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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how is should be done........
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...
Published on 6 Feb 2011 by Book 1981

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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book, Terrible Publisher!
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...
Published on 4 Oct 2011 by michaelicious


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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how is should be done........, 6 Feb 2011
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This review is from: War and Peace (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
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. There is Sonya, the poor relation living with the Rostovs whose only comfort is her unwavering love for Nicholas and her satisfaction in sacrificing herself for her benefactors. There are beautiful villains like the dangerous Dholokov and Helene`s selfish, spoiled brothers, Anatole and Hippolyte. Then you have comrades in arms like Denisov, the hairy, loud well meaning friend of Nicholas Rostov and Platon, Pierre`s companion as a prisoner of war. There are cameos by Napoleon himself as well as Tsar Alexander, and a myriad of characters slipping in and out of the tale whose only importance is to create the rich, detailed and heady backdrop of this epic tale.

I found myself gasping, laughing, crying and shuddering (make no mistake - the scenes of war and its aftermath are - as they should be - graphic and disturbing), as well as blown away by some of the profundity of Tolstoy's observations of human habits.

I think this book should probably be read more than once, as all the intricacies are too many and too tightly packed on the page to be picked up in one read-through. My advice is, invest in a hard-back copy, try to rid yourself of any preconceptions before you pick it up for the first time, and go back to it every now and then. This is the hum-dinger of all classics, and an absolute must for all dedicated readers.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the moaners, 12 July 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: War and Peace (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Prompted to write this because of those strange remarks questioning the novel's quality. Don't be misled. This really is one of the greatest novels ever written. Not only does Tolstoy have a commanding grasp of his recent history, and of Napoleon's strategy, but he makes war believable from the highest to the lowest levels. But one of the main reasons it is so celebrated is in the way the characters develop. We see them grow and change, partly in response to events and experience, partly as part of simply growing up. The transformation of Andre through the book is so credibly depicted you have to keep reminding yourself this is fiction. Many things happen to him, and each twist and turn is totally convincing, and where he ends up after all this makes perfect sense. And the momentous historical events that go on are not a "backdrop", but completely interweaved in the narrative. Tolstoy was capable of pouring everything that he, a wise, observant and insightful man had seen in his life, into a book that (another "greatness" quality) had a huge historical sweep, a cast of understandable, very human characters, and profound understanding of war. Don't save it up for later.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book, Terrible Publisher!, 4 Oct 2011
This review is from: War and Peace (Wordsworth Classics) (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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deserves its acclaim, 12 May 2001
By 
geezasid@aol.com (Wolverhampton, England) - See all my reviews
War and peace is without doubt one of the best novels of all time, and though admittedly I began reading it just to say I had, it soon gripped me and took over a few weeks of my spare time. The history was new to me as was the country and period so that was very interesting, as was Tolstoy's unashamed cheek in attacking historians and opposing theories. The only let down was that it felt a little too prolix, especially as time went on. The second epilogue is the peak of that effect where a good fifty pages are taken to cover a topic Tolstoy spent most of the novel trying to prove. It is indeed a great shame that the excellence of the battle descriptions and family storylines, had to be diluted by Tolstoy's attempts to outwit and mock historians of his time. All in all, with enough effort this is a great novel, though I can't see myself picking it up again!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An epic masterpiece, 14 Dec 2000
By 
eg2@bolton.ac.uk (Stockport , England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: War and Peace (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Undoubtedly the most moving book I have ever read. Tolstoy's incredibly detailed depiction of the plight of the refugees, the tragedies of deaths in the family and the unstoppable pursuit of love and happiness in the middle of all that carnage brought a tear to my eye. Some people complain about the depth into which the author goes in describing every character and would say that it is unnecessarily detailed. Not a bit of it! By the time I read this book I felt like I knew each character as a personal friend with whom I had grown up. Pierre Bezukhov is the character who most people could identify with as a bit of an outsider in the Russian courts. The interaction of him and the other characters with real people from history is very cleverly done, Forest Gump was not a new idea by any means.
As for the long passages on the inexorable process of history which man cannot influence, well if I were living in a feudal Europe which was governed by a small extended family of in-bred nobles whose family squabbles were settled by the slaughter of their citizens, then maybe I would think that history is uncontrollable too. These passages are not hard to spot and anyone with a bit of common sense can read between the lines and take them with a pinch of salt.
He may seem to approve of serfdom, but in those days democracy was a concept which hadn't quite taken root and most people (including Tolstoy) didn't know any different.
This is an exhilerating read for anyone who has what it takes to get right through it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I would not go for this translation, 3 April 2013
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic must-read in one of the best translations available, 20 Dec 2012
I had already read War and Peace some ten years ago as a print book so the content was not unfamiliar to me, but I had not read the Maude translation, which makes a big difference. The Maudes capture the spirit and manage to transmit it to us even today. The book is extremely long as we all know, but reading it on Kindle makes it easier and this ebook is well formatted and worth every cent: War and Peace (Maude translation)
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deep and profound classic, 1 Aug 2005
This review is from: War and Peace (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
WAR AND PEACE successfully captured life's promises, challenges, joys, triumphs, and losses in a way that no other novels has done before and after. In this novel with more characters than any other I can imagine; the main characters are Pierre Bezuhov, Prince Andrey Bolkonsky, and Natasha Rostov, who are all affected by the destabilization of the war Napoleon brought upon Russia in the early nineteenth century. It is around them that the other characters revolve. Even though the sheer size of this novel of over a million words may discourage readers to pick it up, the consuming nature of the story keeps a reader glued to the book from the opening pages. The sheer power of this romantic and adventurous story made this classic story to survive as perhaps the best of all times.

