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War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
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War and Peace (original 1868; edition 1949)

by Leo Tolstoy

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,464245107 (4.28)19 / 1692
Member:InigoMontoya
Title:War and Peace
Authors:Leo Tolstoy
Info:International Collector's Library 1949 Hardcover, 741p.
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:
Tags:Main, Fiction

Work details

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (Author) (1868)

  1. 100
    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (chrisharpe)
  2. 70
    Life and Fate by Vassili Grossman (chrisharpe, longway)
  3. 30
    Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann (roby72)
  4. 20
    History by Elsa Morante (roby72)
  5. 10
    Los mas bellos cuentos rusos. Prologo con resena critica de la obra, vida y obra del autor, y marco historico. (Spanish Edition) by Alexander Pushkin (carajava)
    carajava: Es muy recomendable despues o, en todo caso antes de leer guerra y paz, puesto que, mejorarà tu forma de ver el mundo donde viviàn los rusos, comprenderlo y razonar sus precarias situaciònes.
  6. 10
    La Lumière des justes by Henri Troyat (Eustrabirbeonne)
    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)
  7. 10
    The Years by Virginia Woolf (roby72)
  8. 11
    Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman (rrmmff2000)
  9. 13
    Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky (chrisharpe)
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Topics messagesLast message 
History at 30,000 feet: The Big Picture : WWII, from the inside 10 unread / 10cbellia, February 2012
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 - Intro thread (no spoilers) 41 unread / 41Deern, 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
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» See also 1692 mentions

English (230)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (5)  French (2)  Hebrew (2)  German (1)  All languages (246)
Showing 1-5 of 230 (next | show all)
Magnificent! No wonder War & Peace is still ranked very high even after 150 years. Highly recommended. It is epic in size, but the novel hooks you within first 20 pages. And once hooked, it is not simply read, one actually lives in War & Peace world for few weeks!

It is story of 5 families with Napoleon war against Russia as the background. Campaign and battle scenes are described in detail, these descriptions are supposed to be as close to real life as possible, unlike traditional history books where everything is summarized in few sentences. These war related sections should be read to gain understanding into how history actually might have played out and how it is interpreted today. In this historical background, more than 20 characters are developed fully, with their history, hopes, values, motivations. All the characters are multidimensional and one can really identify with them. As war progresses, almost all character change, evolving into totally different persona by the end of novel. End contains two part epilogue, first one directly related to novel, whereas second one is more like an essay from Tolstoy about history, free will, etc.

As with all translated works, one needs to be cautious with the translation they pick. I exchanged my older book to get Oxford World's classics edition with translators Louise and Aylmer Maude, Amy Mandelker. This is pretty good translation with French text intact. ( )
  sandeepk77 | Aug 11, 2014 |
This was, indeed, an epic read, but as there always has been more to Tolstoy, this book is no different. In it you find bits of history you would have never known otherwise, full-on societal differences and perceptions, and a statement, whether or not you consider it a little subtle, on government and society as a whole. If you know anything about the governments of the world, you see that this statement applies today just as it did then, nevermind the excesses of the wealthy. One cannot just "read" War and Peace. One who loves literature lives it, becomes it, and carries it with them the rest of their lives. Those who are afraid of it because it's such a large tome are just not willing to read anything that might impact their lives. ( )
  mreed61 | Aug 10, 2014 |
"Sõda ja rahu" on mu meelest nagu "Tõde ja õigus". Ilmselt pole paljud kumbagi raamatut lugenud, aga no kes ei tunneks Nataša Rostovat, Pierre Bezuhhovit, Vargamäe Andrest või Oru Pearu.
Ma olen üsna kindel, et ma seda raamatud varem lugenud polnud, aga ju olen ma näinud filmi? Ja loomulikult olen ma käinud klassiekskursioonil Barclay de Tolly mälestusmärgi juures. Igaljuhul, nagu kohtumine vanade tuttavatega.

Sõda ja Rahu oleks tegelikult ideaalne e-raamat. Päris naljakas oli üle pika aja lugeda paberilt. Seda lugedes oleks kohe hädasti vaja, et saaksid online tõlkida prantsuskeelsed osad ( no miks neid nii palju peab olema!), esimese osa juures võiks olla "kes on kes?" ja hiljem Venemaa kaart ja wikipedia tegelaste taustade uurimiseks samuti.

Loe edasi
http://indigoaalane.blogspot.com/2013/04/ltolstoi-soda-ja-rahu.html ( )
  Indigoaalane | Jul 18, 2014 |
Only in our conceited age of the popularization of knowledge – thanks to that most powerful engine of ignorance, the diffusion of printed matter – has the question of freedom of will been put on a level on which the question itself cannot exist.

