War and Peace is one of the greatest monuments in world literature. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, it examines the relationship between the individual and the relentless march of history. Here are the universal themes of love and hate, ambition and despair, youth and age, expressed with a swirling vitality which makes the book as accessible today as it was when it was first published in 1869.
In addition it is, famously, one of the longest books in Western literature and therefore a remarkable challenge for any reader. Neville Jason read the abridged version of War and Peace and proved his marathon powers with his outstanding performance of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. These make him the ideal narrator to essay Tolstoy's epic.
War and Peace was translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude.
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"War and Peace presents us with a complete picture of human life; a complete picture of the Russia of those days; a complete historic picture of the struggle of nations; and a complete picture of the things in which men set their happiness and greatness, their sorrow and their shame." (A.V. Knowles, Tolstoy: The Critical Heritage)
"There remains the greatest of all novelists - for what else can we call the author of War and Peace?" (Virginia Woolf)
This was well done with character and plot delineated. Easy to listen to and enjoy. The reader was engaging while not overly treacle.
This was a really enjoyable read, much more so than I was expecting given its reputation for extraordinary length. You really get a picture for the human nature of the combatants in the military engagements, where they often find themselves wondering why they are fighting, and for whom, and whether the guy in the other uniform is really an enemy. You also get a sense for the civilian perspective on the wars, at least from the point of view of the aristocracy.
Neville Jason's narration is excellent, with a clear and precise diction that mostly carries a posh British accent, though he does the French language portions very well also. I did find his rendition of Denisov's W/R substitution quite comical. He sounded a bit like an aristocratic version of Elmer Fudd.
The reader infuses this remarkable chronicle with life. His characterizations are illuminating and speak volumes about all the players in this epic-- from Bonaparte to troika driver.
An evocation of the Napoleonic era. A depiction of whole families whose individual lives intertwine and intersect with each other. and a great scenic painting of life in pre-revolutionary Russia. A masterpiece of the realistic novel to be savored
I am 71, healthy, happy, widow, with 3 kids, 6 grand & 6 great kids. I still work F/T and I love people and telling stories.
Yes, I tell everyone that will listen. This is so good. He takes me there and when I get back I am full of gratitude and understanding.
Tolstoy's understanding of the whole spectrum of our being evidenced by his detailed and enlightened presentation touched my heart.
Everything...He made it come alive and stay with me. His cadence and tone bring the story into my mind's eye seemingly without effort.
No. This book is like life, to be experienced and savored on and on, not rushing to the end.
I love Tolstoy. I love the way he writes, his character development. I love everything about this book, even it's length.
War and Peace is brutally realistic and passionately written.
I haven't read the print version, but I can say that the narrator does a very good job of bringing the story to life.
It's been over a year since I listened to both volumes of W&P. I will listen to it again and again until all the questions and beauty of life are considered. It's that good.
Maybe a condensed version with less emphasis on military actions.
This book just drags along for me...especially the chapters on the military and it's campaign against Buonaparte.
Don't know...it was the material versus the performance that didn't work for me.
....enjoyed characters and their interactions in historical Russian society.
Have enjoyed other books by Tolstoy -- particularly Anna Karenina. Thought I needed to listen to this classic, but instead of looking forward to my next listen, I was dreading it.
Having read it before, I was surprised that the reader used different tones for each character--though the cockney accents for poor people felt weird. It was actually easier to follow all of the names listening to it than reading it.
It captures the feel of Russia at the start of the 19th century.
I'd listen to this narrator any day--clear and capable of conveying a great deal by tone of voice.
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