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War and Peace Audiobook

War and Peace

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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 Rating

3.8 (2093 )
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3.9 (1469 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tad Davis 08-17-08
    Tad Davis 08-17-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The narrator is an acquired taste"

    Frederick Davidson is definitely an acquired taste. Other reviews here have noted some of the irritating qualities of his narration: fey, somewhat nasal, pseudo-posh, most sentences ending with a rising inflection, like a question. On the other hand, it should be said that his narration is always clear and energetic, and the characters are given immediately recognizable voices; in this particular case, given the length of the book, the recording is a good value for the money. Listen to the sample, and if Davidson's voice doesn't bother you, get it. (On balance, I'd have to say I prefer the Naxos recording with Neville Jason, although I have some issues with his narration as well.)

    48 of 53 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-04-12 Member Since 2015

    Too long gone, two wrongs right, to a brighter day and Tupelo night . . .

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Regrets!"

    To be clear, this review relates to the Frederick Davidson narration of War and Peace, with an Audible release date of 01-21-05. What a horrible recording, mastering, and narration! I sincerely regret that I didn’t purchase the Neville Jason narration, instead (Audile release date: 04-27-07).

    Do not be encouraged by the favorable reviews given this Davidson narration. I was. That and I was too cheap to pay two credits for volumes 1 & 2 of the Neville Jason narration.

    Criticisms of narration and production:

    1.This is a poor quality recording. During pauses in narration, there is a low hissing background noise – almost like the always-present noise made by my old cassette recorder as it captured the friction of tape being pulled over the recording head. This becomes extremely pronounced (and annoying) when listening with noise-cancelling headphones.

    2.The digital mastering of this rendition only heightens the annoying affect of background noise. At the discretion of the editor mastering this recording, the narration is frequently augmented with post-capture extensions of narrative pause. The stark silence of these edited-in pauses contrast, sharply, against the noise-filled pauses captured during narration.

    3.Points 1 & 2 would be tolerable, if only Davidson’s narration wasn’t so bad. My chief complaint with Davidson’s narration is this: he reads War and Peace as though it were Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. Not appropriate and even laughable at some parts. Also, Davidson’s character voices for women are grating and shrill. As he narrated certain women’s dialog, I had to pull the headphones from my ears to escape the pain his increased pitch and volume caused to my eardrums (seriously!). After one such insanely pitched, loud narration of a women character’s line, he then read: [character x] said, mildly. He then paused, awkwardly, as though thinking: guess I shouldn’t have hit that line so hard.

    Criticisms of the story:

    To be fair to the story, please understand I have aborted listening to this book after only fourteen hours (I’ve listened to 2 of 10 parts). Although I love long books, I couldn’t tolerate another 46+ hours of Davidson’s narration. So, my criticisms of content relate specifically to the first 14 hours.

    1.Too many characters to get a clear idea of who is who or why the reader should care about any of them.

    2.Most (as in 90%) of battle/action scenes are described in hindsight, through various characters’ point of view. Not a lot of showing, mostly telling.

    In short, I regret buying the Davidson narration of this book. I wish I’d spent 2 credits on the 2 volume narration by Neville Jason, instead of wasting 1 credit and fourteen hours on this Davidson narration.

    I would urge any reader interesting in tackling this classic Tolstoy novel to avoid the Davidson narration. Listen, carefully, to the Jason samples before taking the miserly path I took. Spend the 2 credits on the Jason narration and avoid the frustration of spending time with this Davidson narration.

    34 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jackie LAS VEGAS, NV, United States 04-26-12
    jackie LAS VEGAS, NV, United States 04-26-12 Member Since 2015
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    "War and Peace. A classic."

    What can you say about a classic like this! The narrator though...So hard to understand that it makes it hard to get through this. On a book notorious for being this long, it's almost a "crime" to have someone like this narrate it. For that reason alone I would NOT suggest you get this!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff CEDAR HILL, TX, USA 07-15-07
    Jeff CEDAR HILL, TX, USA 07-15-07
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    "Very Well Done!"

    This is an outstanding work by Tolstoy, and an excellent performance of the reader. The reader, though now deceased, has done great work for historic works as I can attest from his reading of "The History of the World" also in Audible. Believe me, this is well worth the time and cost even for those that don't usually use audiobooks.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Northeast Kingdom, VT 08-30-05
    David Northeast Kingdom, VT 08-30-05 Member Since 2017

    True multitasking is "reading" a book while walking, running, kayaking, doing chores, gardening, driving or just drifting off to sleep.

