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 gave volume 1 a bad review. I just didn't get it. I have heard so much about this novel, and I was just let down. Volume 1 was completely pointless in my opinion. He did a horrible job building the characters and the setting. The story was all over the place and followed people who really had nothing to do with the story.
With that said, Volume 2 was completely different and at times, genius. Really, Volume 2 could have been the whole book. A number of times Tolstoy went into deep philosophical discussions that were quite profound. The way he describes death is almost like he experienced it already. The thoughts he has on what caused events to take place, were very thought provoking as well. At times his point of view just seemed like strokes of genius. If you want to read this novel, but have held off because of the size, you would be completely fine just reading Volume 2. It is well worth it.
This was one of the best audible books I've heard. The narrator was great as well. I finished it faster than a lot of shorter novels I've heard.
I recall reading this book as a paperback about fifty years ago. Unexpectedly the Russian names were easier to keep track of in the audio version. My grasp of both history and the human psyche is certainly more mature allowing me to appreciate Tolstoy on a different level.
It is a long listen. Probably took me a month. I guess it stands the test of time in that way as well.
Great historical perspective and insight. Love stories along with historical event. Good perspective of human tendencies based upon their social economical status. Book must be read all the way to the end to have the authors perspective and purpose for writing the books.
Having heard/ read it, I am beginning to understand why this is a masterpiece. Tolstoy's clarity of thought, and breadth of knowledge, is remarkable - philosopher and writer of a different level, to several of the writers of classics I have read until now. Neville Jason's story telling of this mammoth piece of work is controlled and exceptionally clear, making this the best Audible hear thus far of mine.
I have put this read off based on my expectations of it being long and Russian. I am unfortunately not a Russian author fan. But I was glad I read it, as it was much more interesting than I expected. This narrator helped me get through Proust as well.
Tolstoy is a great genius. This rendering was translated masterfully. I listened to it twice. The philosophy chapters are as compelling as the story telling chapters.
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