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)
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.
I ended up loving this book. Yes, it is long, and has a lot of stuff in it that could be cut out, but omitting anything would lessen the book. I am very happy that I listened to the entire 61 hours and 44 minutes. I am pretty sure I have changed, and have grown as a person as a result of this book. Now I'm going to go listen to something light and cheerful!
BTW, Neville Jason is an amazing narrator! My standard for judging a good narrator is "could I listen to him read the phone book and enjoy it?" Yes, I could, Neville. Thank you.
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.
Narrator did a gallant job with a huge character list and big shifts in tone. There's an unexpected lightness in Tolstoy's writing, with beautiful and sometimes ironic insights into character. Plenty of ' who's marrying who' obsessions and fluttery romantic feelings for people who the characters have barely met / scandals- in common with many 19th C novels. The ' war' stuff is visceral and well done. Like many, I did struggle with the historical philosophy elements, especially the length of some of those sections. Lev really could've used an editor! Overall though it's left a great impression, and I'm very proud of myself for getting through all 61 hours.
What an amazing book! And Neville Jason is the perfect narrator. I feel as if I am transported back to those extraordinary days of Napoleon's war on Russia.
The descriptions of the battles are deeply moving and so vivid.
I found the scene where Prince Andre dies in the tent full of wounded men particularly beautifully written.
I definitely have an extreme reaction to this book. It is an extraordinary mix of every day life in its mundane detail - the ordinary lives of so many people with their love affairs, intrigues etc, set against the huge, tragic, sweep of war.
Strongly recommend it!!!!
"It was to be 5 stars"
I approached this book with trepidation (I did start and stop reading it many moons ago) but, although long, it was not at all a chore to listen to. During the first book I struggled with remembering which character was which and how they were related, so I wrote down a list from Wikipedia, then I was off. What struck me was how well Tolstoy perceived and described the innermost feelings of his characters. I had a preconceived notion that an old book written by a man wouldn't really do feelings. Its length gives you plenty of space to know, understand and believe in the characters and I could have continued to follow their lives when the book stopped! The parts where he philosophises about the nature of war were for the most part interesting. The narrator was excellent (what a marathon) although I wasn't completely convinced by his female voices!
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