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Publisher's Summary

Often called the greatest novel ever written, War and Peace is at once an epic of the Napoleonic wars, a philosophical study, and a celebration of the Russian spirit. Tolstoy's genius is clearly seen in the multitude of characters in this massive chronicle, all of them fully realized and equally memorable. Out of this complex narrative emerges a profound examination of the individual's place in the historical process, one that makes it clear why Thomas Mann praised Tolstoy for his Homeric powers and placed War and Peace in the same category as The Iliad.

War and Peace was translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude.

(P)1998 Blackstone Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Best heard on 1.5 speed

While the narrator does a very good job I found his pace so slow that I would lose track. This problem was solved by speeding the playback to 1.5x. Never had to do that before, but from that point on was able to become immersed in War and Peace.

I did find the narrator's British accent distracting. Is there an English Version with a Russian accented narrator?

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  • Douglas
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 05-16-15

Brilliant, entertaining masterpiece

Wow. It took me forever to finish but it was absolutely worth it. I loved this tome. I'm glad I have read this book, and not only because I can brag about it :). It's pretty amazing. Not only is this a great novel, but it actually works as a great nonfiction work as well, because there is so much history in it. And the history is not only war, but also society, and even philosophy and the study of history itself.

I will say that I used the Shmoop chapter summaries as a "companion" to reading the work itself. That really, really helped me; especially in the beginning when it was difficult to keep track of the characters. I was struggling during the first "part" of the book, but eventually I got comfortable and really enjoyed it.

The narrator is perfect.

This book is of course considered to be a classic and its deserving of that title.

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  • misaki
  • Los Angeles CA
  • 04-29-15

Fantastically Boring.

I enjoyed the narration. I can see how he could be a matter of preference. I liked him fine, but man oh man, I don't care if it's deemed classical masterpiece by accredited scholars, it was the most boring story ever. I like classics, I even like history, especially European history, but this truly was a trial to get through.

I loved Anna Karenina, and so I was excited when this showed up on sale. Well, my book OCD made me finish it, but nothing memorable happened as far as my mind recollects.

  • Overall

Worth the read...

Tolstoy encapsulates the youth of privileged Russia during the Napoleonic era with such vivid detail that he takes the reader back to his/her own experiences of growing up and finding oneself. This epic story spans decades and engrosses the reader from start to finish.

Tolstoy's epilogue which is a philosophical commentary on the driving force behind the actions of man is as engaging as it is true today. Leaving the characters that survive the story behind in such completeness, to discuss his own views of the cause of the Napoleonic war and other wars for that matter, shows the true Christian heart from which Tolstoy wrote the story.

Read and enjoy this marvelous novel and cherish all that Leo Tolstoy gives us in his amazing characters.

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Best book ever, best narrator ever.

Loved this story! Love this narrator. This epic masterpiece is masterfully narrated. I will be hard pressed to find any novel to follow this.

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  • CKB
  • Atlanta, GA USA
  • 02-20-15

I loved the narrator, but listen to the sample.

Any additional comments?

I thought Mr. Davidson's narration was superb--but he has a very distinctive voice and style, and I can see how it would rub some people the wrong way. I recommend listening to the sample before committing to this version, but it has my endorsement! War and Peace is a breathtaking story; I can't think of anything else quite like it. This reading commanded my rapt attention from beginning to end.

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  • Mark
  • Berlin, MA, United States
  • 10-08-14

Classic For a Reason

Lev Tolstoy himself did not consider this a novel; while it does contain a telling of several precious artistocratic families' ordeals, it also lays out the Christian Anarchist case against war, and most amusingly against the historians of his day (the mid-19th century). These think pieces, or editorials, were my favorite parts of the book. But it's also delightful how they explain what happens to these aristocrats, who quite frankly haven't the first clue of how their own behavior is driving events, and how reality is crushing their genteel lifestyle.

The epic scope of this book, I feel, is probably best appreciated in Audiobook format, where it can wash over you and past you and never get bogged down.

Also, Frederick Davidson (a.k.a. David Case) was one of the best narrators ever, starting with "Books on Tape", and mastering the ability to deliver distinct voices for each character (even just passing soldiers). If you've never heard any of his work, you're missing out on a master.

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Excellent narration

Davidson is a terrific reader. He creates dozens of characters with his voice, each one quite suitable, and maintains them over 1300 pages. He also manages to read Tolstoy’s repetitive essays on the myth of the great man and the force of a people without going nuts, which is more than you would do if you were reading it yourself.

While Tolstoy is annoying at times, there is no denying the power of the work. You gain a sense of Russian isolation and are forced to consider what does drive human history, even if you don’t agree with Tolstoy’s explanation.

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Wonderful story and well read.

The beauty of listening to books is when I get a good one I don't want to stop....so I create excuses to have my headphones in, long runs and bike rides, hikes with the dogs, cleaning the house.

This book was so good I trained for a half marathon and my house was very clean.

Definite recommend.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

hard to listen to

What disappointed you about War and Peace?

Couldn't stand how the narrator pronounced the Russian names.

Would you be willing to try another one of Frederick Davidson’s performances?

No. Besides the names, overall this narrator was hard to listen to for me.