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War and Peace (Modern Library) Hardcover – 1 Jun 1994

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1312 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Inc; New edition edition (1 Jun. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679600841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679600848
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 5.6 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 865,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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

"From the Trade Paperback edition."

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

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

From the Inside Flap

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 characters in this massive chronicle--all of them fully realized and equally memorable. 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." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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By A Customer on 25 Aug. 1999
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Like, I am sure, countless people who are finally getting around to reading War and Peace now, in the early months of 2016, I have been spurred by watching the BBC production that had just finished. I determined, at the last minute, to take the book with me on a recent skiing holiday, and tried to find a version that had "whispersync", which is Amazon/Audible's name for the narration, voiced by an actor, which is synced to the words of a book. In the few minutes I had to make this last minute purchase I could not find one, so ended up buying separate audio and text versions of War and Peace. The unintended benefit of this has been the ability to compare he translation of this version with the audiobook one.

This has been an interesting experience - and odd too, as both appear to have been translated by the same person, Constance Garnett. She died in 1946, and I can only imagine that if this is indeed the case, her translation for the audiobook has been "modernised" in some way. In any event, it serves as a reminder as to how important the translation is when reading a book written in a foreign language.
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By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 1 July 2005
Format: Paperback
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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