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War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace (original 1868; edition 1949)

by Leo Tolstoy

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18,23229494 (4.27)25 / 2034
Title:War and Peace
Authors:Leo Tolstoy
Info:International Collector's Library 1949 Hardcover, 741p.
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:Main, Fiction

Work details

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1868)

  1. 120
    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (chrisharpe)
  2. 80
    Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman (chrisharpe, longway)
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    Eustrabirbeonne: Well, Henri Troyat is no Tolstoy of course, and he did not pretend he was : he described himself as a mere "storyteller". Yet some of his fiction is real good, and this "cycle" is certainly his best. And of course, Russian-born Lev Aslanovich Tarasov had in mind the never-written sequel to "War and Peace" about the Decembrist uprising, which Tolstoy initiates in the final chapters of "War and Peace" with his hints at Pierre's active participation in a "society". Would Natasha, already a mother of four in 1820, have left her children behind to follow Pierre in Siberia, as other convicts' wives did?… (more)
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Topics messagesLast message 
2016 Category Challenge : Group Read: War and Peace 189 unread / 189mathgirl40, April 3
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Intro thread (no spoilers) 42 unread / 42jnwelch, December 2015
Fans of Russian authors : New edition of War and Peace? 3 unread / 3DanMat, July 2012
History at 30,000 feet: The Big Picture : WWII, from the inside 10 unread / 10cbellia, February 2012
Fans of Russian authors : Who Translated the 1911 Everyman's Library War and Peace? 6 unread / 6DanMat, September 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Vol 3, Part III 10 unread / 10Rebeki, July 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Vol 3, Part II 10 unread / 10Rebeki, July 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Vol 2, Part V 12 unread / 12Rebeki, July 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Vol 2, Part IV 7 unread / 7Rebeki, July 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Epilogue II 9 unread / 9cushlareads, June 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Vol 1, Part 3 spoiler thread 13 unread / 13Rebeki, June 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Epilogue I 8 unread / 8JanetinLondon, June 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Vol 4, Part IV 7 unread / 7JanetinLondon, June 2011
Book talk : War And Peace 8 unread / 8Sandydog1, May 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Vol 1, Part 2 spoiler thread 13 unread / 13Deern, May 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - "Wrap Up" (spoiler) Thread 6 unread / 6JanetinLondon, May 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Vol 4, Part III 3 unread / 3JanetinLondon, May 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Vol 4, Part II 6 unread / 6JanetinLondon, May 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Vol 1, Part 1 spoiler thread 16 unread / 16JanetinLondon, May 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Vol 4, Part I 7 unread / 7JanetinLondon, May 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Vol 3, Part I 8 unread / 8cushlareads, May 2011
75 Books Challenge for 2011 : War and Peace Group Read 2011 - Vol 2, Part III 5 unread / 5Deern, March 2011
Fans of Russian authors : War and Peace 4 unread / 4erinn, April 2009
Fans of Russian authors : Tolstoy's War and Peace: more on the Volokhonsky/Pevear translation 1 unread / 1chrisharpe, May 2008
Fans of Russian authors : Tolstoy's War and Peace: comments on the Volokhonsky,/Pevear translation by Simon Schama, BBC R3 1 unread / 1chrisharpe, November 2007
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Showing 1-5 of 272 (next | show all)
Too long, too much philosophizing. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
It's hard to know what to say about this book. It really is all of life in one book. It's a great family saga, a direct look at the horror and chaos of war, a philosophical discussion of the forces of history. It's a great read, though I have to admit I skimmed some of the monologues on freewill as they can get a bit repetitive. I read this book before around 10 years ago, and re-reading was struck by how much more I got out of it the second time, in the main because I understood the context so much more, the unrest of the peasants, what Napoleon was up to. I do feel like Tolstoy started off writing one book (a family sage) but by the end had lost interest in that and finished a different one. Anyway it's an incredible book and everyone should read it. I'll probably read it again in another 10 years. ( )
  AlisonSakai | May 16, 2016 |
[War & Peace] is very long, one of the longest novels ever published. My edition ran one thousand six hundred seventy-two pages. I read every word, even the Second Epilogue.I am glad I did. I'm proud I got through it unscathed.

This epic historical novel describes the 1812 Franco-Russian War and its impact on all strata of Russian society. Tolstoy creates a multitude of characters, many of them in the upper classes. You could say it's a soap opera—boys and girls grappling with their dreams and emotions, their naiveté, their parents and family connections (and the lack thereof), their rivals real or imagined. I have to say I was jarred by the realization that in these 19th century days and in this society, 13- to 16-year-old girls were consumed with the husband hunt—seeking out an eligible and above all suitable man to marry. Unmarried men likewise were trawling for eligible and suitable girls.

Set against this social whirl is the threat of war. Europe's bully-boy Napoleon Bonparte, having conquered Italy, Austria, and Prussia, squabbles with Russian emperor over…well…hurt feelings. That means WAR! From this start, the Russian army backs and backs and backs. Tolstoy exposes the politicking, the bowing and scraping, the tempestuous clashes amongst officers on the Russian side. Eventually the French arrive at Moscow, find it largely abandoned, plunder it, and allow it to burn. Napoleon loses interest and he and his army head home. Beset by snow and freezing cold, lacking rations, medical care and sheltered rest, and harried by marauding Cossacks, only a relatively small contingent actually gets home.

Throughout Tolstoy disputes the then (1860s) accepted history of the war, and more specifically the "Genius" dogma. He debunks historians' conclusion that Napoleon's earlier victories were results of his genius. Tolstoy wants it understood that this war was a resounding defeat for Napoleon, the French, and its allies. He depicts Napoleon as self-absorbed, often disconnected from the war, and very lucky. No genius he.

