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War and Peace, Volume 1 Audiobook

War and Peace, Volume 1

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Publisher's Summary

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.

© and (P) Naxos Rights International

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (1412 )
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4.7 (1082 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Donald 04-25-11
    Donald 04-25-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Inspired, moved"

    Very new to audio books, this only was my sixth. But, throughout my life, this novel has stood there as my unreachable goal, always calling to me as something so remarkable to those who had the interest and tolerance for reading, which I so woefully lacked.

    It is done now; and, how sad and deprived I now feel with the loss of these characters who were so pervasive in my life during the past seven weeks. They never lived but even if they did, they would have died some 200 years ago. And yet I strongly felt their joys, misfortunes and their loss. Such is the power of the detail and care in which Tolstoy crafted their stories - in war and in peace. I am tempted to restart at the beginning but know that I should wait to revisit later.

    Neville Jason's reading was masterful. I can only imagine his ability to maintain the characters as he did over such a lengthy recording process to be the result of great intimacy and caring for them and for the reader. The gradual and natural aging of their voices over the course of their lives was handled with great artistry.

    Should you have the time and will to commit to this vast work over a period of time, it is worth the epic journey.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brennan Palmer Evergreen Park, IL, United States 01-21-11
    Brennan Palmer Evergreen Park, IL, United States 01-21-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awesome!"

    I have always wanted to read this book, just to say I did. I thought I was in for a long haul, but the first half has flown by! The narrator is excellent. There are very many characters and it seems he has a distinctive voice for each! Don't get me wrong, there are boring parts and it IS confusing in the beginning to remember all the characters, but pay close attention at first and you will recall them as time goes on. I even took a break halfway through for another book. I actually was happy to return to this one! Very well narrated, I think it makes all the difference. (the Peace parts are more interesting than the War parts, mostly)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ariana Fort Lee, VA, United States 11-06-10
    Ariana Fort Lee, VA, United States 11-06-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Perfect"

    Amazing. So much detail into the thoughts, feelings, what is said, what is not said, intentions, interactions, expressions, body language; comming of age, dissapointments, growing, learning, virtue, vice, scheming, love, forgiveness, desire, so much more. This is a book about life. This is why I love the classics. An excellent narration as well. Perfect score.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KERRY glen head, NY, United States 09-29-10
    KERRY glen head, NY, United States 09-29-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Listen to a true Masterpiece"

    War and Peace is certainly one of those books everyone should read/listen to … I first read it about 15 years ago and was duly impressed; but like all fine works of art - it get’s better with the second time thru. This particular Narrator (Neville Jason) is simply amazing! Do yourself the favor of listening to him read the story. You won’t regret it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas 12-09-16
    Thomas 12-09-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Two previous attempts; Audible was the key"
    If you could sum up War and Peace, Volume 1 in three words, what would they be?

    First 100 pages difficult; excellent thereafter


    What other book might you compare War and Peace, Volume 1 to and why?

    Volume 2: all comments apply to both


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Count Pierre Bezukhov's experiences as French prisoner for insights into the lives of common Russian soldiers


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    None


    Any additional comments?

    I started reading this book two times in the past 30 years and never got to page 100. Audible allowed me to complete the entire masterpiece, though the early pages of character introductions remained the least enjoyable part.

    I will search for other narrations by Neville Jason.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tony Pieri 07-22-16
    Tony Pieri 07-22-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I don't get the hype"

    I don't understand why this book is considered one of literatures finest pieces of work. Yes, it was poetic at times, and some parts were very though provoking. You can tell Leo Tolstoy was a romantic, but his character and setting building is horrible. He jumps from point to point with no transitions. He doesn't introduce characters well, and never uses references so you can get to know the characters. It makes it hard to care about anything that is happening. The small amount of war story was nice. It didn't matter if you knew the characters, the action captured you, but that was few and far between. Most of the story is just drama between families that you don't really care about.

    An example of what I am talking about (spoiler warning) at one point Price Andrei gets wounded in battle and captured. When they first talking about him in the war, I didn't remember him ever being mentioned. So, I had no clue who he was and why I cared. After he was captured a the Russians went to find dead and wounded on the battlefield, they didn't find him. His father, Count Bolkonsky, assumed he was dead. There was a big moment when it talks about him almost giving up on life and declaring his son dead. He told everyone in the city. Then, out of nowhere, Prince Andrei is back and wanting to court Natasha. There was no explanation of how he got back, what the effect on his father was or anything. I didn't even know it was the same person. I had to go back and look. You have to study this book to follow it. Imo, that isn't good writing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rich 05-13-16
    Rich 05-13-16 Member Since 2016

    Rye-and-Indian, baked daily.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This Is the Version of W&P You Are Looking For!"

