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. Out of this complex narrative emerges a profound examination of the individual's place in the historical process, one that makes it clear why Thomas Mann praised Tolstoy for his Homeric powers and placed War and Peace in the same category as The Iliad.
War and Peace was translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude.
(P)1998 Blackstone Audiobooks
War and Peace describes Russian society during the Napoleonic Wars through the eyes of its ruling classes, its military leaders, even through the eyes of Napoleon. It is also a philosophical treatise on human nature, society, and war. A deeply humanistic work and rightly considered a literary masterpiece.
The narrator manages to convey the intonation and emotions of a wide caste of characters without ever losing the thread. Quite a feat and much easier to listen than to read!
I have listened to several audiobooks narrated by Frederick Davidson, but this one is unlistenable. He moves in and out away from the microphone constantly causing dips and peaks in volume that are just intolerable. You can even hear pages being turned occasionally!I suspect that this may be one of the earliest titles he's recorded because other books read by him have been quite pleasurable. Unfortunately, this one is unlistenable. It really should be taken down and re-recorded.
Maintain a consistent distance to his microphone.
You don't cut classics like War and Peace.
I want my money back so I can get a recording of this book that I can listen to!
It ranks as a classic among classics. This was the finest book to come out of the Russian classic literature era.
I believe this book stands on its own and I would be hard pressed to compare another one to it.
Just the pure pronunciation of all the French words that I have always had problems with in any novel that contains that language.
War in a time of peace.
This is a book that is so big, I just would not deign to tackle it as a sit down and read book. That is the main reason I bought this version. Very interesting classic. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys classic literature.
I am 57 years old and I have tried to read 'War and Peace' many times throughout my adult reading life; all with little success. Rarely have I read past the first section. What I discovered in having it read to me, was that it flowed on and on and I got into a rhythm of listening. Also I could be active with other physical projects and that helped to let time pass - painting, knitting, cleaning, gardening - all with Leo Tolstoy's great work being read to me.Dear reader - I finished it!
Interestingly the aspect that I found most intriguing and enjoyable, was that a European history was being told without any reference to Britain. Please do not think I am an Anglophobe, far from it, I was raised on British history and the 'glories' of Empire; but this lead me to clearly see that Anglo-centredness was not everything. In 'War and Peace' the history-telling is part fact and part fiction, but it is completely focussed on Russia and France with some German and Austrian seasoning. I appreciated the contrast to my own knowledge.I came to know the characters and their stories well. Each one was drawn beautifully and each one had his or her important place within the tale. I am not saying that any character was fully human, each one seemed to me to represent an aspect or 2 or 6 of humanness. Certainly I felt bereft when the book ended and there was no more Pierre, Natasha or Princess/Countess Marya in my life.
Clear, flexible, unobtrusive
Nothing extreme, other than the length!
I really valued the epilogue which Tolstoy uses as an exegesis of his beliefs about power and, obviously, war and peace. Although written over a century ago, he can still speak to us in our time of the risks, dangers, evils of seeking power by force.I have read Anna Karenina, but I will now listen to it also and hope to hear the voice of Leo Tolstoy in this his 2nd great novel
was Tolstoys’ assessment of free will he said the factors that limited it were time and space. Take as an expression of freewill me lifting my arm my freedom is limited by space I cannot lift it any direction I choose or through any objects that obstruct it. Just as limiting is time because in order to show that my raised arm is an act of free will I must show I could have not raised my arm which because time is a one way street is impossible. So when I look into the past I can see that at that moment, because of the series of events leading up to it, I had no choice but to raise my arm in an attempt to prove my free will.I think it is the infinity of time and space that lead us to have the necessity of creating a framework with which to reference our existence, us supercomputers risen from the earth and water. What do we know about our existence? Well the piece of infinity we have to work with is pretty small and any piece of infinity is almost zero. How do we make the most of the piece that we have? I have read that it is estimated that we can focus our attention on about 25000 bits per second but the subconscious records hundreds of thousands. So it seems to me we need to enlist our subconscious to make the most of what we have to work with and point our consciousness where it will be most be the most effective in creating a positive effect if we want to make the most of our free will. I think it is our beliefs that direct our subconscious to determine where we focus our attention. Tolstoy’s novel is about the French invasion of Russia and there is only one person Kitrusov, the commander in chief, who’s beliefs align with reality in a way that it allows him to focus his attention where his free will, such as it is, will do the most good. He alone sees the inevitability of the events that have been set in motion. That Napoleans’ army cannot be stopped or checked in it’s drive to Moscow and to stand in its way would lose the Russian army just as he saw the French army was doomed once it got there it was too late in the season all stores had been burned and it will melt away burdened with plunder trying to make it back to France through the harsh Russian winter and did his best to hold the Russian army back though half of it was lost through the exuberance with which the Russian soldier would undergo forced marches poorly clad through the snow with the thought of getting at the invader.
