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 applied to both volumes. The book is famously long, so I might want to listen again, but a few years down the road. The vast panorama of Napoleon's 1812 invasion of Russia is covered in all phases with historical accuracy and a large cast of diverse characters. Tolstoy's psychological insights are right-on and applicable today. His descriptions of the battles are mesmerizing - you can almost smell the gunpowder. Truly a literary masterpiece, but requiring a bit more work on the part of the listener/reader than Anna K.
The retreat of Napoleon from Moscow (to be duplicated by Hitler over a century later - didn't he read War and Peace?) induced by the spirit and tactics of the out-manned Russian military (with an assist from the Russian winter).
This is a close call between several, but I have to go with Prince Andre.
No, for an obvious reason.
The performance by N. Jason was brilliant. I wish I could give him more than 5 stars. Simply the best performance in any audio book I have listened to. Makes you feel that you are sitting in a movie theater.
Two suggestions: obtain before reading:
1. A list of characters and their relationships.
2. Maps of the Napoleonic invasion, esp. the battle of Borodino.
I found both on the Internet.
Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.
It's all good.
He is fantastic. Consistent and easy to listen to.
Just love this book.
Do yourself a favour and listen to this book. Then buy a copy of the book, read it yourself. What ever you do, don't watch the 1950s Hollywood production of War & Peace. The novel is so much better.
Prince Andrea destroyed himself on stubbornness and his refusal to forgive until it was too late.
The worst decisions made in life are usually overreactions to things that you have no control of anyway. To love life is to love god. And in order to love life you must love the inevitability of your own suffering and happiness.
If I could have gotten the entire volume rather than only 1/4 of it.
I tried to download it twice without receiving what I paid for.
This was my first Leo Tolstoy novel and I loved it. Although volume one did not give a good impression. The beginning of the novel introduces so many characters at once it was very difficult to keep them them straight. The political and philosophical interjections are also very long and not related to the story other than providing a backdrop to the events of that time in history.
I eventually, after about 20 hours, got emotionally invested in the characters of the novel. The narration is superb. I think it's what kept me going! I also love this interpretation of the novel. I would highly recommend listening to it. It truly is a masterpiece.
War and Peace is a tome and an uneven masterpiece. But this narration is masterful and keeps one's attention even through the very dull lectures
I did get some interesting tid bits about the Napoleanic wars from this book but it was too much strategy for me. Tolstoy does write interesting stuff about Russian royalty and relationships at that time. Listening to it was the way to go, I could not have stayed with it if I was just reading it.
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