Philip's Reviews > War and Peace

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
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's review
May 20, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: classics, jordabecker-book-club, jordabecker-nat

My biggest fear in reviewing this book - especially giving it three stars:

Star ratings online - anything below a five means crappy

I'd like to point out again, that this is not the case. The goodreads star system is based on how much you liked the book. And I liked it. I loved a lot of it. But lets be honest, people read this book to say they've read it. (Or because someone in their book club picked it...)

Here's a quote from the book that I took as a metaphor for the book:
"A man on a thousand-mile walk has to forget his ultimate goal and say to himself every morning, 'Today I'm going to cover twenty-five miles and then rest up and sleep'" (pp 1143).

And last, before I get into a really short review of a really long book, I wanted to share a quote from Peanuts. I'm not normally a huge fan of Peanuts, but I'll make an exception for the film Happy New Year Charlie Brown. Here's the quote:

Linus: When Leo Tolstoy was writing War and Peace, his wife Sonya copied it for him 7 times, and she did it by candlelight... AND with a dip pen. And sometimes she had to use a magnifying glass to make out what he had written,

Charlie Brown: Linus, I really-

Linus: -HAD to do it after their child had been put to bed, and the servants had gone to their garrets, and it was quiet in the house. Just think, Charlie Brown - she wrote the book 7 times with a DIP PEN. and you're telling me you can't even read it once?

If you click on the link, you can watch it on youtube. 1:20 is the quote and some funny dialogue about book reports written from dust jackets. Not that any of us have ever tried to pull THAT one.

And now for the short review:

I went into this completely cold. I didn't know what war this was about - or if it was a fictional war. I knew very little about this book, except that it epitomizes big books. Although it's not the biggest book in the world, it is the gold standard.

The war is Napoleonic France invading Russia - early 1800s. Incidentally, here's some other tidbits you may not be aware of: Beethoven's 3rd Symphony was originally dedicated to Napoleon, but then Beethoven tore it up because he thought Napoleon was a d-bag. (His words, not mine.) Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture is about THEIR War of 1812... not ours.

Essentially, the book follows a few upper crust families through this time period.

Bada bing, bada boom. War and Peace in two and a half easy paragraphs. That's like, 5 pages of notes summed up right there. And I feel despicable.
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Quotes Philip Liked

Leo Tolstoy
“A man on a thousand mile walk has to forget his goal and say to himself every morning, 'Today I'm going to cover twenty-five miles and then rest up and sleep.”
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy
“I don't think badly of people. I like everybody, and I'm sorry for everybody.”
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
tags: sonya

Leo Tolstoy
“It's too easy to criticize a man when he's out of favour, and to make him shoulder the blame for everybody else's mistakes.”
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy
“A battle is won by the side that is absolutely determined to win. Why did we lose the battle of Austerlitz? Our casualties were about the same as those of the French, but we had told ourselves early in the day that the battle was lost, so it was lost.”
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy
“It was all so strange, so unlike what he had been looking forward to.”
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
tags: war

Reading Progress

May 20, 2012 – Shelved
June 15, 2012 – Started Reading
June 15, 2012 –
page 27
June 22, 2012 –
page 220
15.45% "Much, much better and easier than I thought it would be."
June 30, 2012 –
page 329
23.1% "Volume II Part I Chapter III. Still captivating, but sometimes it's easier if I differentiate by saying Russian or French rather than by trying to remember each of the characters..."
July 3, 2012 –
page 402
28.23% "We're getting there."
July 8, 2012 –
page 571
July 31, 2012 –
page 627
August 2, 2012 –
page 716
50.28% "Uggg... some characters are really prissy. Yeah, you know who I mean."
August 7, 2012 –
page 911
August 17, 2012 –
page 1259
88.41% "I'm on the first epilogue. ...I hear it's among the roughest parts of the book - topped only by the second epilogue."
August 19, 2012 –
page 1424
100.0% "TA DA!"
August 21, 2012 – Finished Reading
September 12, 2012 – Shelved as: classics
September 12, 2012 – Shelved as: jordabecker-book-club
February 29, 2016 – Shelved as: jordabecker-nat

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Philip BAM! Everest, here I come.

message 2: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Krecsmar How goes the slog through W/P?

Philip Timothy wrote: "How goes the slog through W/P?"

I've fallen a little behind. I'm on page 627/c.1400 and I need to be done by 8/19. I'm going to buckle down.

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