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War and Peace (World's Classics) Hardcover – 1 Dec 1933

4.3 out of 5 stars 695 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Dec 1933
£69.42 £5.16
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1738 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Revised edition (Dec. 1933)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192508989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192508980
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 10.4 x 5.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (695 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,291,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Among the great novels of the world, 'War and Peace' has long held pride of place because it fulfills, in its seamless interweaving of the historical and the personal, and its genius in registering the entire scale of human life, all the promise latent in the art of fiction itself. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Nikolai Tolstoy is a highly recognized and acclaimed historian and biographer. He was the sole beneficiary of his stepfather's will and is one of the trustees of O'Brian's estate. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback
Tolstoy writes of people and places so clearly and plainly that you may ‘know’ them better than your own memories. Something I remember as clear as day from my first, but hopefully not last, traversal of War & Peace, is the air within each scene! I don’t recall Tolstoy mentioning it once; it’s simply there, before my memory, clear as day! Amazing! Before you get to that level of absorption however you need to get to grips with two things; both require nominal effort but that nominal effort is repaid a thousandfold, at least.

The two things are: -

1. Slow down. However fast your mind is moving, it’s too quick for the pace of War and Peace’s opening and, rest assured, this is an opening to savour (after all, it must be at least a quarter of the book). If you’ve just finished Proust, you may need to ease up a gear, but no more than that.

2. Keep one finger in the page, near the front, that guides you through the three versions of each character’s name that are regularly used, with a brief description of who they are. This will feel clumsy for the first hour or two, then easier, then you won’t notice and THEN, oh glorious day, you will know each character quite clearly in your mind’s eye. After this, new characters are quickly assimilated.

Finally, why bother? Two reasons: - Pierre Bezukhov and Natasha Rostova,

One more reason; this book has perhaps the funniest scene in all world literature; and to fully appreciate it; you need to read War and Peace first (well, as much of War and Peace as precedes it; which is a good deal)!

You’ll never think of Russia in quite the same way again but be warned; if you investigate Russia’s history, your heart will be broken; Tolstoy’s was, perhaps, breaking as he wrote this. This only makes the bone-dry wit of the book that much more affecting.

War and Peace is one of the reasons you were born literate in this world; don’t pass up the opportunity to be ennobled by it.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the novel of all novels but it is not an easy read. Unlike an other reviewer, I find this translation to be excellent. The French text is translated in footnotes on every page and you soon get used to this approach. (It gives the historical flavour of how the aristocracy at the time spoke French with varying degrees of fluency.) We are all so used to instantly consumable fiction that we must retrain ourselves as readers to digest this monumental novel in bitesize pieces. Both the Notes and the Historical Index are a useful addition. I am sure that other translations are also admirable but you cannot go wrong with this.
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Format: Hardcover
Having not read War and Peace before, and being fluent in neither Russian nor French, I am not qualified to compare and contrast this translation with other translations. But coming to this great novel for the first time I found this version to be an immensely readable book and it was with great sadness that I finished it. While others might concentrate on the pros and cons of this version against others, for those who have never read War and Peace before it is the story itself that is so fantastic. I was completely transported to Napoleonic times.

One comment on the translation itself though - in many places I found it mellifluous. 'Kapli kapali. Shyol tikhii govor. Loshadi zarzhali i podralis. Khrapel kto-to.' - 'Drops dripped. Quiet talk went on. Horses neighed and scuffed. Someone snored.' Fantastic.

And as others have noted the hardback is a wonderfully tactile object. Well done Clays and thank you Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
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