Tolstoy is a much better storyteller than a thinker; in other words, no matter how hard he wants to be Borges, he's much better off gamboling in the bucolic glories of his beloved Russia. Part Two of this book's Epilogue cemented that in stone, forty pages of Tolstoy destroying any denunciation he had made of the horrors of war with redundant, solipsistic, and inconclusive meanderings on freewill and power. Had he stuck with a simple 'Well we just don't know so how about we keep thinking and not killing each other in those horrible massacres known as war that we shouldn't be lauding as much as we do' and ended it there, it would have been a good, sensible end. Instead, he went on. And on. And on. I've heard this paradoxical thinking is part of his appeal and his later works tell a different story but I just finished 1440 pages of the reputably nineteenth longest work in the history of novels and I am NOT going to do the 'Oh but you read the wrong one now this work is the one that is the true best of the author...' dance. Right now, enough is enough.

I recently ran across a bundle of reviews condemning Hugo for overt egotism in his [Les Misérables], and while I see the truth in that, I'll take boundless hope for empathetic humanity over thought experiments culminating in either religion or endless gnawing of ones' leg in efforts to escape any day. All authors are completely full of themselves to some degree of thinking their compositions are worthy of an audience, and while I promised to not let this review commit itself to Hugo vs. Tolstoy time, I like writers that offer a backdoor, who give an opinion/story/whatnot without spending endless paragraphs quibbling over its immutability and/or not. You like what you think? Stay considerate, consistent, and somewhere along the line concise, and I'll probably like it too.

"He could not disavow his deeds, lauded as they were by half the world, and so he was obliged to repudiate truth and beauty and all humanity."

That line sums up everything I find great in Tolstoy, that utter rout of Napoleon and putting in his place a conjuration of ineffable worth that is in no way encompassed by military might. Unfortunately, Tolstoy's very much a Hemingway, and I can only hope some of that humanity he names rubbed off on him in the eight years between the publications of W&P and [Anna Karenina], for every time a woman shows up he has no time for anything but lazy characterization, patronizing hypocrisy, and insipid similes such as how the effort to achieve women's rights is like the effort to cook the perfect meal and has no consideration for the holy sacred "family" that constitutes the only reason for matrimony. The irony is that, like many men and women of both that time and this one, he doesn't see that the patriarchy he is so horrified by, leastwise in massacres committed in the name of king and nationalism, is birthed in every situation where a woman is expected to take on all of empathy and a man is refused the slightest share. This is a given I usually don't mention due to its ridiculous ubiquity, but seeing how much time Tolstoy spent trying and failing to write women, it deserves explicit mention.

In light of that, if I do the usual thing and focus on the thoughts of male characters while keeping only a cursory eye on those of women, there's some good stuff to be found. Proust does the rich people screwing each other over in petty politics and gainful one-ups better, but Proust never went to war. Between the psychological discourse of varying levels of insight and the constant relations of history to physical laws that range from intriguing to utterly laughable, we have breathtaking sketches of natural landscape and its humans, a sleigh ride in particular being one of my favorite scenes in literature of all time. Sentiment abounds, but was made bearable by the few moments when real value was found in empathy and the bonds of humanity. I would've been happier had I forgone the epilogue, but I also wouldn't have the right to evaluate it, and of all of Tolstoy's attempts to pin down the nature of power, I favor knowledge above all others.

In short, I thought I'd get more out of this than I did, but that moment six years ago when I had to return W&P unfinished to the library has now been vindicated. Also, that Russian film adaptation looks mighty appealing. ( )
1 vote Korrick | Jun 21, 2014 |
Original post at Book Rhapsody.

***

Snoopy reads this, one word a day

How can I possibly write something about this ginormous book that stands proud against the motley crew of my random books of mass markets, hardbounds, and trade paperbacks, and shying these on the sheer basis of breadth? A novel that spans four volumes, each volume divided into parts, and each part further divided into chapters, I struggled to finish this not without iron will and determination.

First, I was motivated by the reading support group spurred by local writer Jessica Zafra. I think we were about ten, periodically posting our inputs on the writer’s blog, including the writer herself, and I think I was the first to read my way across the finish line. I even think that only three of us really finished the book, this suspicion arising from the simple fact that the support-group-slash-challenge wasn’t capped off, unless we consider the article the writer wrote, an article that quoted the participants, as the waving checkered flag.

So you see, I really don’t know how to properly start this without the reader skipping to another random Internet article. But if you have reached this part, my effort is not in vain.

