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 is a world classic.Although it might seem long and tedious,this should not frighten you.
Every sentence is narrated beautifully by Neville Jason who did an incredible job.
He narrates with great sensitivity and gives each character his/her unique ,discernable voice.
He seems to have a deep understanding of the text as well as of the characters ,adding a dimension of empathy to their stories.
I enjoyed every minute of listening,looking forward to the next sentence.
War and Peace is jusifiably a top world classic of all times................Enjoy!
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 am a retired business man who wanted to be a History teacher.at the age of 81 Im catching up on my favourite historical characters & event
It's great to finish the second volume but it was tough going at times.The ridiculous imbalance between the haves and the have nots explains how Communism came about it it should be a lesson to all dictators in the World that their time is not endless.A great performance by narrator Neville Jason
A truly classic novel. You SHOULD read it, not just because its in the canon, because it's beautiful. The performance was a tour de force.
Still taking it all in well after the fact, just like all great experiences in life.
Skipped the epilogues due to many recommendations and after 15 minutes of listening I can see why. But who cares? The first 55 hours are transformative not just for the characters, but the reader as well. Read. This. Book. Its worth it. Tolstoy does most of the heavy lifting anyways.
Neville Jason is an absolute master as well.
"A Hard But Worthwhile Slog"
Listening to Tolstoy's epic novel is probably easier than reading it as it was hard-going at times. The interminable descriptions of battle were particularly tedious but the interwoven fates of the various families balanced it out.
The epilogue was the most interesting part. Philosophical musings on the nature of mankind, the history of warfare, and an analysis of both the powerful and the powerless.
"Classic despite the unexpected philosophising"
Loved this book. Totally engaging from start to finish expertly characterised by Neville Jason. Tick on this years audio bucket list. 70 odd hours of listening pleasure.
"A beautiful and very moving story"
Right next to War and Peace, Volume 1, to be honest - in a class of their own.
Surprisingly, the length of it. You start to feel as if you know the characters as well as the people in your own life, as if you're there with them at the opera and on the battlefield.
My mother's favourite character is always Andrei, which I respect but don't understand. I felt a great affection towards Nikolai, but also Sonia, who asks for nothing and gets very little. Natasha is entertaining, but terrifyingly unpredictable and apparently set on self-destruction, and as for Pierre, he seemed to go off the rails after his marriage to Helene.
Both, in different places. The strongest emotional reaction I had to it was during the chapters on the Battle of Borodino. I came out of those chapters as if shell-shocked, utterly sickened by the carnage and destruction. I actually felt sorry for Anatole Kuragin, when only a few chapters before, he seemed the most unspeakably terrible character.
As usual - shame about the epilogue. Tolstoy wasn't thinking straight when he wrote that!
"A masterpiece read magnificently"
I highly recommend this recording. Neville Jason is no only a great actor, he clearly has read ahead and comprehended every word. He gets the tone just right, from the characterisation to the energy and vehemence in Tolstoy's voice as he rants about the state of history. An epic piece in which both the philosophical ideas and central story are made compelling by a great reader.
"Had to be done"
Everyone should read War & Peace, it's said. Well, it was worth the listen, but probably only just. This tour de force is enormously long and could have been improved by a judicious editor. The biggest surprise was how little I liked the main characters. It did make it a little hard to care as their stories developed. And the least worst of them was the only one to die an untimely death. It was interesting to hear (and compare) a Russian, and now itself historic, perspective on the Napoleonic Wars, but no-one would accuse Tolstoy of subtlety, and ultimately the didacticism became an irritant. Had to be done, but I won't be doing it again.
"Thank god you can alter the narration speed!"
They're both good to use, I went between both.
The author occasionally stopped to analyse what was going on and talk about its place in history.
The narrator reads very very slowly so i had to alter the speed, 1.5x made it normal reading speed but i put it to 2x sometimes too as it was still understandable but a little quicker.
There were some moments that really made me think, about people, war and history.
Just to say again that you might need to speed the book up when you listen to it because the narration is very slow.
both volumes absolutely enchanting. Would listen again.
The narrating immediately engages, which is essential given the complexity of thedtory and its length.
I will listen to this again.
"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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