I have always wanted to read this book, just to say I did. I thought I was in for a long haul, but the first half has flown by! The narrator is excellent. There are very many characters and it seems he has a distinctive voice for each! Don't get me wrong, there are boring parts and it IS confusing in the beginning to remember all the characters, but pay close attention at first and you will recall them as time goes on. I even took a break halfway through for another book. I actually was happy to return to this one! Very well narrated, I think it makes all the difference. (the Peace parts are more interesting than the War parts, mostly)
Amazing. So much detail into the thoughts, feelings, what is said, what is not said, intentions, interactions, expressions, body language; comming of age, dissapointments, growing, learning, virtue, vice, scheming, love, forgiveness, desire, so much more. This is a book about life. This is why I love the classics. An excellent narration as well. Perfect score.
War and Peace is certainly one of those books everyone should read/listen to … I first read it about 15 years ago and was duly impressed; but like all fine works of art - it get’s better with the second time thru. This particular Narrator (Neville Jason) is simply amazing! Do yourself the favor of listening to him read the story. You won’t regret it.
Thoreau's 'Walden' and Ayn Rand's 25th anniversary introduction to 'The Fountainhead' summarize my library well.
This is my first reading of W&P; I just started the second volume. This Naxos/Jason production is near flawless: narration, fidelity, production quality. Jason may be the best narrator I have ever heard (fifty titles over two years), and this Maude translation has me plenty entertained. I can keep up with the book at 1.85x playback--it took me a little over three weeks to finish the first volume. I bought Oxford's paperback of the Maude translation (http://goo.gl/BW50SD) to thumb through at bedtime, which comes with battlefield maps (!) and pages (upon pages!) of historical footnotes--the book is easily worth the extra ten bucks to supplement your Audible experience.
I'll hold my thoughts about the story itself until I complete the entire novel. This book is stupid long, and I'm loving every minute of it. I can hardly wait to see what Volume 2 has in store.
War and Peace is a marvelous work by one the world's greatest novelists. The narration is superb. You simply can't go wrong with this.
The narrator does a decent job of making his voice vary from character to character and his pace is well suited for the book. I'm not a fan of buying two volumes instead of one, but it's definitely worth it.
My journey through War and Peace is over, and the 62 hours (Vol 1+2) was a worthwhile and rewarding journey. I won't add to what so many others have said about Tolstoy's brilliant work, but I did 2 extra things that added a great deal of understanding, depth and perspective:
First, the book is famous for having lots of characters and different story lines, so I listened to many of the chapters 2 or even 3 times. I was surprised at how many little things I didn't get the first time, so this added to the enjoyment (not to mention that I was afraid of getting lost). And the 62 hours ended up at around 100, for me at least. I loved them all.
Secondly, I did Internet searches and there is a lot of W&P background material that is helpful: I printed a list of characters, read the Wikipedia analysis of the book (there are many more) to give me a big overview of where things were going, read a little more about Napolean, and pulled up maps of the various Russian cities.
This paid big dividends in understanding the history and times. Tolstoy gave us a novel from the Russian perspective here, and not a history book, so he often assumes that we know things of Russia in the early 1800's. But we don't.
For example, the French army was starving, freezing, sick, depleted and in tatters well before they reached Moscow, but the we don't hear much of this until they are in full-scale retreat late in the book.
This informal research is fun during your read, when it's time to take a break. Like now.
A great thing about audiobooks is I find I'm able to get through lengthy classics I wouldn't have tackled otherwise. Neville Jason made it easy for me to love this novel, making characters so real that it felt like I was watching a movie. There's plenty of action. But what's more surprising is how fresh Tolstoy's observations on people and human nature--about politics, love, and the difficulty of living up to our own ideals--are today. His dry humor would be right at home on Letterman. Kudos also to the production team. Jason obviously doesn't read this all in one sitting, but I almost never noticed the transition between takes that has been a mild distraction in other audiobooks. Great job!
Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.
I read and reread this book and Neville Jason does an excellent job narrating this book. This is a classic worth reading and this narration worth the listen to. The last few chapters could be missed as Tolstoy puts his own bent on the forces of history, but if you are a student of history, you need to know this. Otherwise, this book is entertaining, surprising easy to read or listen to and a joy to have in your heart. Great stuff this.
The many interesting characters and stories, the contrast in theme between their presence in vivid battlefield scenes and peacetime pursuits, their varied struggles with the great questions of life’s purpose, moral obligations to one’s fellow man, and the path to worldly happiness and spiritual peace all make this work both great and fascinating. With this book I feel I have expanded my circle of understanding to now include a number of 19th Century Russians who have shared their most intimate thoughts and feelings with me. They are described and presented in this book by a master literary craftsman who has portrayed them as real life characters, including all of their faults and foibles.
Tolstoy’s frequent background commentaries are part of the work. They are excellent and lend greater depth to the story. The narrator for this edition is also excellent. You will gain from this book not just an enriching personal experience, but a greater understanding of Russian history and sensibilities emerging from the great struggles against Napoleon. A major time commitment, but well worth your time.