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    "Great novel and narrator"

    The narrator does a fantastic job with a very challenging book. It is a pleasure to listen and the tale is truly enjoyable. Although it is 60 hours of audio this story is well worth it!

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel kirkland, Quebec, Canada 08-21-07
    Daniel kirkland, Quebec, Canada 08-21-07 Member Since 2013
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    "amazing naration"

    The book is definitely a masterpiece, as praised already by so many critics, but the reading of it is astonishing. Frederick Davidson interpretation of the personages is extremely realistic and it helps a lot in enjoying this marvelous book.
    Even if it doesn't seem to have the deepness of Dostoevski's books, this book definitely keeps a listener, who had been able to pass over the first 2 hours, hooked for the other 63.
    The epilogue is a bit disappointing as it is awkward to hear lectures on "freedom" while praising a society based on slavery (serfdom), but I still give it five stars.
    (Don't miss Kamarozov Brothers, interpreted by the same Frederick Davidson:)

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis Little Rock, AR, USA 12-23-06
    Dennis Little Rock, AR, USA 12-23-06
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    "Superb"

    Tolstoy's sprawling novel, set against the backdrop of Napoleon's wars against Russia at the beginning of the nineteenth century, is often called the greatest novel ever written. This is a superb rendition of that great novel. Narrator Frederick Davidson (a/k/a David Case) is a multiple award winner for his hundreds of recorded books, and he is at his brilliant best in creating the voices for Tolstoy's characters. Highly recommended.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 03-02-08
    Lisa 03-02-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How much time to you have?"

    I have to be honest, this has been a rough go! I really appreciate Frederick Davidson's narration - he did a wonderful unabridged reading of Brother's Karamozov that I really enjoyed, and I LOVE Tolstoy's work ... but, I have to admit, this has been a really LONG and difficult story to follow audio-wise! There are so many characters and SO many detailed accounts of everything under the sun - it's obvious authors were paid by the word in Tolstoy's era - the entire chapter dedicated to the wolf-hunt just about did me in! In my opinion, reading the novel so that it's possible to go back and forth just to keep all the characters straight would have been a better option! Or, downloading an abridged version of the work probably would have sufficed! I usually do not like abridged versions of anything, but, unless you have a major surgery that will put you in bed for months on end in the near future, I would advise you to consider an abridged version. I wish I had!

    28 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trent Glover 09-09-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Masterfully Rendered"

    Indeed the Narrator is an acquired taste especially for Americans not familiar with the "proper" English accent or the Russian Language. What some have called out as an annoyance (the raising of the inflection of the voice at the end of sentences) is actually part of its genius for that is how Russians speak. Not only did the narrator tell the story, but he captured the very essence of the book. Very well done!

    26 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chris Kelowna, BC, Canada 12-12-07
    chris Kelowna, BC, Canada 12-12-07 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Napolean the fraud?"

    This story is hard to categorize. Is it fiction? Is it history? Is it a collection of essays on war and humanity? It has all three.

    The first few hours are a lot of familial politics while the characters go from one party to another. This is an interesting look at upper class society for that period in Europe but it is not exactly action-packed.

    Once our heroes get embroiled in the war the story picks up. There are even a few humorous scenes I particularly enjoyed. The latter third or so starts to drag. The ending leaves a lot unresolved, most of which is covered in the first two hours or so of the Epilogue. However, most of the Epilogue is an essay on war and I ended up skipping through it.

    Apparently there are versions of the book with all the personal commentary moved to appendices. That probably cuts the book in half.

    The history is fascinating but slanted. We know Napolean came from nothing and rose to rule one of one of the biggest empires in history. Tolstoy wants us to believe he was not a military genius, he just got lucky a lot. Also he makes many negative comments on Napolean's appearance and character.

    What is also interesting is all that Tolstoy doesn't talk about. Peasants are barely mentioned, for example. Same with the church and clergy. I kept feeling there was a whole world out there we couldn't see because the author didn't find it interesting, or didn't think his audience would.

    Considering Tolstoy was Russian, the original audience for the book were Russian aristocrats, and Tolstoy had his own strong views on religion, it's easy to see why he tells this version of history.

    That aside, it's a worthy read. The narration was excellent, I gave an extra star for that. Considering you get 60 hours of audiobook for one credit, it's the best deal going.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
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  • M C
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "What a shame about the narrator!!!"

