Tolstoj, War and Peace

Dec 2015
27
Colle Umberto (tv) Italy
Last Christmas I received this book.
I fear to read it eh eh.
I had read another books of Tolstoj and I've a curiosity for this. Do you recommend it as reading?
 
Jul 2018
3
Athens, Greece
It's arguably one of the best books ever written so....

Having said this, although it is an interesting source for the era, it focuses more on character development than the events themselves. If your primary goal is to learn more about the 1812 War there are better (and shorter) books to read.
 
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Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,207
Welsh Marches
It's a wonderful book, but it takes a bit of effort to get into it; I would recommend starting with Anna Karenina, if you haven't already read it.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,475
reasonable enough novel. bad history,

Tolstoy is a middllin authour for mine., readable but Prefer others.
 

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,212
India
It's a wonderful book, but it takes a bit of effort to get into it; I would recommend starting with Anna Karenina, if you haven't already read it.
'War and Peace ' is a hard book to read. The picture starring Audrey Hepburn as Natasha was far better. One fails to understand what was it that Tolstoy wanted the reader to appreciate. Of course, being a Russian, he is openly anti-Napoleon. Not really the greatest book from Tolstoy. And as is common with Russian novels ( and as pointed out by someone else ), you have to keep a ' Who's who ' list of characters otherwise you may lose track of what is going on.
 

arkteia

Ad Honorem
Nov 2012
4,723
Seattle
I don't know why people consider it hard. I read it five times in my life. There is such an element in it, though...it is not a history book. If you like Balzac, Hugo, Flaubert, Maupassan, then it is definitely the book for you.

Tolstoy stands out because he managed to capture and describe the female psyche and feelings; very few male authors managed to do it.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,207
Welsh Marches
It is not really hard to read, but it does require some effort and attention at the start; once you get absorbed by the world that Tolstoy conjures up, it becomes difficult to put down; Tolstoy is one of the few novelists who stands on a similar level to Sahkespeare for depth of insight into human nature and the human condition, and also the richness of the characterization (for the women as much as the men, I agree in that regard with the previous post). One need not pay too much attention to Tolstoy's historical theorizing, in truth he was something of a crank in that regard, as with his religious and philosophical ideas, but that does not mean that his novels fail to give a wonderful picture of Russia and many aspects of its society at the period in question - people who casually dismiss War and Peace as being 'bad history' fail to take account of that distinction.
 
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rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,212
India
Tolstoy possibly did not know how to present Napoleon's attack on Russia--whether as a historical fiction or his personal ideas on history or a work of pure fiction . He seems to have fallen in between three stools. Pierre is not convincing nor is Prince Andrei. But as Arkteia says above Natasha comes off convincing as a young girl, becoming a young woman. I maintain that the Hollywood picture was better.
 
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