It's probably the most important book written in (at the very least) that century.
Especially given Philip discovering his father was a Gulag guard, and with all the issues he had trying to deal with his memories, it's simply bizarre to me that Philip would not have read it, it not when it came out, then certainly by the time his memories began to haunt him. (He would have also written to his brother, but ...)
Oddly, Philip would have found both horror and a sort of peace reading the books, since "blame" wasn't the focus, or rather, the focus wasn't blaming Stalin or the Guards, but society and individuals who allowed all of it to play out, were sucked in because of systemic other issues. (I'm not saying this well, and couldn't possibly, it took him about 1700 pages.)
Ditto on down the list of our characters, and whether or not they would have read it (not on the show necessarily, but beyond the scripts speculation.) For example, I really do think Gabriel would have read it, since he played an integral part in the horror. I think it would have helped him in some ways, but of course, been incredibly painful in others.
Yes, they ignored quite a bit about "The Great War" and idolized Stalin who basically won by not caring how many of his citizens died, of starvation, or of being cannon fodder. Then he shipped any soldiers who were captured or even spent time in western countries off to the Gulags to die.
I thought the perspective of that KGB defector was very interesting about "the Great War." It was the exact opposite of Claudia's glowing fantasies. I feel he was much more realistic about that than what they show decided to focus on.
Oh, and so evident of the time! I enjoyed him as well, his escape, and listening to his take on The Great War, and the dismissal of the West in many cases, as well as his warnings about that. He was so pompous, but at the same time, fascinating to listen to, especially as he was spying at the same time as our show, and just as KGB as Liz and Phil, or Claudia and Gabe.
Sigh. Which is why her entire story falls apart for me.
I wish they had never gone down that Paige as KGB spy trail, or at least, they had planned it better. Nah. I wish it didn't exist. This show was SO good, except for that. When I think of it, all of my problems with the show come back to Paige being given such a central role, with all of the stories hinging on her.
I don't know why I still care so much. The only thing I can think of is that I really loved so much of this show, and I know it could have been one of the great shows of all time, but the mistakes made that prevented that all come back to Paige being a spy.
I can see the KGB wanting that though, and the same for Henry (another issue I have, they would have definitely been full court press on Henry as well.) I think it would have been so much more interesting to have THAT as a primary issue in the Jennings marriage, to watch Philip and Elizabeth struggle with that, and in the end, both reject that, or split because of it, or anything other than actually start spy training for Paige (and skipping a year at that!)
They could have gone so many ways with this story, but they chose (IMO) the worst possible path, and it all fell apart for me.