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Hadji Murat (Hesperus Classics) Paperback – 28 Feb 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Hesperus Press Ltd; New edition edition (28 Feb. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843910330
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843910336
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 16.2 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 921,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 on the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana, in the Tula province, where he spent most of his early years, together with his several brothers. In 1844 he entered the University of Kazan to read Oriental Languages and later Law, but left before completing a degree. He spent the following years in a round of drinking, gambling and womanizing, until weary of his idle existence he joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus in 1851.

He took part in the Crimean war and after the defence of Sevastopol wrote The Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6), which established his literary reputation. After leaving the army in 1856 Tolstoy spent some time mixing with the literati in St Petersburg before travelling abroad and then settling at Yasnaya Polyana, where he involved himself in the running of peasant schools and the emancipation of the serfs. His marriage to Sofya Andreyevna Behrs in 1862 marked the beginning of a period of contentment centred around family life; they had thirteen children. Tolstoy managed his vast estates, continued his educational projects, cared for his peasants and wrote both his great novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877).

During the 1870s he underwent a spiritual crisis, the moral and religious ideas that had always dogged him coming to the fore. A Confession (1879-82) marked an outward change in his life and works; he became an extreme rationalist and moralist, and in a series of pamphlets written after 1880 he rejected church and state, indicted the demands of flesh, and denounced private property. His teachings earned him numerous followers in Russia and abroad, and also led finally to his excommunication by the Russian Holy Synod in 1901. In 1910 at the age of eighty-two he fled from home 'leaving this worldly life in order to live out my last days in peace and solitude'; dying some days later at the station master's house at Astapovo.

Product Description


'Had President Yeltsin read Tolstoy's Hadji Murat, he would have been less likely to have started the war with Chechnya.' -- Evgenii Evtushenko

'a chilling warning that echoes loud and clear down the years' -- The Guardian, 5 May 2003

From the Publisher

New English translation of a literary gem from Russian literature

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 4 Feb. 2007
Format: Paperback
The back of the book claims that this book will teach you more about the Russian Chechnya conflict than any other book will. An emphatic boast, and one that is sadly not lived up to. However as with almost all Tolstoy books there is still the masterful story to contend with. The tale tells of a rebel fighter who defects to the Russians after falling out with the ruling Imam of Chechnya. However before he can act against his former leader he asks the Russians to procure the safety of his family. Unfortunately things don't go to plan and a clash of civilisations, Muslim versus Orthodox ensues and we see the tale spiral into a violent conclusion. For a story written over a hundred years ago the detailed knowledge of Islam is striking, made even more striking by the way it is (mis-)represented in much of today's literature. Even without the wonders of the Internet Tolstoy manages to produce an accurate representation of Islam and skilfully shows the many sides to the conflict. Unlike his more famous works Hadji Murat is brief and enlivened with some startling un-politically correct quotes, my favourite being "a women has as much sense in her head as there are hairs on an egg"
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gerben Kappert on 23 Nov. 2003
Format: Paperback
According to Frederik Stork (who is he btw?) this book will explain more on Chezenya than a thousand hours of CNN. It is one of the four praises on the back cover. Another one is by famous philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Hadzji Moerat is a rebel, according to some, a hero, according to others. Which is exactly the point to me. A freedom fighter and a terrorist are no different, the only difference is how they are being percepted. If you think about it, it is true. I wonder if the US and their 'fight against terrorism' have thought about it.
Moerat fights for freedom of the Cheznyans, oppressed by the Russians. The era we talk about is 1850, though it could have easily been written a century and a half later. This is one of the reasons I love reading Tolstoj. His books are never dated. War and peace, his 1800-page masterpiece talks about Napoleon invading Russia. It could have been about any war. Tolstoj, one of the great Russian authors, has a strong sense of justice. He criticises the church, even though he is a Christian himself, he doesn't like the aristocracy, though isn't exactly working class himself, and he dislikes (in this book) the Russians, his country.
As an avid fan I have read quite a few books by Tolstoj. This is not my favourite. Not big enough, not deep enough, not compared to some of his classics. But that still means an extremely high level, that most authors will never reach.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Sublime 3 Nov. 2004
By W. Chamberlain - Published on
Format: Paperback
Harold Bloom, the renowned literary critic, regards it as the sublime in prose. It has even been praised by Wittgenstein. In this story, Tolstoy details the surrender by Hadji Murat, a Chechen rebel, to the Russians, and what follows from this. It is written with all the insightfulness into such a situation that you would expect from Tolstoy, and should be of interest to anyone interested in War and Peace (which it was written after), as well as having great contemporary relevance to the conflicts between the Chechens and the Russians. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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