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War and Peace

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  129,615 ratings  ·  5,665 reviews
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 fully realized and equally memorable characters that populate this massive chronicle. Out of this complex narrative emerges a profound examination of the i ...more
Paperback, 1424 pages
Published August 31st 2004 by Modern Library (first published 1869)
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Benjamin Grant
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Bethwareham The Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky translation that Knopf published in 2007 is the clearest version I've ever seen. They figured a way to make…moreThe Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky translation that Knopf published in 2007 is the clearest version I've ever seen. They figured a way to make the names much easier to remember. (less)
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Community Reviews

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So, I know you've all been on edge these past two months, and since I should be studying for the social work licensing exam tonight, it seems like the perfect time to put an end to your suspense.

After all my agonizing and the thoughtful suggestions below about whether I should mutilate my gorgeous hardcover Pevear and Volokhonsky translation in the interest of less hazardous subway toting.... Readers, I carried him. All 1272 pages. Every day, across five boroughs and three states, for nearly two
When I was growing up, the conventional wisdom was that War and Peace was the sine qua non of difficult books: the scope, the length, OMG the length! Conquering this Everest was The Test of whether you were a Man/Reader.

I have now read it. Thump chest and make Tarzan yell.

Actually, you know chump, big deal. The mountain really wasn't so large after all.

There are love affairs, there is a war, peace eventually returns to the Shire Russia. Sorry, got confused there for a minute with Lord of the
Dec 04, 2013 Dolors rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, anytime, NOW.
Recommended to Dolors by: My guilty conscience
Before I turned the last page of this massive volume, which had been neglected in my bookshelves for more than six years, War and Peace was a pending task in my mental reading universe knowing it to be one of the greatest Russian or maybe simply one of the greatest novels of all times.
Well, in fact, it was something else.
I have a selective memory, I don’t know whether it comes as a blessing or as a curse, that enables me to remember the most insignificant details like for instance, where and wh
Feb 23, 2011 Matt rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The type of person who cares whether a person has read <i>War and Peace</i>
Whatever else I am, I am the type of person who reads classic novels out of a sense of obligation. Also, I must admit, out of a sense of vanity. My ego, after all, is as fragile as a goldfish and requires the constant attention of a newborn baby. Every once in awhile, it needs a little boost, and the intellectual challenge of Dostoevsky or Dickens can really work wonders.

Now, I’ve been told that forcing myself to read books I don’t necessarily like is a fruitless waste of time (and that the rev
Joshua Treviño
It is difficult, in reviewing classics, to say things about them that have not been said before. It is especially difficult when those classics are part of the literary canon; and even more difficult when those classics are not mere novels, but purposeful epics. It is in this light that reviewing Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace is a challenge. The massive book — ranging from 900 to 1,500 pages, depending upon the edition — is a cornerstone of anyone’s list of all-time great literature. Strangely, fe ...more
Nilesh Kashyap
Oct 25, 2012 Nilesh Kashyap rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nilesh by: William Somerset Maugham
Not a review, and whatever is this, is incomplete due to my inability to express myself.
In childhood’s pride I said to Thee:
‘O Thou, who mad’st me of Thy breath,
Speak, Master, and reveal to me
Thine inmost laws of life and death.

‘Give me to drink each joy and pain
Which Thine eternal hand can mete,
For my insatiate soul would drain
Earth’s utmost bitter, utmost sweet.

‘Spare me no bliss, no pang of strife,
Withhold no gift or grief I crave,
The intricate lore of love and life
And mystic know
I am no longer afraid of the big ass Russian novel.* Who knew it would be so readable? The most difficult thing about it was keeping all of the characters straight, but even that was only in the beginning. By the end of the book, the characters were so fully drawn that I couldn't believe that I'd once had to rely on a cheat sheet remember who they were or what relation they had to one another.

I'm kind of peeved that I can't give this book 5 stars**. Overall, I thought it was fantastic. I even li
Jason Koivu


That was the one thing I thought was missing from Leo Tolstoy's title, War and Peace. I was wrong. Love is in the title, you just have to look for it.

Certainly there is love in peace. It is the time of children, serenity, growth. The mother peacefully raising her children. The farmer lovingly tending his fields. The elderly passing their final days in comfort surrounded by family.

But there is love in war as well. The love for one's country. Such is a person's violent attachment to their mo
Renato Magalhães Rocha
You mustn’t let Tolstoy’s classic’s reputation and length intimidate you in the least! Contrary to popular belief, it is not a hard read and you'll be surprised to see that it is quite a page turner. And here’s a tip: having some knowledge about the Napoleonic wars and the French invasion in Russia is all it takes for the war scenes to come alive and not seem like such a drag.

