War And Peace

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War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men.

As Napoleon's army invades, Tolstoy brilliantly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and...

Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of War And Peace from the world's leading experts.

Niall Ferguson As a middle aged man, I react differently to Tolstoy than I did when I first read War and Peace at about 15. (Source)

Vanora Bennett Although it was published in 1869, War and Peace deals with events half a century earlier. This makes it one of the first historical novels – and, all these years later, it’s still the greatest. (Source)

Tendai Huchu Tolstoy does something which is very unusual in War and Peace and which, for his time, was pretty profound: he sees the conditions of the ordinary soldier on the battlefield. (Source)

Martin Sixsmith Tolstoy also has a view of history that he sets out very clearly in the second epilogue of War and Peace…his view is that politicians don’t make history, the great men don’t make history, the writers and journalists don’t make history though they all take credit for it post facto. Actually, what makes history is the work of the people. It’s a demotic theory of history, though not necessarily a socialist view. (Source)

Andrei Maylunas One doesn’t have to invent the bicycle, there is one: it’s War and Peace. It’s about how Russia won the Napoleonic wars, and moved into the first row of nations who dealt with European history. It’s set during the peak of Russian culture, the age of Pushkin, who created the modern Russian language. It’s the peak…The only thing I would recommend to modern readers is to skip all those parts – which are completely separate from the other parts of the book – where Tolstoy is philosophising about the role of the individual in history. It’s maybe 15 per cent of the book, in separate chapters, and I... (Source)

Cécile Fabre One of the key questions that Tolstoy asks in the appendix is the central question of War and Peace: how can we explain the fact that, on orders, millions of people go out and kill one another, when they know that killing another human being is morally wrong? (Source)

Stella Tillyard The reason I chose War and Peace is because it is the greatest novel of all time and I still think it is even after reading it five times….As a novelist, when you begin to write in this era it is like the elephant in the room, especially if you love it as much as I do. Tolstoy isn’t just the great chronicler of what it felt like to be under fire, he also has the ability to make us feel the emotion of his characters with a single word or gesture. (Source)

Kate McLoughlin Tolstoy didn’t fight in the Napoleonic wars, but he did fight in the Crimean war, so he drew on his experiences in that when he wrote War and Peace. (Source)

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