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)
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.
Realistic-life is unpredictable as are the lives of the characters in War and Peace. There is no escape from the horror of the war, all are touched. Thought provoking. Rich.
I enjoyed the way Tolstoy makes sure a character is revealed in great depth.
He was easy to listen to, and this book was a year long commitment for me when I read it!
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.
War and peace is not a book it is a journey!
As someone who loves to read non-fiction primarily books on history and military strategy, listening t war and peace was very different. But yet it has changed my outlook on history and life. The questions raised by Tolstoy over hundred years ago are still fresh and makes you stop and think. Neville Jason has done an awesome job with narration I do not think it could be better.
Overall there are so many moments that I stop and go "WOW". The observations on human emotion at the the time of war and its contrast with peace is vivid and eye opening. I would highly recommend this book!!
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