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War and Peace
Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude.
Epic historical novel by Leo Tolstoy, originally published as Voyna i mir in 1865-69. This panoramic study of early 19th-century Russian society, noted for its mastery of realistic detail and variety of psychological analysis, is generally regarded as one of the world's greatest novels. War and Peace is primarily concerned with the histories of five aristocratic families--particularly the Bezukhovs, the Bolkonskys, and the Rostovs--the members of which are portrayed against a vivid background of Russian social life during the war against Napoleon (1805-14). The theme of war, however, is subordinate to the story of family existence, which involves Tolstoy's optimistic belief in the life-asserting pattern of human existence. The novel also sets forth a theory of history, concluding that there is a minimum of free choice; all is ruled by an inexorable historical determinism.
I read War and Peace as I travelled on the Trans-Siberian Express five years ago. Totally appropriate to read while passing through areas to which Moscow dissidents fled and who are mentioned by Tolstoy.--Submitted by Anonymous
It starts in beautiful Russia, with Anna. A maid. You will love the characters and everything about it. I am only a kid and I love it. It is unique and fun. It's really long, but it is worth it.--Submitted by book helper
War and peace set over two centuries ago is true to the human spirit in all our abstract and very human concerns. Centered around Russia's aristocracy during the Napoleonic wars, the epic tale travels through the heart of Russia in this most trying time. Its beauty however is in the contrasts of Tolstoy's themes that compliment rather than fight each other as the title itself confirms. A beautiful fusion of historical facts and novelty, of the endurance of man's highest qualities amidst suffering, the prevalance of societal concerns amidst war, the beauty of death amidst life, man's hungry search for meaning, the illusion of power amidst the greater forces that govern man, of love and the realism of life. It is no wonder that Tolstoy's work has not only endured the ages but has also risen above them. The thousand plus pages are unfelt but they simply move forth like a beautiful musical piece.--Submitted by Chiedza
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