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War and Peace | [Leo Tolstoy]

War and Peace

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (1331 )
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3.7 (776 )
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 (113)
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Performance
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  •  
    Eugene Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA 10-05-06
    Eugene Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA 10-05-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The reader is awful"

    I wanted to try this classic about but found the readers voice to be so grating that I could not manage more than 1 hour. I would not recommend listening to this book unless you try a sample first.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kayvan los angeles, CA, USA 06-17-09
    Kayvan los angeles, CA, USA 06-17-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "Very bad narrating"

    The narrating ruin the novel. Heavy British accent, poor articulation, horrible melody and very fast reading. At chapter 3 I developed a headache.

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cl?cio S?o PauloBrazil 04-05-09
    Cl?cio S?o PauloBrazil 04-05-09 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "soporific"

    Reading style just makes it impossible to follow

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda S. Fries 10-29-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "War and Peace destroyed by the Reader"

    Frederick Davidson is simply the worst reader. He can't seem to pronounce the simplest words (pay special attention to diplomatic, diplomatist and any word that has ego comes out like eggo). War and Peace is probably the greatest novel of all time but Davidson's vocal skills destroy the beauty of Tolstoy's brillant work. If only someone else read this book with the skill and beauty that the author deserves.

    2 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rochelle Wag er 11-14-05 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "War and Peace"

    I loved this book when I read it but as narrated by Frederick Davidson I couldn't get past the first half hour. His English accent is so affected I couldn't listen to the story for his words.

    5 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    yamir Clearwater, FL, United States 10-12-13
    yamir Clearwater, FL, United States 10-12-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "Good for the time when there were no TVs or HBO"

    Very lengthy and tedious. Too many characters difficult to keep up. Narration is great. Not at all a book for anyone younger then 65years.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Chino, CA, United States 07-06-12
    Edward Chino, CA, United States 07-06-12 Member Since 2015

    I listen to books all day long. The books I love have great characters. If I give a book 4 or 5 stars, it's worth a listen.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I truly hated listening to this book.."
    Would you try another book from Leo Tolstoy and/or Frederick Davidson?

    I don't get it... why was this book considered great? I listened for about an hour and had to stop. The narration got on my nerves, and I disliked the story.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Leo Tolstoy again?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    There are so many other great books to listen to... don't waste your time with this one.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Friday Harbor, WA, United States 05-26-06
    Christopher Friday Harbor, WA, United States 05-26-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Wonderful book, but..."

    The book is excellent. But I am somewhat disappointed in the reading of it. The reading is breathy. The pace is awkward, with halting pauses in strange places, such as between the end of a quotation and the following "said ___." For me, the book deserved a more powerful reader.

    But that said, even with this reading it is still a great book to listen to. And definitely get the unabridged version, not one of the abridged versiona.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joey Suwanee, GA, USA 01-03-06
    Joey Suwanee, GA, USA 01-03-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Not my favorite classic"

    Long and boreing, if you want to prove how tough you are, this is the book. I made it through, but only through great determination.

    2 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mitchel Swampscott, MA, United States 05-19-07
    Mitchel Swampscott, MA, United States 05-19-07 Member Since 2011
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    "unbearable"

    I couldn't stand the narrator, and stopped listening. Overly snarky british accent was so distracting to me I couldn't hear what he was saying, and I couldn't get used to it. Big disappointment.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 111-120 of 121 results PREVIOUS1111213NEXT
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  • Judith
    Pinner, United Kingdom
    8/9/08
    Overall
    "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!

    23 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • Aubrey Mark
    Glasgow, Strathclyde, United Kingdom
    6/18/09
    Overall
    "Poor Natasha"

    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!

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Danielle
    Broendby StrandDenmark
    12/4/07
    Overall
    "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.

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Martine
    6/23/12
    Overall
    "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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Trevor
    Goole, DN14 0UX, United Kingdom
    6/27/10
    Overall
    "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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Steve
    Doncaster, United Kingdom
    12/13/05
    Overall
    "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.

    34 of 40 people found this review helpful
  • C. WATT
    Aberdeen UK
    5/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "My nemesis"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    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.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    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!!


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    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!


    Was War and Peace worth the listening time?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Creeda
    Dublin, Ireland
    7/31/11
    Overall
    "Wonderful!"

    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)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth
    Warrington, United Kingdom
    10/5/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Give it a Miss"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is a classic story destroyed by the voice reading it.


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • MR
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    6/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "excellent:"

    when I got to the end I started again at the beginning and heard it through a second time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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