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War and Peace

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  286,399 ratings  ·  13,124 reviews
In Russia's struggle with Napoleon, Tolstoy saw a tragedy that involved all mankind. Greater than a historical chronicle, War and Peace is an affirmation of life itself, `a complete picture', as a contemporary reviewer put it, `of everything in which people find their happiness and greatness, their grief and humiliation'. Tolstoy gave his personal approval to this translat ...more
Paperback, Oxford World's Classics, 1392 pages
Published June 25th 1998 by Oxford University Press (first published 1865)
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Roshan Marlon Richard Pevear Larissa Volokhonsky ( Translation Date-2007) (Vintage Classics)
Anthony Briggs ( Translation Date-2005) (Penguin Classics)
Rosemary Edmon…more
Richard Pevear Larissa Volokhonsky ( Translation Date-2007) (Vintage Classics)
Anthony Briggs ( Translation Date-2005) (Penguin Classics)
Rosemary Edmonds (Translation Date-1957)
Aylmer and Louise Maude (Translation Date-1922)
Constance Garnett (Translation Date-1904)

These are the common translations you can find. I have tried chapter comparisons and actually read the book, and found Anthony Briggs one is the excellent version when it comes to the beauty of the language. Penguin used Rosemary Edmonds translation for almost 50 years and switched to Anthony Briggs one. P&L one is alright, but I felt its kind of flat, but sentence flow is good. Aylmer and Louise one is easy to read. Constance Garnett and Aylmer Louise translations are in public domain now. Garnett one is very readable but has some minimal errors here and there.

People often talk about faithfulness to the original Russian. But if a sentence is capable of reproducing 100% of the original meaning, that's what matters. When Tolstoy was trying to make a joke, translation should give us an appropriate joke.

So if I rate these translations, number one for me is Anthony Briggs one. Second Aylmer and Louise Maude, third Richard Pevear Larissa Volokhonsky. (less)
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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
May 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Who is right and who is wrong? No one! But if you are alive - live: tomorrow you'll die as I might have died an hour ago. And is it worth tormenting oneself, when one has only a moment of life in comparison with eternity?" ...more
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Aug 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The type of person who cares whether a person has read <i>War and Peace</i>
Shelves: classic-novels
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
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that can be life-changing. I read this as a teenager and I remember exactly where I was (sitting on my bed, in my grandmother's house, in southern Germany) when I finished it. I must have spent an hour just staring out the window, in awe of the lives I'd just led, the experiences I'd just had.


I'm now re-reading this, enjoying it immensely and no doubt appreciating it much more than I did the first time. Tolstoy has the most amazing ability to make us feel, when he
Ahmad Sharabiani
(Book 857 From 1001 books) - ВОИНА И МИР = Voyna i Mir = War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, which is regarded as a central work of world literature and one of Tolstoy's finest literary achievements.

The novel begins in July 1805 in Saint Petersburg, at a soirée given by Anna Pavlovna Scherer—the maid of honour and confidante to the dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna.

Many of the main characters are introduced as they enter the salon.

Pierre (Pyotr
Emily May
May 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Ahmad Sharabiani
(Book 857 from 1001 books) - War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, which is regarded as a central work of world literature and one of Tolstoy's finest literary achievements.

Tolstoy said "War and Peace is not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less a historical chronicle." Large sections, especially the later chapters, are philosophical discussion rather than narrative. Tolstoy also said that "the best Russian literature does not conf
Adam Dalva
Feb 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this frightening, isolated time, let me direct you to War and Peace. People resist this book - they do it because it's something of a punch line as a monolithic, difficult novel. But this is one of the frothiest soap operas of a novel that I know of, with far more narrative propulsion than the excellent (but sometimes slow) ANNA KARENINA. Two nations at war - great world leaders and generals, yes, but also trench life, and even more so, relevantly, now, the way war alters lives at home.

The t
Holy cow! I am done! Not sure what to say . . . I feel like I should write a 1000 page review, but I will keep it short.

I finished the book while a passenger in a mini-van stuck in horrible Atlanta traffic.

The book was not quite as readable as some other BIG books I have read, but still pretty good. What amazed me is how few specific events occurred during the 1000+ pages - Tolstoy was just really detailed in describing the events. Only a few times, though, did I feel like it was too much.

Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”

„War and Peace“ is one of the best books I‘ve ever read. It‘s a work of realism - not solely historic fiction, a philosophical essay nor a historical chronicle but something in between. The plot alters between the battle fields of the Napoleonic war and the noble Russian society. In 1805-1820 Napoleon’s French forces spread across Europe and threatened the balance of power. Russia responded by declaring war against France and
Joey Woolfardis
Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003.

I read this in tandem with the spectacular BBC adaptation and I will say now that my enjoyment of this piece of literature has been heavily influenced by that wonderful piece of televisual art. It just has. It's the same story, just told a different way. I will refrain from telling you to get over it.

Now, the book. It was written well, very well, in terms of all the stuff that should be done well: pu
Jason Koivu
Aug 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, fiction


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
Brett C
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a lengthy read but worth it's weight. To put it simple: there's war, there's peace, and there's human spirit set in early 19th century Russia. The foreground plot follows multiple key family-characters (Bezukhov, Bolkonsky, Rostov, and various historical figures) their interactions and interpersonal conflicts. The background plot is Napoleon's invasion into Russia.