On the whole I liked it, especially through Part Eight. That's where I suspended reading for about a month. Upon returning to the book, the reading seemed slower, the digressions less interesting, the characters less engaging, the author more bullying, more didactic. I just wanted it to end.

I think—trying to be open about it—that taking that month-long break queered me for it (or it for me). Were I to reread it, I know I'd pick up details and viewpoints I missed and get a better understanding of Tolstoy's intentions. Reading the Wikipedia entry in full might clarify the novel for me, and I might do that. Reread it I will not.

I'm perplexed by readers who say they skipped the "war" passages because they were boring. Without some guide, how would you know what can be skipped? The characters—Prince Andrew, Nicholas Rostov, even Pierre—were caught up in the combat and influenced and drastically changed by their experiences. Napoleon is central to the novel, and his actions leading up to and in battle, are essential to understanding Tolstoy's point about the theory of "genius" in history. If you don't read those passages, you don't get the full story.

I think you'd do better to read an abridged edition. Maybe I should have done that, huh?
  weird_O | Mar 27, 2016 |
Tolstoy's "novel" is a loooong story about the Russian portion of the Napoleonic Wars, along with various discussions about history, religion, power, politics, and war strategy. When I first started this I only knew that there would be a plethora of characters and lots of battle scenes. That was correct, but that turned out not to be the "hard" part about reading W&P. The characters are indeed plentiful, but they get sorted out automatically after a while and the battle scenes are plentiful as well, but they too were less intimidating than expected as Tolstoy does a really great job at following the characters around and make them real people, rather than a random fighting force. What does slow down the reading significantly, however, are the parts that Tolstoy put in the book to make it not-a-novel, i.e. the numerous essays on various topics that are inherently interesting, but unfortunately very not interesting to me - I read this for character and plot, not to learn how to run a battle field. If you're about to read this, I'd recommend starting with the second epilogue as it is a really coherent explanation of Tolstoy's purpose in writing the book. I read the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation because I understand that, although perhaps a little less poetic than others, it is the translation that comes closest to Tolstoy's original. ( )
  -Eva- | Mar 13, 2016 |
Wanted a visit with an old friend (some books are like treasured friends) so I picked up the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation of War and Peace my kids gave me a couple of years ago. And what a difference the translation makes. I loved the Garnett and Maudes' versions, but this one knocks it out of the park.

Of course the story is rich and gripping and joyful and tragic and the characters are complex, wonderful people. I'm struck that even the 8th time around (I've read it at least that many times in four decades), I feel like I'm getting to know new aspects of Pierre and Prince Andrei and Natasha.

The BBC has some nerve to think they can do this, though come to think of it, the Russian direct Sergei Bondarchuk made a fantastic film of this probably twenty years back that clocked in just under seven hours. It's gorgeous (I think he had the Soviet Army available to act out the battle of Austerlitz), and he definitely hit the highlights.

( )
  seschanfield | Mar 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 272 (next | show all)
[Note: This review refers mainly to the Pevear-Volokhonsky translation in comparison to other translations.]

The Russian language is the real hero of Tolstoy’s masterpiece; it is his voice of truth. The English-speaking world is indebted to these two magnificent translators, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, for revealing more of its hidden riches than any who have tried to translate the book before.

» Add other authors (66 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolstoy, Leoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adler, MortimerEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alcántara, Francisco JoséTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Andresco, IreneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Andresco, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bahar, NurettinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bayley, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bell, ClaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bergengruen, WernerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boutelje, A. E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Briggs, AnthonyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cadei, ErmeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Conrad-Lütt, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dahl, HjalmarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dunnigan, AnnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eberle, TheodorIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edmonds, RosemaryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eichenberg, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Faber zu Faur, Christian Wilhelm vonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fadiman, CliftonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Figes, OrlandoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foote, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freedman, BarnettIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fuller, EdmondEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, ConstanceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibian, GeorgeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gifford, HenryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grusemann, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hilbert, ErnestIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hockenberry, JohnAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollo, J. A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hutchins, Robert M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kúper, LydiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kropotkin, AlexandraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laín Entralgo, JoséTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malcovati, FaustoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maude, AylmerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maude, LouiseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maugham, W. SomersetEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mongault, HenriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pacini, GianlorenzoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Papma, DieuwkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pascal, PierreIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Röhl, HermannTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rho, AnitaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sýkora, VilémTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sýkora, VilémTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sýkorová, TamaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sibaldi, IgorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sibley, DonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomassen, EjnarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Topolski, FelixIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verestchagin, VassilyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volokhonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vries, H.R. deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vries, René deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whitman, J. FranklinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Well, Prince, Genoa and Lucca are now no more than private estates of the Bonaparte family."
Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes. (Maude/Maude)
War is not a polite recreation but the vilest thing in life, and we ought to understand that and not play at war.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the complete work "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy. Do not combine with single volumes of the work, or with abridgments of the work.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307266931, Hardcover)

From Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, the best-selling, award-winning translators of Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov, comes a brilliant, engaging, and eminently readable translation of Leo Tolstoy’s master epic.

War and Peace centers broadly on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the best-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves behind his family to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman, who intrigues both men. As Napoleon’s army invades, Tolstoy vividly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers—as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving—and human—figures in world literature.

Pevear and Volokhonsky have brought us this classic novel in a translation remarkable for its fidelity to Tolstoy’s style and cadence and for its energetic, accessible prose. With stunning grace and precision, this new version of War and Peace is set to become the definitive English edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:19 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

From Pevear and Volokhonsky, the bestselling, award-winning translators of "Anna Karenina" and "The Brothers Karamazov," comes a brilliant, engaging, and eminently readable translation of Tolstoy's master epic.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 34 descriptions

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3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

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