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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 20 March 2016
It's a cop-out I know, but it really helps having seen the TV series! The names of the characters are confusing with seemingly many variations of names for each character: formal, familial, etc. Although not every character in the book was portrayed in the series, it does give you a head start. I'm determined to finish this book this time, having started and given up previously. I find the translation rather stilted in places, but then the translator is no doubt trying to be true to Tolstoy's words rather than give a more natural free-flowing translation. It certainly manages to magically evoke the era he was describing.
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on 4 July 2013
A book I have been meaning to read for many years. Well worth the effort but annoyingly repetitious in places. Interesting aspects include the following: the reliability of so-called historical accounts, the study of cause and effect, the paradox of man, his inhumanity and his potential for love and altruism. I also found effective Tolstoy's analogies with the natural world e.g. the role of bees.
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on 15 January 2013
Ah the good old Tolstoy books.

Although the novel appears to be infinite, Lev/Leo Tolstoy has the ability to captivate with his style of witing and details.
Again. The book was purchased as a present.

The layout of the book is a bit "funny", but tolerable.

Will recommend the book for the quality of the reading.
Would not recommend it for the poor layout and minuscule sfont size of the text.
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on 6 December 2014
This is the second time I have read this book and it is equally as rewarding as the initial read. The characters have form and the times they live through provide the substance. A real treat and if God spares me, I would read it again in a decades time.
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on 15 January 2016
Obviously the book is wonderful. I had to get a Kindle version because the print in my forty-year old paperback version is too small for me to read! But you get what you pay for in some ways - this being a free version, I expected some errors.
There are repeated references to the Due, instead of Duc, where even the use of Duke would have been preferable,
But renaming Andrey as Andrew?
I am not very far into the book, but if the mistakes continue at this rate, I may have to investigate a better edition.
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on 16 October 2008
W&P is set in early 19th century Russia during the Napoleonic wars and traces the fortunes of several society families (Bolkonskys, Rostovs, Bezukhovs, Kuragins) and other individuals as they carry on with all that living entailed during those turbulent times. We also come face to face with the Emperor himself and the Tsar and countless historical figures. Needless to say the wars with Napoleon are a big part of the book. About 500 pages is devoted to the second war that led to Napoleon's occupation of Moscow in 1812. On the flip side W&P journeys through various love affairs (with cliff endings worthy of a good soap), the impetuous demands of the old, the dreams and naivete of youth, dreams of glory and fears of dying, courage and cowardice, wealth and poverty, patriotism, loss and despair, hope and rebirth. In short a compendium of life.

Woven in everywhere is Tolstoy's own take about war as an undertaking "contrary to human reason and to the whole of human nature". As Tolstoy sees it our best laid grand plans invariably come to naught. Life is one vast experiment of Murphy's Law. The Iraq war is a blunt reminder. Here's Prince Andrei talking about his father: "My father also built at Balds Hill (the family home) and thought it was his place, his land, his air but Napoleon came and, not knowing of his existence brushed him aside like a chip of wood". For me, this one sentence encapsulates one of Tolstoy's two themes: that we are at the mercy of life's "chance" events.

The second theme fleshed out in the epilogue is that historians may ascribe history to the actions of historical figures but the real engine of history is divinity. That's hard for an atheist to digest.

Should you read this book? Well it is considered one of the greatest novels ever written. This translation delights and Tolstoy is a master story teller if a bit saccharine and preachy at times. Yes, you should read it.
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on 8 February 2016
This is the second time for me to read this novel, at 19 ,and now at 75. I have only just started it and am am loving it,helped by the superlative TV adaptation which enables me to recognise the characters. I have only read the first 2 books so far but am totally gripped.
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on 9 January 2016
What an epic. At times hard to get through and not fall asleep, at others simply too good to put down despite its massive scale. A true mastercraft. Beautiful language, descritpions, musings. It was a long journey, but definitely worth the effort
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on 1 September 2016
I don't know anything about this book, I just sit in Costa coffee with this and my Macbook all day reading the first 10 pages repeatedly to reel in the gash, when I manage to strike up a conversation with some tottie I just recite a top review of this book from this website. 0% success rate so far.
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on 14 March 2013
No point in repeating countless opinions. It is a joy from page to page with the added bonus of exceptional historical insight and cynicism (of people and their influence on events).
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