    This is my first reading of W&P; I just started the second volume. This Naxos/Jason production is near flawless: narration, fidelity, production quality. Jason may be the best narrator I have ever heard (fifty titles over two years), and this Maude translation has me plenty entertained. I can keep up with the book at 1.85x playback--it took me a little over three weeks to finish the first volume. I bought Oxford's paperback of the Maude translation (http://goo.gl/BW50SD) to thumb through at bedtime, which comes with battlefield maps (!) and pages (upon pages!) of historical footnotes--the book is easily worth the extra ten bucks to supplement your Audible experience.

    I'll hold my thoughts about the story itself until I complete the entire novel. This book is stupid long, and I'm loving every minute of it. I can hardly wait to see what Volume 2 has in store.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Spanne 09-16-15
    Mike Spanne 09-16-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    5
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    "Good narrator, worth the extra volume"

    The narrator does a decent job of making his voice vary from character to character and his pace is well suited for the book. I'm not a fan of buying two volumes instead of one, but it's definitely worth it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Ventura, CA, United States 05-17-15
    Steve Ventura, CA, United States 05-17-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just can't get through it"
    Any additional comments?

    I have tried and tried to get through this book, but it just does not hold me. There are too many Russian names and characters. I mostly wanted to read it because I wanted to learn more about Napoleon, but unfortunately this book did not accomplish that.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joex000 03-08-15
    Joex000 03-08-15 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "A little homework adds a lot of extra enjoyment"

    My journey through War and Peace is over, and the 62 hours (Vol 1+2) was a worthwhile and rewarding journey. I won't add to what so many others have said about Tolstoy's brilliant work, but I did 2 extra things that added a great deal of understanding, depth and perspective:
    First, the book is famous for having lots of characters and different story lines, so I listened to many of the chapters 2 or even 3 times. I was surprised at how many little things I didn't get the first time, so this added to the enjoyment (not to mention that I was afraid of getting lost). And the 62 hours ended up at around 100, for me at least. I loved them all.
    Secondly, I did Internet searches and there is a lot of W&P background material that is helpful: I printed a list of characters, read the Wikipedia analysis of the book (there are many more) to give me a big overview of where things were going, read a little more about Napolean, and pulled up maps of the various Russian cities.
    This paid big dividends in understanding the history and times. Tolstoy gave us a novel from the Russian perspective here, and not a history book, so he often assumes that we know things of Russia in the early 1800's. But we don't.
    For example, the French army was starving, freezing, sick, depleted and in tatters well before they reached Moscow, but the we don't hear much of this until they are in full-scale retreat late in the book.
    This informal research is fun during your read, when it's time to take a break. Like now.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
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  • Rhys
    7/5/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great book, great performance."

    Great performance of a great book.
    one two three four five six seven eight nine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Susan
    6/14/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful experience"

    Listening to this great story read so well has been a wonderful experience. I have read it, seen it and heard it in the radio, but it as fresh as ever in this reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • E.C. Mason
    4/4/16
    Overall
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    Story
    "A masterclass"

    The best audiobook narrator hands down. The story is magnificent, but Neville Jason brings the characters to life!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • trufflesmummy
    3/24/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining, amusing, enthralling, wanted more!"

    The Narrator expertly delivered this for the entire story. He carries the mood and the characters amazingly. I was so sorry it had ended I stood upright in surprise. I have been totally immersed in another world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • AC
    3/23/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Worth the effort of listening"

    I have read the book but found it rather long winded and dull. This is a much better method of enjoying what is a great saga! Looking forward to Volume 2!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tambo
    3/20/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "War and Peace"

    After the recent TV adaptation I wanted to find out more. It was absolutely gripping.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Clavs
    3/6/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Epic"

    War and Peace seems so daunting but this audio book made the whole experience much easier and incredibly enjoyable.

    Good narrator and short chapters make it easy to dip in and out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • S A Humphries
    2/21/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "War and Peace"

    IMHAVE been awake all night as I couldn't turn off this book. Now I've finished Volume 1 I have to buy Volume 2 . I enjoyed every minute, beautifully read an absolute joy.Shirley-Ann Humphries

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Candice
    2/13/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "timeless classic"

    this version of.war and peace is wonderful and well worth the read. what makes it better is a wonderful narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cathubodua
    8/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of the great historical novels"
    If you could sum up War and Peace, Volume 1 in three words, what would they be?

    Moving, entertaining, enthralling.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It is impossible to choose a favourite character - their stories weave in and out of each other's with such skill. Each character is loveable and flawed, fully human as only Tolstoy can write them.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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