I want to feel good when I complete a story & am a little harsh on depressing ones. There are a few sad ones that I love but not many.
I tried and tried but I could not take the reader. I never would have made it through 60 hours of that guy.
I think a true classic is timeless and stands apart.
Narrators can often make or break a book. I found Mr. Davidson's females slightly annoying.
60 hours! My goodness, no.
Not read the print version.
The characters are plentiful, and meticulously described. The thoughts of the characters that drive the plot are beautiful portrayals of the human condition. Times of war and peace are also wonderful backdrops for contemplating the factors involved in individual and mass thought. Tolstoy crafts a narrative that is very conducive for such contemplation. Masterful.
He brought life to the characters without overperforming.
Haha. It is afterall a 60-hour recording. I knew that going in.
Tolstoy said: This is "not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less a historical chronicle."
I say: This is definitely not a historical chronicle, even less is it a poem. But it IS partly a novel and partly a philosophical treatise on the study of history as it pertains to thoughts, actions, and free will of humans.
[I felt some parts of the epilogue had a slight didactic tone that could be done without, but that lasted less than a fiftieth of the book].
I have started this book over so many times and the narrator is so boring I can't stand to even listen. For a book with so many characters, even from the beginning, I would have expected to find the narration done by someone who had a better command of portraying these characters. The female voices were just awful!
I most loved the sense of being the in times. It is hard to imagine this period of history today and yet I know Tolstoy has nailed it. Most of us don't hobnob with the upper classes, to the extent there are any upper classes today, so the experience is unique.
His sense action is very clear. It is like being in the battles. Unfortunately, battles are confused and unclear snatches of perception to the participants, and since I don't know the history of these battles having never studied this theatre of the Napoleanic
Wars, the battles are confused and unclear.
Prince Andre's death
"I knew I'd never read it"
As I'm nearly 70, I realised I'll never have time to read War and Peace. I'm now in the middle of listening to part 3, and enchanted. I didn't know it was full of irony and humour. the reading is perfect, for me, wonderfully camp. So I go on the bus with my Freedom pass, and when people ask me what music I have on my iPod I'm delighted to tell them that it's War and Peace!
The narrator has a good voice but the characters are ruined in the most part by his rather annoying, if not incredibly grating, 'take' on the main players. Pierre sounds vacuous, Andre half dead and the women simpering and worst of all what has he done to Natasha! I do not know if I can take 50 hrs plus of this!
So many people know about War and Peace and yet so few have read it, largely put off by its length and complexity of characters so having the book read to you is a happy compromise. It is definitely a story worth knowing and not just for the kudos of being able to say you’ve read it! BUT, Tolstoy likes making sure his reader has understood the main points he is trying to get across, so he repeats them A LOT. That and the huge attention to detail made the book quite a plod at times, retaining my concentration and not 'tuning out' was really hard at times.
The end of the book is an epilogue in which Tolstoy talks (at great length) about the philosophy of written history and the futility of trying to distinguish between fact and fiction. It is without doubt the driest part of the novel as Tolstoy makes his thoughts clear very quickly (and to an extent has already expostulated on them throughout the main story), and then repeats and labours and repeats his point over and over again. We get it Leo, history is written by the victors, let it go man!!
