Today would have been the 90th birthday of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I consider him as one of my non-school teachers since his writings opened my eyes to the true evils of communism and the Soviet Union. I read his novella "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" in Junior High School. This was based on the experiences he had after being arrested for "anti-soviet" agitation. In 1945 as a officer in the Russian Army, he wrote a in a personal letter to a friend, a comment considered derogatory to Stalin. For that comment, he was arrested and sentenced to 8 years in prison. After finishing his 8 years, he was given internal exile in Siberia for life. In exile he began work on his massive work, "The Gulag Archipelago" a history of the Russian labor/prisoner camps for criminals and political prisoners.
If you have never read "One Day" you owe it to yourself to get a copy. That way, you can truly understand why Ronald Reagan called the Soviets "A Evil Empire"