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 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
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.
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