This is a book that deserves to be read and you’ll be glad once you conclude this enterprise - not because you're at the
This is the book that never ends.
Yes it goes on and on, my friends.
Some people started reading it not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue reading it forever just because
This is the book that never ends.
Yes it goes on and on, my friends.
Some people started reading it not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue reading it forever just because
This is the book that never ends.
Yes it goes on and on, my friends.
Some people started reading it not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue reading i
Emily May

So... I did it. I finally convinced myself to read War and Peace, partly because it's just something everyone wants to say they've done, and partly because one always needs a good excuse to procrastinate during the exam period when I should have been studying. And, you know what, I really enjoyed most of it. The novel is far less taxing than I imagined, I don't know if that's because the English translation goes easy on us non-Russians or because Tolstoy wrote it in a quite light-hearted fashion
That 5 star rating stares down at me. Does it need to be justified? Probably not … but anyway

In my seventieth year, I have finally for the first time read this novel, a book that I bought over half a century ago, proudly displayed on one book shelf after another as the years rolled by. Will I ever open it again? I surely hope so. It seems to me at this moment that I could turn the book over, open the front cover and begin reading again.

No matter what prism one looks at W&P through - sublime
I tried for five months to write something more polished, less rambling. This is all I've got:

"While he is alive, the morning is still fresh and dewy, the vampires sleep. But if the sun sets, if father Tolstoy dies and the last genius leaves - what then?"
-Alexander Blok, as Tolstoy lay dying at Astapovo

"[War and Peace] is positively what might be called a Russian Illiad. Embracing the whole epoch, it is the grandiose literary event, showcasing the gallery of great men painted by a lively brus
A Review in Three Parts:

I. The Analytical Analysis

II. The Review

Here's the thing that surprised me the most about War & Peace: it's extremely readable. It's not filled with difficult or outdated language. (At least in the P&V translation.) It doesn't have long, hard to parse sentences. The action and dialogue is fairly straight-forward. The characters become easy to follow. If you are freaked out by War & Peace because you think it's hard, it's not. Although you will have to power
The edition I read, 1300 pages, is Oxford “World’s Classics.” Now I know why… War and Peace has to be one of the most amazing books I have read. Where to begin. I guess the thing I enjoyed the most about it, and what impressed me the most, was Tolstoy’s depth of insight and perception of human nature, spanning social classes, men, women, and children. By the end you feel that you know the characters so well that you could recognize them in a crowd on the street. And there isn’t just one or two m ...more
Only in our conceited age of the popularization of knowledge – thanks to that most powerful engine of ignorance, the diffusion of printed matter – has the question of freedom of will been put on a level on which the question itself cannot exist.
Tolstoy is a much better storyteller than a thinker; in other words, no matter how hard he wants to be Borges, he's much better off gamboling in the bucolic glories of his beloved Russia. Part Two of this book's Epilogue cemented that in stone, forty pag
I sincerely doubt that I will ever read this book again, or ever feel any desire to. I can certainly see how and why it has secured its place as part of the canon, but I did not find the characters and their lives compelling enough to overcome the annoyance I felt with Tolstoy's personal vision of history and life in general.

There were moments when I came to care about what was going on in the book. I sympathized with Prince Andrey's broken heart and Pierre's search for meaning and I was genuin
EPIC. That’s the most suitable word to describe this book. The amount of pages are enough to make most people runaway, methinks. The essence, however, with the details, the characterization, the plots, the parlance (with occasional French); this book has everything needed for a great literature.

The story is Russia during the Napoleonic War. The novel has two main plots. First, the historical description on the military (and diplomatic) effort conducted during the invasion of Napoleon to Russian
A.J. Howard

I should probably just leave it at that. I know that my review of War and Peace is just about the antithesis of necessary. By raving about this book, I'm saying something equivalent to "Michael Jordan was a good basketball player" or "Richard Nixon had a decent amount of issues." This book is not only on the short list of best novels ever, it was there a century before my birth. But, hey, this thing is a beast, and it feels like a real accomplishment finishing it, so I'm going safely depo
Emma Rj
This book is bloated old piece of crap. How this even got published in the first place is beyond me, much less how it has been considered a 'classic' for years.

I had read that this was 1400 pages of Tolstoy giving his readers a dry, boring recount of the French invasion of Russia but I didn't believe it. I wish I had believed it. Not only is War and Peace a sleep-inducing lecture on way too many perspectives of this war, it also comes complete with Tolstoy's never-ending butt-in chapters that he
Chiara Pagliochini
"Si dice: le disgrazie, le sofferenze…” esclamò Pierre. “Ma se adesso, in questo stesso istante, mi domandassero: vorresti esser rimasto quello che eri prima della prigionia, oppure di nuovo, da principio, passare attraverso tutte queste cose… com’è vero Dio, un’altra volta la prigionia e la carne di cavallo! Noi crediamo che, non appena qualcosa ci sbalza fuori dalla solita carreggiata, tutto sia perduto: e, invece, soltanto allora incomincia il nuovo, il buono. Fin quando c’è vita, c’è anche f ...more
Some of War & Peace is the same old stuff I remember from Anna Karenina: huge numbers of rich people screwing each other over. But the other stuff - I guess that's the "War" stuff, although it's mostly all war, one way or another - the stuff about Napoleon surprised me because I don't think Tolstoy saw this as "historical fiction." I think he saw it as some fiction parts, and some history parts, and during the history parts he really meant for you to almost switch gears entirely. He did orig ...more
THE END. Oh, no, I never want it to end. I want it to go on forever!