    I'm sure like many people,I had tried to read this book numerous times before. I had loved Anna Karenina but could just not get into this at all. That is until I got the audio book. I was hooked after the first 10 mins and couldn't wait for the next installment. But what a shame about the narrator!! That's an understatement. Usually the narrator enhances the book for me - not this time - his voice really detracted from the experience. The book by Leo Tolstoy is fabulous and deserves it's reputation - but I would highly recommend listening to this with someone else narrating.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Creeda
    Dublin, Ireland
    7/31/11
    Overall
    "Wonderful!"

    I had read War and Peace about 40 years ago and my main memory is of lengthy ramblings by Bezukhov. Of course I have seen a number of films, the most recent being the Bondarchuk.
    However the narrator of this is wonderful - never sounding too preachy. Also his various accents are very good (as far as I can judge...) Having just listened to a Dostoyevsky whose narrator seems to speak no language except Yankee, this is most appreciated!.
    I h already have Frederick Davidson reading the Diary of a Nobody - this makes a perfect match. I look forward to listening to this again (I have listened to the Diary about 3 times)

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • jonathan ellis
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Just couldn't bear to listen"

    I am sorely diaspponted with the narrator of this book - such an affected un-listesnable vocal style. When he immitated the 'aristocratic' characters it was fine but he sounded even more snearing and condescending when in normal prose. Almost as if princes and princesses were below HIM and not worth hos time. At times it even sounded like he was reading out a list rather than painting a picture in words. Horrible Horrible Horrible!!!

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • J. Kirk
    UK
    9/28/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "NARRATOR RUINS IT!"
    Any additional comments?

    I had to abandon this book because the narrator had the most irritating and distracting voice I've ever come across. Instead I had to buy the other version narrated by Neville Jason. That one has two parts, which of course means using two credits, but it is 10x better. They shouldn't even sell this version, it is truly appalling.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Trog Father
    Wigan
    6/7/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mr Tolstoy clearly loved the sound of his voice!"
    Would you be willing to try another book from Leo Tolstoy? Why or why not?

    NO!Long winded doesn't even begin to describe it. I feel Mr Tolstoy fancied himself to be a bit of a philosopher. There are two epilogues! That go to over 4 hours! It's like a book on its own.The story itself is so long because there is so much needless fluff. I mean, you don't need a full paragraph just to say 'so and so went downstairs and went out the back door'!


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Frederick Davidson?

    His narration is far from the best I've listened to. That said I wouldn't avoid listening to another book narrated by him.


    Any additional comments?

    The story buried in with all the fluff is good and I did find myself caring about the main characters. It's just a shame the book felt like an ITV prime time show... Two hours of TV for 45 minutes of actual content. But, I can now say I've read/listened to an old, OLD classic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anonymous
    7/8/16
    Overall
    "Ghgbh"

    D f g g c c c bhai c.f. g f c f c fvdvfvdvg fvgvv c g hang God d d d d Dec v g g g g g

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • R Fraser
    3/21/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent narration"

    Unhesitatingly recommended, this book is narrated engagingly throughout, superbly acted where relevant and thoroughly enjoyable. As to the book itself, Tolstoy needs no recommendation from me.. a very great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • rufus
    1/15/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful novel, irritating reading"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It needs a reader who responds better to Tolstoy's change of mood & tone. Davidson sounds ironic and detached throughout; Tolstoy is sometimes sarcastic, but does take his characters seriously. + there is no need for the reader to try & mimic the voices of the characters. We don't do that mentally when we're reading. Having a male actor mimicking the voice of a young girl simply sounds camp.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters are complex and develop through the action. The account of war is extraordinarily vivid, & always linked to the characters' perception.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    See above.


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    no - I don't like seeing films of books I've enjoyed.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. C. Hobbs
    Deepest West Dorset
    12/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dull delivery, dismal droning."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    What a waste of my time and credits. I had great expectations of such a literary classic, however, they were not met by the delivery. Worse than a bored vicar on Sunday morning!


    Would you recommend War and Peace to your friends? Why or why not?

    No. Just such poor delivery


    Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Frederick Davidson?

    Anyone who can read and intone correctly. Had the narrator read any sections?


    Do you think War and Peace needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, some stories are complete


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't finish this, solely due to the poor delivery. It was a monotonous drone, with no intonation, no rises or falls. No soul.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • zoe
    5/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting"

    The narrator was very easy to listen to and his timing was very good
    The story was long with lots of highs and lows but overall brilliant

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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