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.
I read War and Peace four years ago, decided to revisit it in audio format, and it did not disappoint! Neville Jason is by far the best narrator currently available (try out the others and you will see, I remember at least one of them being downright painful). Neville Jason does quite a good job.
But I have been asking myself -- why don't we have someone as good as Neville Jason reading with an American accent? This is Russian literature. There is no reason that the English translation should only be in a British accent. My favorite audio version of Anna Karenina is also in a British accent. Believe me, I adore listening to British lit in British accents. But like I said, this is Russian lit.
Listen to a lot of audio books driving across the wide open spaces of Nevada during monthly 450 mile trips to and from Las Vegas.
There are other performances of this great story, but I don't think anyone could top Neville Jason as a reader. Absolutely terrific!
NYC editor 25 years.
Brilliantly read. You feel you are sitting in the drawing rooms of the Russian aristocracy and you are ready to join in the conversation. The excellent use of French to give the flavor of the Russian inferiority complex. I bought the paperback also. But reading it didn't compare to this audio presentation. Pierre and Prince Andrei come vividly alive with their own distinct personalities. I think Tolstoy would give this audio five stars. Bravo!
Anything else that I have read over the years has been OK but this book has a lot of interesting clasical detail that is a page turner.
All of the book is great.
most chapters have great details on life itself
The Bible and this book War and Peace has given me the most to enjoy and ponder over Life as it is and what is to become of us.
I was never able to get through reading this wonderful piece of historical fiction. Listening to it made the journey through the complex characters and story so much easier. The world that was early 1800's Russia is painted so clearly and the nature of that centuries cultural and political intracies so vivid, I feel I could have lived and experienced it myself.
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