Ok, so here goes. I am going to attempt a review of War and Peace in my simpleton language. But, I am so adamant about the greatness of this book that I want everyone to read it before finishing life.

"HURRAH", I finally finished War and Peace (for the second time), but THIS time I really read it and thoroughly enjoyed every word. I think when I read it at 25 it was the “challenge” aspect and didn’t really appreciate all the nuan
This book is so difficult to review; it's so vast and varied and my responses to it are vastly varied. If this turns into a sprawling mess, then it is only a dim and distorted image of the book itself, which is flawed, too.


See the complete review here:
كنت وأنا في ثانوي مهووس بالأدب الأجنبي , مجرد رؤيتي لنسخة مترجمة من أعمال العظماء كان سبب كافِ جدا بالنسبة لي أن أشتريها , ولعل السبب دا اللي خلاني وأنا في أولى جامعة أدفع 120 جنيه فى كتاب ضخم عبارة عن 4 أجزاء و2329 من الورق الأصفر اللي باين عليه القدم جدا , واللى ريحته أشبه برائحة المخدر اللذيذ القادر على تهدئتك في أشد الأوقات ضيقًا وتعصبًا .
توصف هذه الرواية عى أنها إلياذة العصر الحديث , ولكن أهي كذلك فعلا ؟
لا أعرف لأني لم أقرأ الإلياذة , ولكن الشئ الوحيد الذي أثق به أنك ستقابل ملحمة من الطراز
Since this is the 3rd time I’ve read War and Peace, I think I have some good advice for how to maximize your appreciation of it, besides being 30 years older the 3rd time.
It is a historical novel, but I think the first two times that I read it, I did so without comprehending the historical parts and only retained the plot narrative as it pertained to the characters. However to appreciate it for its full breadth, I would recommend the following:

First: know some history about Napoleon, at a minimu
The oak tree that I pass on the way into town reminds me of the scene in War and Peace in which Andrei Volkonsky passes an oak in late spring and sees himself as that tree - its branches bare even while other trees already are showing bright green leaves. He feels after his experiences in the novel up to that point old before his time and looking forward only towards the grave (view spoiler). On his return jo ...more
Apr 13, 2009 Jeb rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeb by: So far, I've only been advised against it.
Since high school, I have made references to War and Peace based on general assumptions: its length, dullness, how long it would surely take one to read it, and the degree to which the reading of it would make one want to kill oneself.

First off, I never wanted to kill myself, though it did lull me to sleep unintentionally during many a 3 a.m. subway ride. Now, what I didn't expect: it's sorta good. Like Salinger, Tolstoy uses irony to lovingly expose the flaws of his characters in a way that oft
Sep 20, 2011 Marvin marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Written for the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament

The bout is held at the house of Natalya "Natasha" Ilyinichna Rostova. Mrs. Beeton arrives with a present of clotted cream.

"How thoughtful" says The Countess Rostova. "I have prepared tea for your arrival"

"Why, Thank you, Countess", Mrs. Beeton sits on a comfortable chair as the Countess' maid pours tea.

"Please. Call me Natasha"

"This is a very cozy place, Natasha." sniffs Mrs. Beeton. "Are these scones"

"Why yes, Mrs, Beeton. I have read you
This translation deserves 5 stars -- it's both beautiful and readable. The novel itself is amazing; though the lengthy 'essay' parts of the epilogue are repetitive, the questions it raises are important ones as to how we view and should view history.

I thought I would get bogged down in the battle scenes, but to my pleasant surprise, I didn't. I did have trouble with two lengthy preparation for battle passages, however. Tolstoy obviously did his research and was passionate about what he was talki
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  • The Captain's Daughter
  • Demons
  • Rudin
  • Life and Fate
  • Children of the Arbat (Arbat Tetralogy, #1)
  • The Way We Live Now
  • Nouvelles de Petersbourg
  • Germinal (Les Rougon-Macquart, #13)
  • The Man Without Qualities
  • August 1914
  • Finnegans Wake
  • Oblomov
  • Far Away and Long Ago
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой; commonly Leo Tolstoy in Anglophone countries) was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction. Many consider To ...more
More about Leo Tolstoy...
Anna Karenina The Death of Ivan Ilych The Kreutzer Sonata Resurrection Childhood, Boyhood, Youth

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“We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.” 1626 likes
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