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War and Peace (Cambridge World Classics) Critical Edition (Annotated) (Complete Works of Leo Tolstoy / Complete Works of Leo Tolstoi Book 2) by [Tolstoy, Leo, Tolstoi, Leo]
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War and Peace (Cambridge World Classics) Critical Edition (Annotated) (Complete Works of Leo Tolstoy / Complete Works of Leo Tolstoi Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in Complete Works of Leo Tolstoy / Complete Works of Leo Tolstoi (2 Book Series)
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Product Details

  • File Size: 3738 KB
  • Print Length: 1594 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge World Classics (November 30, 2010)
  • Publication Date: November 30, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004ELAHJA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,613 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Craig McKay on December 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This is an annotated version of a book that everyone knows of, but not enough take the time to read. Admittedly, it is long. Surprisingly it is gripping from begining to end.
Tolstoy displays an understanding of the diverse motivations which drive us all. If more people understood the confused and arbitrary nature of the human idiocy we call War, fewer would want anything to do with it. Reading Tolstoy's epic novel is a good start.
Thinking it would be a challenge, I set a goal to read thirty pages a day of War and Peace. Each day I found myself reading more and more. As with all great books, it seemed to be finished too soon.
The annotations are a very enjoyable addition. Just reading about Tolstoy's life is a story in itself. His activities seem too much for one life.
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Except that the names were translated and that bothered me GREATLY. Cannot imagine why anyone would want to call Prince Andreï, ANDREW...
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You can find reviews and analyses of this book all over the internet; however I want to give you a contemporary view by an ordinary American woman - me.

What you've heard is true - it IS long. What you've feared is NOT true - it is not dry or dull or uneventful. Several people have asked, when they heard I was reading this huge book, "What is it about?" I could only reply that it's about War and it's about Peace.

Sounds a bit simplistic, doesn't it, but there are really two novels here. One is about the daily life of the aristocracy in early 1800's Russia. The other is about the Napoleonic Wars, specifically the invasion of Russia by the French. The book switches back and forth between these two themes.

The "peace" part of the book details the lives of rich and landed nobility. Tolstoy excels in bringing these characters to life and drawing you in to their exploits, desires, constant balls and dinners and the smallest things that fill their days. Think of it as an early Russian DOWNTON ABBEY. And you WILL be as captivated by their lives as you are by that very popular television series.

The "war" portion of the book is remarkably correct, historically, according to many experts on such things. The disagreement with Tolstoy lies in his opinion of WAR and what causes it, what carries it forward and how it is won or lost.

He gives no credence to strategy, planning or "great" leaders, believing instead in historical determinism, the idea that events unfold as determined by providence. He gives many examples of the randomness of battles and how the occurred and were won or lost based on the most insignificant factors - the fog, orders lost or not delivered or misunderstood, etc. etc.
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War and Peace

Beyond the panoramic Battles of Austerlitz and Borodino, the muffled burning of Moscow and Napoleon's dilapidated retreat, Tolstoy in War and Peace painted the Napoleonic War's dislodging the cast of characters from their apparel concerns, gossipy sorties, troubled marriages and career ambitions and through their social clumsiness, oppressive ideals, spiritual dullness and determined naivete, extorted their unavoidable responses to these tidal waves.

While Napoleon sought to drive history's course through his lashing will and reining determination by marching onto Moscow, Kutuzov by sensing and attuning to the historical current tactically retreated beyond Moscow and after the Napoleonic army's natural dissipation trailed its chaotic retreat. Tolstoy, who believed historical crosswinds to be too complicated for any Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan to align, favored Kutuzov's naturalistic craftsmanship and through Pierre, applied it to personal destiny.

After his wife had left him, Pierre's clumsy and sometimes-comic search for meaning led him to freemasonry, whose esoteric philosophy failed to pave a new path beyond the thorns and thistles. Although he accepted life storms serenely, his what for and so what would continue to harass him until he met Karataev, who showed him the life unified to the land, the sea and the air and harmonious with their rhythmsa mystical naturalism favored by Tolstoy. However, at the novel's conclusion, our hero's life as a conscientious nobleman, a contributing intelligentsia and an accommodating family man, perhaps a sign that age would squander aspirations and the years would sap physical and emotional energy, smelled of defeat to his previous pilgrimage.
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This is the Maude translation of Tolstoy's masterpiece, which has been a standard version for many years. It is a bit old-fashioned and there is some awkwardness in the way the French language passages are handled. There are other hiccups in the scanned typography whch pop up now and then. However, the price ($.99)/value proposition is very good, and the narrative is simply outstanding. Beware Tolstoy's embedded philosophical and metaphysical digressions, which apparently made him a virtual saint to the Russian people, but which are now simply tedious. These are easily identified and you can read them if you want...I skimmed, and felt I didn't miss anything.
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