Author and historian Aleksandr Isayevick Solzhenitsyn, considered by many to be the preeminent Russian writer of the second half of the 20th century, was born on December 11, 1918 in Kislovodsk in the northern Caucusus Mountains. In 1941, he graduated from Rostov University with a degree in physics and math. He also took correspondence courses at Moscow State University. Solzhenitsyn served in the Russian army during World War II but was arrested in 1945 for writing a letter criticizing Stalin. He spent the next decade in prisons and labor camps and, later, exile, before being allowed to return to central Russia, where he taught and wrote. In 1970, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. In 1974, he was arrested for treason and exiled following the publication of The Gulag Archipelago. He moved to Switzerland and later the U. S. where he continued to write fiction and history. When the Soviet Union collapsed, he returned to his homeland. He died due to a heart ailment on August 3, 2008.