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War and Peace (Modern Library) [Paperback]

L.N. Tolstoy
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Jan 2002 0375760644 978-0375760648 New edition
Since 1917 The Modern Library prides itself as ''The modern Library of the world s Best Books''. Its paperback series feature treasured classics, major translations of great works, and rediscoveries of keen literary and historical merit.Featuring introductions by leading writers, stunning translations, scholarly endnotes and reading group guides. Production values emphasize superior quality and readability. Competitive prices, coupled with exciting cover design make these an ideal gift to be cherished by the avid reader. --- Often called the greatest novel ever written, War and Peace is at once an epic of the Napoleonic Wars, a philosophical study, and a celebration of the Russian spirit. Tolstoy s genius is seen clearly in the multitude of fully realized and equally memorable characters that populate this massive chronicle. Out of this complex narrative emerges a profound examination of the individual s place in the historical process, one that makes it clear why Thomas Mann praised Tolstoy for his Homeric powers and placed War and Peace in the same category as the Iliad: To read him . . . is to find one s way home . . . to everything within us that is fundamental and sane.

Product details

  • Paperback: 1424 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library Inc; New edition edition (7 Jan 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375760644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375760648
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,272,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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


" There remains the greatest of all novelists-- for what else can we call the author of "War and Peace"?" --Virginia Woolf

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WELL, PRINCE, Genoa and Lucca are now no more than private estates of the Bonaparte family. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, It's Worth the Trouble 25 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Although my blind urge to read the Great Classics has (thankfully) faded somewhat over the years in favor of reading whatever I damn please, I finally decided it was time to give War and Peace a try. After all, how can anyone who enjoys novels resist the lure of "the greatest novel of all time"? And Tolstoy himself was an unusually interesting man -- not a screwed-up genius but one who seemed to eventually figure it all out. It took me maybe a hundred pages to get into the rhythm of the book and figure out who all those characters with multisyllabic Russian names were. After that, it was totally engrossing and surprisingly easy reading. There's no point giving you a book report on what happens -- you're supposed to read it yourself -- but I do disagree with some of the other reviewers who didn't care for the sections describing Tolstoy's philosophy of history. I found those sections (a very small proportion of the book) fascinating, albeit a change of pace. This is part of what makes the book great. War and Peace is not just a story of what happens to a bunch of made-up people, but a major work of art expressing the wisdom of a great man.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Escape into your own romance: War and Peace 14 Oct 1997
By A Customer
Even Tolstoy refused to call it a book. Instead, think of it as virtual reality, 19th century style. Pursued at leisure, with time taken for dreams as well, War and Peace will transport you to Russia at the time of Napoleon, a time truly of love and hate, strength and suffering, life and death... That is Tolstoy genius, the facility to twine stories, moods, and scenes to make a distant time and country come alive. The characters live, they grow, they fascinate. Perhaps one can read and not be changed, but that same person would be one who could also love, and not change. A book to immerse in, to live in, to leave on the bookstand for months on end. A footnote: War and Peace has unfortunately slid into the same pit as Moby Dick, Silas Marner, Wuthering Heights, and everything that Dickens ever wrote. Ignore the company and read the book. Another note: Woody Allen said once that he had learned speed-reading and then read War and Peace on a plane flight from Los Angeles to New York. The verdict? "It's about Russia".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Epic proportions 1 July 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
How does one do justice to a work as monumental and vast as Tolstoy's 'War and Peace' in the short space this review grants? Indeed, I toyed with the idea of trying to encapsulate this epic work in 100 words, but failed. I do know of one review of 'War and Peace' that was even shorter; it read:
Napoleon invaded.
It snowed.
Napolean failed.
Russia won.
Perhaps that does encapsulate it. Tolstoy would have probably respected such as description, for, as verbose as he and other Russia novelists seemed to be (given a purely page-count analysis), he appreciated brevity and essentialism in the description.
This holds true for 'War and Peace'. I was amazed at the lack of what one might hold to be extraneous detailing in the text -- I would have expected long, drawn out and tedious renderings of situations, emotions or events, but such is not the case.
In Tolstoy's following of the Rostovs (poor country gentry) and the Bolkonskis (higher society), and a hero Pierre Bezuhkov, he illustrates basic truths in the way life is lived, and the way it ought to be lived. Tolstoy was a moralist, but no mystic in his writing (unusually so, given his general mystical sentiments in life). He felt it absolutely essential that the novelist should tell the truth, and mystical digressions lead away from that. His characters grow as we watch, and he recounts details that are important (such as Natasha and her doll as a child, and then later Natasha going to church -- these are two ages of the same person, to be sure, but not a simple updating of the character, as if an actress wearing a different costume).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars W&P is the best book I've read yet. 3 Feb 1999
By A Customer
I started reading W&P as an assignment for my sophomore english class. I figured, if she wants me to read a classic, I might as well go with THE classic, right? So I checked out W&P. At first, I read it just to prove something to myself. Later, however, the book just kind of drew me in; I couldn't put it down! All of the details make you feel like you're there. You sympathize with all of the characters' anguish, and celebrate their victories. With Tolstoy's philosophical masterpiece in Epilogue 2 to tie it all up, War and Peace was definitely a great book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War and Peace is brillant and timeless. 26 Jun 1998
By A Customer
War and Peace is a testement to the unchanging nature of mankind. As an amature novelist and voracious reader, I am constantly scouring the world of literature for hints of the true meaning of man's struggle in the universe. Leo Tolstoy has displayed the full nature of this struggle in dazzling magnificence. From the post-modernists to the magical realists to the lore of Faulkner and the like, I am constantly discovering ideas and themes within great modern literature that seem unique to our time, only to find that all of it -- the whole ironic gauntlet of living as a human -- has already been displayed by Tolstoy with such grace and splendid honesty that it would be impossible to surmount what he has already accomplished. From the spiritual turmoil of Count Bezukhov, to the avant garde lifestyle of Anatole Kuragin, to the madness of Nepoleon, every aspect of the human condition is rendered in such epic proportion and stark reality that the characters step from the black print into your mind with the easy of the master's endlessly flowing pen. Brillant!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Book
War and Peace is a book that in no way can stand with the rest. The amount of description and time Tolstoy put in his masterpiece is what may just hold this novel in as the best... Read more
Published on 27 Aug 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
This was definitely a great book. It's not easy for a book to keep your attention for close to 1400 pages, but Tolstoy succeeds. Read more
Published on 22 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars This book was very interesting and breath taking.
I thought that this book was the best book that anyone could ever read. When you start reading you just can't stop because you can't wait to read what is going to happen next. Read more
Published on 10 May 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Clearly a classic which today reads as easily as a popular novel. Easy to read but yet a vast portrait of pre-revolutionary Russia. Read more
Published on 29 Mar 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of the mind
This book was the first 'complex' book I read. I have now read it three times, and I wish to do so again. Read more
Published on 8 Jan 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not Karenina- not piercing, too revolving...
I sometimes read War and Peace in the dull hours of the early morning. I find that the revolving interaction of the 5 familys during the wars leaves a lot unsaid: this I cannot... Read more
Published on 24 July 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars The Original
Is it possible to give this book anything but five stars? Everything I have read since, including many of the other classics seem to borrow from Tolstoy's style. Read more
Published on 14 July 1998
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