Saturday, June 20, 2020

Leo Tolstoy War and Peace

First posted 6/10/2020; updated 7/5/2020.

War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy

First Publication: 1869

Category: historical novel

Sales: 36 million


About the Book:

“The most famous – and perhaps greatest – novel of all time,” BN War and Peace is “both an intimate study of individual passions and an epic history of Russia and its people.” BN The novel is “noted for its mastery of realistic detail and variety of psychological analysis” LN as it details “the metamorphosis of five families, some peasant, some aristocratic” AZ struggling for survival during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.” BN

“The theme of war, however, is subordinate to the story of family existence, which involves Tolstoy’s optimistic belief in the life-asserting pattern of human existence.” LN “Each individual is immersed in experiences and conversations elucidating Tolstoy’s themes of self-sacrifice and self-indulgence, anguish and ecstasy, diplomacy and deception, and religion and perdition. The complexities of character and plot are sometimes enigmatic, and names are often exhausting to recollect, but the genius of this book is everlasting.” AZ

The impressive dialog sparkles with humor and wit, and the vivid scenes of battle are riveting.” AZ “The novel also sets forth a theory of history, concluding that there is a minimum of free choice; all is ruled by an inexorable historical determinism.” LNWar and Peace is nothing more or less than a complete portrait of human existence.” BN

The book is well known for its length. “Even the author said it couldn't be described as a novel. But the characters of Andrei, Pierre and Natasha – and the tragic and unexpected way their lives intersect – grip you for all 1,400 pages.” TG

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