War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
(Oxford World's Classics)

79%

14 Critic Reviews

...there is something emphatic and pedagogical about Tolstoy's storytelling; he is teaching even when telling a tale. He is simple and direct and emphatic – sometimes he seems more practical and childlike...
-Guardian

Synopsis

'If life could write, it would write like Tolstoy.' Isaac Babel

Tolstoy's epic masterpiece intertwines the lives of private and public individuals during the time of the Napoleonic wars and the French invasion of Russia. The fortunes of the Rostovs and the Bolkonskys, of Pierre, Natasha, and Andrei, are intimately connected with the national history that is played out in parallel with their lives. Balls and soirées alternate with councils of war and the machinations of statesmen and generals, scenes of violent battles with everyday human passions in
a work whose extraordinary imaginative power has never been surpassed. The prodigious cast of characters, both great and small, seem to act and move as if connected by threads of destiny as the novel relentlessly questions ideas of free will, fate, and providence. Yet Tolstoy's portrayal of marital
relations and scenes of domesticity is as truthful and poignant as the grand themes that underlie them.

In this revised and updated version of the definitive and highly acclaimed Maude translation, Tolstoy's genius and the power of his prose are made newly available to the contemporary reader.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
 

About Leo Tolstoy

See more books from this Author
Count Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9, 1828, in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia. Orphaned at nine, he was brought up by an elderly aunt and educated by French tutors until he matriculated at Kazan University in 1844. In 1847, he gave up his studies and, after several aimless years, volunteered for military duty in the army, serving as a junior officer in the Crimean War before retiring in 1857. In 1862, Tolstoy married Sophie Behrs, a marriage that was to become, for him, bitterly unhappy. His diary, started in 1847, was used for self-study and self-criticism; it served as the source from which he drew much of the material that appeared not only in his great novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), but also in his shorter works. Seeking religious justification for his life, Tolstoy evolved a new Christianity based upon his own interpretation of the Gospels. Yasnaya Polyana became a mecca for his many converts At the age of eighty-two, while away from home, the writer suffered a break down in his health in Astapovo, Riazan, and he died there on November 20, 1910.
 
Published October 14, 2010 by OUP Oxford. 1390 pages
Genres: History, War, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Political & Social Sciences, Romance, Action & Adventure. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for War and Peace
All: 14 | Positive: 12 | Negative: 2

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by James Wood on Aug 01 2014

...there is something emphatic and pedagogical about Tolstoy's storytelling; he is teaching even when telling a tale. He is simple and direct and emphatic – sometimes he seems more practical and childlike...

Read Full Review of War and Peace (Oxford World's... | See more reviews from Guardian

Open Letters Monthly

Above average
Reviewed by Steve Donoghue on Aug 27 2014

...a great monstrous living monument, a thing that is so brutally and ineluctably itself that its readers are presented with two and only two options: quit after the first thirty pages, or undergo the entire book, as a moral, even as a physical thing that happens to the reader.

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Patheos

Good
Reviewed by Paul D. Miller on Jan 03 2013

Tolstoy’s minute observation of manners gives these long passages their interest: he is able to enter into people’s worlds and make them come alive...

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The Australian

Good
Reviewed by Peter Craven on Jun 11 2011

The astonishing thing about War and Peace is that it captivates like a ripping yarn but the characters are real and the emotions generated in this immense saga of Russian life during the Napoleonic Wars (culminating in Napoleon's invasion of Russia) have a breathtaking reality...

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Luxury Reading

Excellent
Reviewed by Maria Kruk on Jul 05 2013

I believe that Leo Tolstoy wished to introduce the history from different viewpoints...Obviously, War and Peace is a grand epopee and another master piece from Leo Tolstoy.

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http://www.bookdrum.com

Good
on Aug 19 2014

As soon as you begin War and Peace, you never want it to end. The reader is swept into the glamourous world of the Napoleonic Wars and imperial Russian society, where the focus shifts from the intimate to the epic and back again...

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Rebecca Reads

Above average
Reviewed by Rebecca Reid on Jan 18 2011

I am grateful for the storyline. I kept reading because I wanted to know how the every-day people (the upper class, at least) survived and thrived after tragedy. I kept reading because I wanted the satisfaction of resolution and happiness.

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Literary Exploration

Excellent
Reviewed by Michael Kitto on Mar 20 2014

I loved this book; it is a roller-coaster of emotions and philosophical ideas. I’ve only scratched the surface of what is happening in this novel and then wrote a small amount of what I discovered. I can’t imagine ever being able to fully understand the brilliance of Tolstoy and War and Peace.

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She Reads Novels

Above average
on Aug 19 2014

I didn’t think War and Peace was a particularly difficult book to read (I’m actually finding writing about it much more difficult!) and while it was certainly long, I have read other books of similar length.

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Literary Treats

Good
on Jan 19 2012

Tolstoy does talk quite a bit about his ideas on history, and I can certainly imagine long academic discussions about these passages. However, it was the characters that kept War and Peace real for me.

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The Book Stop

Good
Reviewed by curlygeek04 on Feb 22 2012

After many months of reading War and Peace, I finally finished it. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely, for most of the book. I loved the way Tolstoy developed his characters. I had a lot more trouble with the pages and pages of military strategy that involved none of the main characters.

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ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

Good
Reviewed by Lisa Hill on Mar 15 2009

There are very occasional clunky bits in the translation but overall it’s very good. The hardback edition that I had also has a reasonable size font, which is important for comfortable reading. Highly recommended!

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http://roofbeamreader.com

Good
on Dec 11 2010

...still, the characters themselves, if you can keep pace with them, are all extraordinarily well developed. Tolstoy clearly knows each of his characters deeply...

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Bookworm1858

Below average
Reviewed by Bookworm1858 on Dec 31 2013

...I didn't think it was that great. I can think of so many more classics I've read and liked more, possibly because they more closely hew to the format of a traditional novel...

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Reader Rating for War and Peace
82%

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