The narrator definitely did detract from the book. It took some time to get used to the narrator's implausibly upper-class accent and he sounded like a stereotypical 'thespian', but you've certainly got time to get used to it given the length of the book so after a while you can tune out the dodgy accents and stop laughing at his impression of the female characters and just concentrate on the text. Other readings of war and peace are available and the most notable version (and the most expensive) is by Naxos. I was very tempted to switch versions due to the narrator, but doing so would have been ridiculously expensive!
60 hours is a lot of time for anyone, but if it makes the difference between reading the story and not, it's worth the investment. War and Peace deserves, at least in part, it's accolade of being the best novel ever written so for no more reason than being able to have an opinion on whether or not you think it is as great as it's famed to be, you should listen to it.
I did learn a lot about the Napoleonic wars which I'd obviously slept through when we covered them in school so from a 'you should know this stuff' point of view, it's worth the listening time even if the genera isn't quite up your street.
The quality of the editing and the digital download is immensely disappointing. Many chapters have digital corruptions causing lots of 'jumps' between sections, sometimes it's obvious that only a word or two have been skipped, at other times it's possible that you've just jumped a large part of a chapter. Had I paid full price for this, I would definitely have been looking for my money back, but as this was my free introductory book from Audible, I could tolerate it. That said, as it was my first introduction to the quality of audible's offerings, I did question whether all books would have similar problems. So far, it appears that most of the other books I've now listened to aren't quite so bug ridden, but like I say, if you intend to pay for this, don't, use one of your credits and get it for just under £8, it's worth that but not more.
"An epic listen !"
This is an epic to listen to - never mind read.
It took me ages to get through this one - but I am so glad I did get to the end. It takes a while to get used to the narrator, but after book 3 or 4 you do get used to him, and not having read the book, rely on his portrayal of the characters. There are so many characters that come in and go out of the story (some never to return) that you do appreciate this and whether the accents match the characters at least the narrator is consistent in his portrayal which must be hard to do over a book this long.
The chapters are in nice short listenable units (10-15 minutes), which suits me personally as I listen on the way to and from work, and I would say I only found 2 or 3 which were missing a bookmark which is quite remarkable given the amount of chapters contained in the 15 books.
If you are going to listen, its worth it, but I would put aside plenty of time.
I would certainly consider replaying it one day.
"Might be a great book, but terrible Narrator"
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with the previous person's review, this might be a great book, but Frederick Davidson?s narration makes it unbearable to listen to. My recommendation to you is to buy another version.
"Give it a Miss"
This is one of my favourite books but I doubt that anyone could possibly enjoy this audio book because the choice of narrator made it impossible for me to get past the first chapter.
It is a classic story destroyed by the voice reading it.
If you haven't read this book please do, it's a classic but buy it in book form because the narrator completely spoiled it. Money down the drain!
"Frederick Davidson Deserves A Higher Rating"
This is the narration to listen to if you want to be entertained. This is interesting to listen to, lively and engaging. Neville Jason has a better rating but I dont think that I could have listened to him for 60 hours because he sounds so bored. Frederick is humerous not monotonous. This was definately the reading for me. Please dont just go for the highest rating.
I am thoroughly enjoying this book and recommend to everyone that always wanted to but never had the time or the strorage space.
"An epic sweep of characters and history"
Brilliantly read by Davidson who has a great sense of pace and character.
1300+ pages made accessible.
Described as 'the greatest novel ever written' - I'm not sure I agree with that view, but certainly a very great novel.
I had read War and Peace about 40 years ago and my main memory is of lengthy ramblings by Bezukhov. Of course I have seen a number of films, the most recent being the Bondarchuk.
However the narrator of this is wonderful - never sounding too preachy. Also his various accents are very good (as far as I can judge...) Having just listened to a Dostoyevsky whose narrator seems to speak no language except Yankee, this is most appreciated!.
I h already have Frederick Davidson reading the Diary of a Nobody - this makes a perfect match. I look forward to listening to this again (I have listened to the Diary about 3 times)
when I got to the end I started again at the beginning and heard it through a second time.
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