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War and Peace (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – 5 Oct 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions (5 Oct. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853260622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853260629
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.2 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,015 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

About the Author

Leo Tolstoy (1828 -1910) is one of the major figures in world literature, and War and Peace is in contention to be considered the greatest novel ever written. But this is only one of his memorable works: Anna Karenina certainly equals it in popularity, and his shorter works, such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich are considered excellent.


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Book 1981 on 6 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has been on my reading list for a long time, but for some reason I have avoided picking it up - Perhaps because of the size (I am against Kindles in principle), or perhaps because of the stigma attached to this mammoth classic, I just assumed it was going to be beyond my mental faculties and I was certain I was never going to be able to finish it.

I could not have been more wrong. It took me a month to read, it was never a chore to pick up and now that I have finished it, I miss it.

This book is many things - It is a study on how war affects life of men and women, it is a detailed analysis of the was tactics during the Napoleonic war with Russia, it is a family saga, a coming of age tale, a quest for the meaning of life, a romance, an ode to Russia and, above all, a 900-odd page tale of what makes us human.

Don't let the huge cast put you off, as the central cast is small enough, and the characters vivid enough to pose no problem in telling them apart. We have large, awkward, well-meaning lost soul Pierre, illegitimate and massively wealthy, and his devastating and unfaithful wife Helene. Then we have Prince Andrew; moody, elegant, intelligent, capable, vulnerable, a perfect masculine hero. His pious sister Princess Mary is one of the strongest female characters; She starts out plain, timid, terrorized by her father, resigned to her destiny as a spinster, but as we get to know her we see she has a heart of gold and incredible strength. Then we have the Rostovs, with the distre Count Ilya at the head of the family slowly driving them to financial ruin, the over-bearing and hysterical Countess and her children - Nicholas, Petya and not least, Natasha - Enchanting, innocent, impetuous, full of life and energy and vivacity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Account Closed on 5 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have wanted to embark on War and Peace for some time. It's sheer size and "pedigree" is hugely daunting.

I started off quite hopefully with this Kindle version. The introduction and preamble was both informative and interesting. It also helped to give some depth to the circumstances surrounding the work.

However, I have to put my hand up and say I'm struggling a little bit with the actual Kindle version of the novel. There seems to be a huge inconsistency over punctuation, often with speech marks appearing in bizarre places and being noticeably absent in others. Some names are fully "foreign" along with graves, accents, etc. Sometimes they come up without any accents. Sometimes they are translated/ Anglicised.
Having got used to French appearing in italics - the italics (mostly) stop.

It's feels a bit like complaining about the icing on a cake. A rich, sumptuous, delicious cake. But at the moment the foolish errors and lack of care in production are becoming barriers to enjoying this great work. Which I deeply regret. I feel the publisher has a duty to the author and the reader - and in this case he has served neither :(

Should I find a wonderful Kindle version I'll try and come back and reference it here. If YOU know of a wonderful Kindle version I'd appreciate your comment :) Regards, CW.
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By michaelicious on 4 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
First of all I'd like to make 1 thing clear; WAR AND PEACE is absolutely fantastic. Wordsworth's publishing of it is not so fantastic.

If you buy Wordsworth's edition of this book be sure to find it riddled with spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, capital letters in the middle of words and other obvious mistakes that the editors really should have picked up on.

Thankfully, it's quite a popular book so there are many publications out there.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John in Derbyshire on 3 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I love Tolstoy's novels - both War and Peace and Anna Karenina are the most fantastic things I have ever read.

He has the ability to take you right inside the characters very being, so you feel you know exactly what it would be like to be that character.

But I read the old Penguin edition with translation by Rosemary Edmonds. I found that translation really easy to read and unobtrusive.

I did once also try reading the Aylmer Maude translation (the one offered in this Kindle edition), and by comparison I found the language awkward and over-elaborate. I didn't get very far into the book in this translation.

Of course as a student of Russian language I should have read the original, but I never became a fluent enough reader I'm afraid :-(

But if you're going to invest the time needed to read a work of this scale, it's well worth making sure you get a translation that you're comfortable with, even if it involves spending a bit more...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jenny Mackenzie on 13 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow!!! After many false starts, I've actually finished War and Peace!! (It was on my 2014 bucket-list! :-)) As with any Russian novel, the reader has to get past the - to me, at least - confusion between given names and patronymics which had always led me to give up before, but having done so, this is a very rewarding read. Tolstoy himself famously said that War and Peace was "not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less a historical chronicle". That is quite true. Ostensibly, the tale of the Napoleonic invasion of their homeland seen through the eyes of five prominent Russian aristocratic families, the narrative gives way to philosophical discussion in parts, and clearly this isn't a read for the faint-hearted, yet it remains - justifiably - one of the "greats" in the canon of world literature. So to anyone who - like me - might have tried and been discouraged part-way through, I can only say "Do stick with it - it's actually a brilliant book".

Finally, this review wouldn't be complete without a word about the Wordsworth Classics series. I have many of these on my book-shelves - they represent PHENOMENAL value for money!! However, the cost-effective binding and thin cover means it is a lot to ask of it to withstand the putting-up and placing-down over a couple of weeks needed to get through almost 1,000 pages of this epic, AND the typeface is very small.....not perhaps the best edition for reading in bed at night!! Mine is now in tatters, so, much as I love the Wordsworth Classics, I shall be ordering a different edition of this particular novel to grace the bookshelves!!
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