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Erez

Rehovot, Israel | Member Since 2007

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HELPFUL VOTES
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  • 360 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2014
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  • War and Peace

    • UNABRIDGED (60 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (1089)
    Performance
    (562)
    Story
    (556)

    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 clearly seen in the multitude of characters in this massive chronicle, all of them fully realized and equally memorable.

    Diana says: "Glad I finally decided to read it"
    "Amazing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, a few technical notes:
    - The translation used in the audiobook is the one by Constance Garnett.
    - The actual length of the book is about 61 hours, since the last four hours (the epilogues) are repeated twice.

    The narrator (whose real name was David Case -- he passed away in 2005) seems to provoke extreme reactions: some people can't stand him, others can't get enough of him. I happen to belong to the second class, and I believe he is especially suited for this novel. However, if you find his voice as irritating as some of the other reviewers, you should probably go for another version.

    And now for the book itself. In "The Brothers Karamazov", Dostoyevsky writes: "Show a Russian schoolboy a map of the stars, which he knows nothing about, and he will give you back the map next day with corrections on it." Tolstoy is the ideal to which all such schoolboys aspire, and "War and Peace" is his greatest achievement. Not only is this immense work a novel, it is a place for Tolstoy to expound his views on the causes and persons of the Napoleonic wars, on the methods of historical research, on free will and (of course) the existence of God. I can't say that I found everything convincing or even interesting -- for example, he takes a lot of pains to demonstrate the Napoleon was not a military genius but a blundering fool -- but for the sheer complexity and ambition of this work I cannot help but award it five stars.

    43 of 43 people found this review helpful

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