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War and Peace (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1968

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Product Details

  • Series: Signet Classics
  • Mass Market Paperback: 1456 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics (August 1, 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451523261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451523266
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Count Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9, 1828, in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia. Orphaned at nine, he was brought up by an elderly aunt and educated by French tutors until he matriculated at Kazan University in 1844. In 1847, he gave up his studies and, after several aimless years, volunteered for military duty in the army, serving as a junior officer in the Crimean War before retiring in 1857. In 1862, Tolstoy married Sophie Behrs, a marriage that was to become, for him, bitterly unhappy. His diary, started in 1847, was used for self-study and self-criticism; it served as the source from which he drew much of the material that appeared not only in his great novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), but also in his shorter works. Seeking religious justification for his life, Tolstoy evolved a new Christianity based upon his own interpretation of the Gospels. Yasnaya Polyana became a mecca for his many converts At the age of eighty-two, while away from home, the writer suffered a break down in his health in Astapovo, Riazan, and he died there on November 20, 1910.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The details as described by Tolstoy are impressive.
Steven A. Peterson
This book has been reviewed a lot so I will not go into the story of the book, but I will tell you that this was a such a great book.
You missing a lot, as this is truly one of the greatest novels ever written.
Exequiel Pitargue

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Tom Moran on June 5, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"War and Peace" is one of those mammoth behemoths of a novel that everyone aspires to read and few manage to finish. This is a shame, because its reputation as the Ultimate Big Massive Tome has, unfortunately, obscured the fact that it tells a very gripping story and is infinitely rewarding and re-readable.
I'm in a position to say this because I've read this book anywhere from half-a-dozen to a dozen times (to be honest I've lost count). For many years I would read one of Tolstoy's big novels every year, alternating between "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina." Along the way I've read three of the four major translations of the book multiple times.
The four translations, in order of appearance, are:
1) Constance Garnett
2) Louise and Alymer Maude
3) Rosemary Edmonds
4) Ann Dunnigan
Of these four translations, I would recommend either Edmonds or Dunnigan. Here's why. The Garnett and Maude translations date from the first three decades of the 20th Century. Edmonds' translation was originally published in 1957, and Dunnigan's in 1968 (for some reason, no one has tried to come up with a new translation of "War and Peace" in the past 35 years). The definitive (to date) Russian text of the novel was published in the early 1960s: Edmonds revised her translation in 1978 to take into account the new version.
In general, unless you're reading an older translation, not for the sake of its putative author but for the translator (which is the only reason to read, for example, the Urquhart-Motteux Rabelais or Chapman's Homer), you're almost always better off sticking with a modern translation. And that's the case with "War and Peace." It's either Edmonds or Dunnigan.
It's a close call. You really won't go wrong with either one of them.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Steven A. Peterson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 21, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" (this version) is almost 1500 pages long. To try to review this in any detail would be futile. The book, simply, covers so much territory that it might be better to take a different approach. Following, then, is something like a set of random observations.

For most intellectual males, the key character here is Pyotr/Pierre Bezukhov. Many (including me) see him as a person who is trying desperately to understand what values ought to guide one's life. He tries debauchery, philosophy, the simple perspective of Platon. In the end, Platon's grounded perspective plus his love for Natalie (Natasha) Rostova gives his life meaning. Who cannot feel the pathos/depth of Pierre's statement to Natasha (page 725): "If I were not myself, but were the handsomest, cleverest, best man in the world, and were free, I would be on my knees this minute asking for your hand and for your love."

Other events. There is a wonderfully graphic description of the devastating defeat of the combined Austrian-Russian forces at Austerlitz, the greatest victory of Napoleon. The details as described by Tolstoy are impressive. He clearly has his favorites, such as the Russian General Bagration (who was, in reality, superb at Austerlitz). His depiction of the old General Katuzov is also well drawn. Indeed, so, too, is the description of the great battle at Borodino, in which, while the Russians did not prevail, neither, in the long run, did the French.

Pierre tried to do a great deed in Moscow, and failed (there was always a bit of the inept about him in the novel). His travails as a prisoner as the French withdrew in their death march back toward France are well told and poignant.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steven Greene on May 21, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Though I felt that Tolstoy could have used a good editor when it came to some of the war sections and his extended philosophizing, the greatness of this book far outweighs these complaints. To me, Tolstoy's absolute genius lies in his ability to so perfectly and thoroughly get inside the heads of his characters. They are all stunningly real and human. Tolstoy frequently made observations about people and relationships that just stunned me because they were so obviously true, but I had never conceptualized them as such myself. In short, I think what makes this an exceptional novel is Tolstoy's unparalled insight into the human condition. This insight results in wonderfully-drawn characters that will surely never be forgotten. It was not always easy making it through the nearly 1500 pages, but it was most definitely worthy it. I can also highly recommend the Signet Classic edition translated by Ann Dunnigan.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Anyechka on August 11, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There are many books that one is led to believe are great books and classics beyond reproach even before one has actually read those books. This is one of those books that manages to live up to the hype, whose reputation as an undisputed classic is well-earned instead of just being something that generations have been indoctrinated into believing is great without any real supporting evidence. I'm sorry it took me so long to finally read it, but whatever your age when you read it, it's still one of those books that makes you grown-up, at least intellectually, and when you finish reading it, you finally understand why so many other people have been singing its praises for so long. I was left too exhausted to read much of anything for some time after the 19 days I spent reading it, it was that much of an investment of time and emotion. It is THE book among books, simply put.

This novel emcompasses so many different characters and storylines it's really hard to summarise it neatly and tersely. It truly lives up to the title, though I personally liked the parts set in peacetime or at the homefront during wartime over the battle scenes. Yet for all the characters we're presented with to digest, the great majority of them are aristocrats or of the Royal Family, being princes, princesses, counts, countesses, and other titled people. They are also more French than Russian, which is surprising given the level of hostility towards Napoleon and the French; it only becomes dangerous and illegal in 1812 to be caught speaking French. Many of these people speak French easier and more fluently than they speak Russian, though they firmly consider themselves Russian and are very patriotric towards their nation's side in the Napoleonic wars.
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