The essence of Power, which is what leads individuals to move nations is the ultimate question of War and Peace. And this individuals or great men of history, are in reality the slave of history. That underlying fact can be found in other Russian stories. UNION MOUJIK, TARAS BULBA, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT,MASTER AND MAN feature that concept. The war part of the story features remarkable military campaigns such as those by Napoleon and his Russian counterpart, Emperor Aleksandr, as they employed their different strategies in the quest for victory on the lands of Russia.

War and Peace is entertaining as well as enlightening and is considered by many to be the master of all Russian novels. Its overview of Russian life and culture involving peasants and the aristocracy gives a true to life portrayal of humanity. You can find glimpses of other Great Russian novels in this story. In short, this epic cannot be forgotten after you have read it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be afraid of the page count - breathtaking work, 31 Jan 2012
By 
Juliet Foster "Life's better in Red" (Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I understand why people are put off reading this book. It's a mammoth undertaking just in page count, and the language is not as quick to read as 21st century English. Russian names make the mind reel to grasp some idea of pronunciation and the immense geography can be muddling.

But, and it's a very big BUT, if you can put aside the latent fear of commitment to such a book, you will not be disappointed.

War and Peace describes the years of war in Russia against Napoleon. Naturally the War proportion is dedicated to this. The Peace proportion revolves around a number of families, their ups and downs, all of whom have some tie to the war in that they have loved ones in the military, are involved in an official capacity, or are off to war themselves. Tolstoy weaves all together beautifully and simultaneously provides us with a valuable source on the history of the Russian Napoleonic wars, with the occasional short chapter given to discussion and analysis of war and of spirituality. He made great effort to ensure the accuracy of his facts, dates, and characters such as the Tsar and Napoleon.

It is a book from which you establish favourite characters and favourite situations. Some will love the Austen-style sub-plots of romance and emotional turmoil. Others will love the military aspect - battles and strategies and how they came into effect.

War and Peace is engaging, illuminating, and gives an incredible insight into the times in which it's based. There are some quite amusing observations of national identity and they ring true against today's perceptions. The descriptions of certain illnesses suggest first hand experience of them, at least as a witness. Very striking though is the psychological insight given through the introspection of his characters. As we read their self analysis, we recognise various motives, thoughts and emotions in ourselves. A lot can be learned about the self in reading this book in addition to history and much brief yet profound wisdom. His short description of grief through his characters is stark, honest and the most accurate I've read.

In his epilogues, the discussions of both history and spirituality are revisited in greater depth and perhaps give a better idea of what the title of the book truly meant to Tolstoy. War and Peace is frequently said to be the greatest novel ever written, and it would be hard to find another that undertakes such massive subjects, offers so much depth and does so in the form of a novel. For the sheer amount of exploration found in War and Peace, it is really not that long at all.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A word about this edition, 22 Jan 2009
By 
Dan Coin (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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A word of warning: while this collector's edition appears to be decent quality, with hard binding, gold-edged paper and so on, the editing of the book itself is atrocious. There are multiple typing errors in the text and worst of all there are actually some chunks of text missing. It is obvious that very little effort was put into editing the volumes, as even a cursory read through them would have made these errors obvious.

The text size is so-so and the paper, at least in the copy I received, stuck together quite badly. The cheap price is indicative of the overall quality of this edition.
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War and Peace (Wordsworth Classics)
War and Peace (Wordsworth Classics) by Leo Tolstoy (Paperback - 5 Oct 2001)
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