hunting accident six months before Aleksandr's birth. Though he had literary aspirations from a young age, Solzhenitsyn studied mathematics at the University of Rostov because it was more economically feasible. As an artillery captain in World War II, Solzhenitsyn saw heavy action and was twice decorated, however in 1945 after the war he was sentenced to 8 years in prison for a using a denigrating term for Stalin in a private letter (he allegedly referred to him as "Old Whiskers). After serving his sentence in two prisons (one for mathematicians and scientists and one for political prisoners) Solzhenitsyn was exiled for life to Kazakhstan. During this time, he managed to write poetry, fiction, and non-fiction in secret, though it was extremely dangerous for him to even show his work to other prisoners. In 1961, during the reign of Nikita Khrushchev and the political "thaw" Solzhenitsyn published his novel ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH. The book, the first account of life in the prison camps, made Solzhenitsyn a literary celebrity both in his homeland and in The West. In 1970 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and in 1974 was exiled from The Soviet Union for treason. His magnum opus, THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO, provided an extensive overview of Soviet prison camp system, and led to his exile from the Soviet Union. He lived first in Switzerland and then in Vermont, where he often spoke out against the vulgarity and moral weakness of the Western world. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1994, Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia. Upon his death in 2008, Mikhail Gorbachev called him "a man with a unique life story whose name will endure throughout the history of Russia."