Tolstoy can paint a picture in his storytelling. There was a romantic troika ride written a snowy-winter landscape:
500th review!!!

The "Abridged Classics for Lazy People" comic summarizes "War & Peace" as follows: "Everyone is sad. It snows." Hmmm. Accurate, but I have a bit more to say about it than they do. This book has left me full of thoughts and words the way few books have done before.

Though to be fair, how exactly is one supposed to review this? This book might be titled “War & Peace”, but it’s also about the human experience as a whole: the high, the lows, the beauties, the agonies and pretty much e
Kenny McCool
The strongest of all warriors are these two; Time and Patience.
War and Peace ~~ Leo Tolstoy

Much earlier in this year, I was speaking to my friend, Srđan. I had not come up with a reading goal for 2021. It was during that conversation that I decided I would make my 2021 goal to read big classics, delving into my bucket list of books unread & inhabit a new world each month. During January, I read all four books of The Little Women Series . In February, I took on WAR AND PEACE.

I have found trem
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 brush o
All the stars in the sky are nowhere near enough stars I could give this book!

Give me every word from every language in the world, and I still won't be able to express my everlasting love for the words of Leo Tolstoy!
So, I'll let Tolstoy speak for himself...
"Pierre was right when he said that one must believe in the possibility of happiness in order to be happy, and I now believe in it. Let the dead bury the dead, but while I'm alive, I must live and be happy."
"The whole world is divid
Jul 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
One commentator of War and Peace wryly remarked,” war and peace … that about covers everything.”

That is as succinct a book report as can be given to a work of this magnitude. This novel does contain just about everything; war and peace, battles, hospitals, military strategy, love and romance, marriage, estrangement and divorce, death, birth, families, relationships, friends, enemies, hatred, jealousy, fear, gambling, dueling, hunting, dances, music, religion and politics, mysticism, philosophy,
Just finished my second reading of War and Peace. Couldn't have loved it better. Maturity and knowledge of the times certainly helped my enjoyment. It didn't feel as long as it actually is. I loved all Tolstoy's meticulously created characters.

I hope to write more soon.

Not to be missed!

I read Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace a long, long time ago. However, I still remember how I enjoyed this epic, even if I might have been too young and lacked the knowledge about Russian history that would have
Violet wells
I always believed War and Peace was one of my three favourite novels. Now, after reading it a second time, I wouldn't include it in my favourite 30. Without question, to my mind, Anna Karenina is the better novel.

On the positive side, it's astonishing how well Tolstoy knows all his characters and how vibrantly he brings them alive on the page. There's so much of life in this book. It's a marvel how brilliantly he dramatizes many of life's key emotions. The first four hundred or so pages are a j
Cait Poytress
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
Manuel Antão
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2000
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Anti-literary-flab: "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy

I was standing at an airport lounge as a teenager many years ago, and suddenly realised I had no books to read for my family holiday. I was a SF geek at the time (still am, but I’m reading other stuff now), but had read everything that W.H. Smiths airport bookshelf could show me. In desperation and dread I turned to the classics... I'd read Frankenstein and other English literary classi
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 sto
Kevin Ansbro
I read this yonks ago as a teenager, while wishing to appear more intelligent than I actually was. I even seem to remember contemplating the wearing of lensless spectacles at one point!
Set against a backdrop of Napolean's invasion of Mother Russia, Tolstoy delves deep into the collective human soul of Russian high society to bring us a sweeping soap opera that alternates between the dissimilarity of costumed balls and muddy battlefields.
What is unforgivably true is that I periodically skipped en
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 though
Jul 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
As masterworks go this one checks
All the boxes a lit prof expects.
But a colt seeking brio
Might've wished author Leo
Had condensed one called
War, Peace, and Sex.

I once submitted a limerick to Poetry Magazine, and got a letter back saying I'm Bard for Life (only they used what must have been an Old English spelling: "barred").

All kidding aside, I really did read this back in my student days. I may have skimmed 100 pages of battle scenes, but felt at the time at least, that I could count it as done
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
Sep 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Tolstoyan masterpiece is one of the best-written books on War and its effect on people's lives. The War is the Napoleonic war where Russia was invaded by a strong French army conquering Moscow, and the subsequent defeat and flight of the conquering army. Although some of the previous battles such as Austerlitz have been included, the story's "War" was mainly centered on the 1812 Napoleonic campaign. The Peace is somewhat ambiguous but can be surmised as the everyday life of the upper-class ...more
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Catching up on Cl...: 7~War & Peace: Vol 3, Book 9: Spoilers 13 123 Sep 16, 2021 10:19AM  
Oldtimer - Klasik...: Savaş ve Barış: Mayıs - Ağustos 2021 Eski Klasik Okuması! 90 108 Sep 11, 2021 01:15PM  
Translations 7 71 Sep 01, 2021 01:10AM  
Any recommendations of other Russian novels? 64 258 Sep 01, 2021 01:07AM  
I want to read the longest translation,which is it? 7 80 Sep 01, 2021 01:02AM  
English version of ' War and Peace' 2 27 Sep 01, 2021 12:58AM  
Best Translation? 6 77 Sep 01, 2021 12:55AM  

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Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой|18479204; most appropriately used Liev Tolstoy; 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 ...more

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