"Love? What is love?" he thought. "Love hinders death. Love is life. Everything, everything I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is connected only by that. Love is God, and to die–-means that I, a part of love, return to the common and eternal source." These thoughts seemed comforting to him. But they were only thoughts. Something was lacking in them, there was something one-sidedly personal, cerebral–-there was no evidence. And there was the same uneasiness and vagueness. He fell asleep.

I lied. That’s not a random quotation. But the manner of picking it is quite random. I sifted my thoughts through my mental silkscreen. What is this about? Of course, it’s about war and peace, no? Sure, there’s a lot of war in here that would suffice for tremendous reference if you wish to lie about being a war veteran. There are characters in here that are real people, people who are forever a part of the world’s history. Like Napoleon. And who else?

I don’t remember. Rather, I don’t know, because after reading this, I suspect that Napoleon is just a product of Tolstoy’s pen. But let’s not dwell on that; let’s return to that quote, a dust mote of a narrative from this book that could break wrists. Okay, I picked a love quote because the major characters, the major fictional characters, are caught in a love triangle of sorts, but not that type where two men go after the same woman. Our characters Pierre Bezukhov, Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, and Natasha Rostov are better than that.

There are harder Russian names than that. It would be great if you also know French, because there’s a lot of French going on here. I think some editions have the all the French dialogues translated, but my edition, the Pevear-Volokhonsky translation, reputed to be the most loyal, left all the French untouched. There are footnotes, don’t worry. But given that I set out to read every single line in every volume, I still read the French lines. And whatever historical footnotes that I came across.

I don’t wish to go through the plot because really; all you need to know is that this is about Napoleon’s invasion of Russia with a lot of side twists and commentaries. I said commentaries because the author usually forgets that he is writing fiction and proceeds to write essays. Or it could be the other way around.

It is hard to convince someone to read this book, what with the popularity of classics, humongous classics at that, waning. But really, this is one good read. You don’t have to be a high-strung reader to understand it. Never mind the French, or go get another edition if you are Frenchophobic. The scenes are well-propped against exact descriptions. If you’re reading a part where a soiree is going on, you feel like a waiter eavesdropping on the conversations of the Russian high society.

The characters are well-developed and dynamic. I particularly like the polarity of Pierre and Prince Andrei, men who are supposed to bash in each other’s teeth but are the best of friends despite their vast differences. If you ask me, I prefer the dashing Prince Andrei, not only because he is dashing, but I like his thoughts and philosophies. Not to say that Pierre is uninteresting. It’s just my preference.

The plot is, yes, convoluted, but it can be tolerated. There’s just a lot going on. There are a lot of characters that could make up for a television series. That’s to be expected because it screams at over a thousand pages, but it doesn’t feel crammed. There’s comedy, drama, romance, and action, so it’s safe to say that readers of varying genres can have something to look forward to.

And yes, you can have the ultimate bragging rights of having set a reading milestone after flipping the last page.

But really, not everything is as good as I am trying to say. As much as I want to encourage everyone, I have to air this out. Tolstoy, in this novel, has a tendency to repeat himself over and over again. This is particularly evident in the essayish parts. He would wind up with a longish introduction, say about war and history, bring up a thesis, present an antithesis, conclude with a synthesis, and repeat all over on the same subject.

There are times that I wanted to scream at the book. Fine, I get it, can we please move on? Something like that. It can get annoying, but it could be exactly this why finishing this book gives you a sense of achievement. It even made me feel a little smarter. Of course, bus passengers would be intimidated if you whip out this book out of your backpack, which I did, but really, you will understand a thing or two about war and history, like the role of each other in each other.

Perhaps this should have been entitled War and History instead. ( )
1 vote angusmiranda | Jun 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 230 (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 (137 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolstoy, LeoAuthorprimary 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
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, Louise ShanksTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maugham, W. SomersetEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mongault, HenriTranslatorsecondary 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
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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First words
"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)
Quotations
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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War and Peace is universally acclaimed as one of the supreme classics of world literature. The subject of the novel is the gigantic canvas of all life - as revealed against the monumental background of Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812.It is a teeming panorama of tsarist aristocrats and humble peasants, heroic battles, vainglorious soldiers, cowards, sages and fools.

War and Peace is not only the awesome spectacle of two worlds - France and Russia - caught in a life-and-death struggle, but it also captures with brilliance and for all time the moving forces of history which change and illuminate men's lives.

This special modern abridgment has been prepared by Ernest J Simmons, former Chairman of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature, Columbia University, and one of the leading world critics of Russian literature. 
He has also written the introduction.

The authorized translation by Louise and Alymer Maude
Abridged, Edited and with an Introduction By Earnest J Simmons
Published by Washington Square, 1963
Haiku summary

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:30 -0400)

(see all 9 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 32 descriptions

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Editions: 0141025115, 0140447938, 0451532112

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