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
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
At the end of part 2 there is a repetition of chapters. There are only 19 chapters in part 2 not 23. Chapters 20-end are repetitions of earlier material.
I went into War and Peace relatively blind but knowing I should read this classic. I did not realize this was more about the aristocracy of Russia than decision making at the highest levels of government. While it certainly does have that, it often serves as background to see how it impacts the lives of the characters. Given the length of the work, I am unlikely to read the entire thing again, but bits and pieces will serve me in the future.
His voice changes for the women were, at first, comical, but as I progressed, he seemed to really capture the airs of the aristocracy for both sexes. Now I would not be able to unhear his voice if I read a passage by any of the characters.
I'm sure the story is good but I couldn't get past the first hour. I'm gonna have to either read it or buy a version narrated by someone else.
I just couldn't stick with it long enough to understand any of it. The language and accent were not understandable to me.
I hoped to be able to listen to it because I had seen the movie back when I was in 8th grade, and I think it's important to read classic literature, but I just couldn't listen to this. I did listen to approximately 4 hours of it, but still had not connected with it in any way so I gave up.
Johan Andolf från mölndal i Sverige.
Jag gillar allt som har med Napoleon att göra och boken histora är bra.
Uppläsningen är riktigt dålig, teatralisk på ett dåligt sätt.
Denna bok har dåligt ljud.
Frederick Davidson absolutely massacres the text. Do yourself a favor and listen to at least 2 minutes of the sample audio and ask yourself whether you can live with that voice for 60 hours. I surely could not. Davidson delivers the story in an annoyingly affected nasal tone apparently intended to convey a sense of "aristocracy" more than it conveys the actual content or meaning of the text. Indeed, the pace, tone and inflection of the narrative makes it difficult to even follow the story. I have been an Audible subscriber for years, and have listened to at least 150 audiobooks. This is literally the worst audiobook presentation I have ever heard. Davidson is on my absolute do-not-buy list.
I noticed only one other person mentioned the download is OUT OF ORDER and some parts were repeated, also, several parts words were skipped, making the entire experience confusing. No one else dealt with this? Great book, just a shame I had to listen it to it like this and try and figure out the proper order. At first I did not like the narrator, however, eventually he grew on me.
"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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