Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: War and Peace
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on December 23, 2010
Amazon's policy of lumping all editions and reviews for a certain title is preposterous and extremely misleading. It even occurs for books that are only related by their title and have completely different content (e.g. the Harold Bloom collection of criticism regarding All Quiet on the Western Front is presented as if it's an edition of that book). In this case (War and Peace), the Kindle edition is NOT the translation that's mentioned in the product description (Pevear and Volokhonsky). In fact, it's impossible to know who translated the Kindle edition, even after the file is downloaded (most likely it's the Aylmer and Shanks edition, produced early in the 20th century). While probably not intentional on Amazon's part (it's almost certainly the result of a sloppy database), the result is clearly false advertising. It's not a big deal when the Kindle book costs $0.00, but the problem is common and can result in considerable wasted money and time.
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on January 16, 2011
The two stars isn't for the literature, it is for the product. Two stars because I want this to serve as an alert to help the reader find what he is looking for when Amazon is aiming him/her in unknown directions.

Amazon sets up pages purporting to be a kindle product of the edition described on the page, which is not the case when it comes to these works with multiple translated editions out there. For instance, there is a "superior formatted" "Kindle Edition" version in Kindle Books of what is stated to be the Constance Garnett translation:

http://www.amazon.com/War-and-Peace-ebook/dp/B003X4M9F4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328585336&sr=1-1

It is not Garnett. It is Maude.

Because of these misrepresentations, it takes a lot of work to try to figure out if the version you want is even available, much less what is offered for download on that page. So to help you out, all I can suggest is to download the free sample and compare the first lines of the first two paragraphs to the following:

First, there is a recent translation of a very different first draft of War and Peace.
BROMFIELD (2007)

first paragraph:
"Eh bien, mon prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now merely estates, the private estates of the Buonaparte family."

second paragraph
"These were the words with which, in July 1805, the renowned Anna..."
----------------

PEVEAR AND VOLOKHONSKY (2007):
first paragraph:

"Eh bien, mon prince, Genes and Lucques ne sont plus que des apanages, des estates, de la famille Buonaparte. Non, je vous préviens, que si vous ne me dites pas que nous avons la guerre, si vous vous permettez encore de pallier toutes les infamies, toutes les atrocités de cet Antichrist (ma parole, j'y crois)-- je ne vous connais plus, vous n'etes plus mon ami, vous n'etes plus my faithful slave, comme vous dites. Well, good evening, good evening. Je vois que je vouis fais peur, sit down and tell me about it."

second:

So spoke, in July 1805, the renowned Anna Pavlovna Scherer, maid of honor and intimate of the empress Maria Feodorovna,..."
------------------

the rest can easily be distinguished by just the first line of the book, but I also compare the first line of the second paragraph to make it even more readily apparent:

BRIGGS (2005) :

first paragraph:

"Well, Prince, Genoa and Lucca are now nothing more than estates taken over by the Buonaparte family. (1)"

second paragraph:
"These words were spoken (in French) on evening in July 1805..."
-------------------

EDMONDS (1957, revised in 1978):

"Eh bien, mon prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now no more than private estates of the Bonaparte family."

"It was on a July evening in 1805 and the speaker was the well known Anna Pavlovna Scherer, ..."
-------------------

DUNNIGAN (1968):
"Eh bien, mon prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now no more than family estates of the Bonapartes,"

"With these words the renowned Anna Pavlovna Scherer, lady in waiting and confidante to the Empress..."
--------------------

PRINCESS ALEXANDRA KROPOTKIN (1949) (her revised abridged translation):

first paragraph:
"WELL, prince, Genoa and Lucca are now nothing more than estates of the Bonaparte family."

second:
"Thus on a July evening in 1805 the well-known Anna Pavlovna Scherer, maid of honor and confidential friend..."

--------------------

MAUDE (1922):

first paragraph:
"Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes."

second:
"It was in July, 1805, and the speaker was the well-known Anna Pavlovna Scherer, maid of honor..."

--

MAUDE (2010 update for Oxford World's Classics by Amy Mandelker in which she puts back Tolstoy's French)

first paragraph:
"Eh bien, mon prince, Genes and Lucques ne sont plus que des apanages, des estates, de la famille Buonaparte. Non, je vous préviens, qui si vous ne me dites pas, que nous avons la guerre, si vous vous permettez encore de pallier toutes les infamies, toutes les atrocités de cet Antichrist (ma parole, j'y crois)-- je ne vous connais plus, vous n'etes plus mon ami, vous n'etes plus my faithful slave, comme vous dites. Well, how do you do? How do you do? Je vois que je vous fais peur-- sit down and tell me all the news.'

second:
It was in July 1805, and the speaker was the well-known Anna Pavlovna Scherer, maid of honour and favourite of the Empress Marya Fyodorovna. With these words she greeted...

---------------

GARNETT (1904):

(CAUTION: An abridged version of her translation by Edmund Fuller was published in 1963 by Scholastic Book Services (New York))

first paragraph:
"Well, Prince, Genoa and Lucca are now no more than private estates of the Bonaparte family. (1)"

"These words were uttered in July 1805 by Anna Pavlovna Scherer, a distinguished lady of the court,..."
------------

WIENER (1904, as included in his "The Complete Works of Count Tolstóy, Volume V."

first paragraph:
"Eh bien, mon prince, Genes et Lucques ne sont plus que des apanages, des country estates, de la famille Bounaparte."

second:
"Thus spoke, in July, 1805, the well-known Anna Pávlovna Scherer, lady of honour and intimate of Empress Máriya Fédorovna, upon..."

---
EDIT NOTE (previously all i could find to offer for Wiener's translation were words for comparison from Part IX (from Volume VII of The Complete Works...) titled "1864-1869." The dates are related to the life of Tolstoy, not the story.

"Toward the end of the year 1811 the Powers of Western Europe began a more active armament and concentration of their forces, and in 1812 these forces, consisting of millions of people (including those who transported and fed the army), moved from the West to the East, toward the boundaries of Russia, where, since the same year 1811, the Russian forces had been concentrating."
-----------

DOLE (1889 by T. Y. Crowell & Co.)
first paragraph:
"Well, prince, Genoa and Lucca are now nothing more than the apanages, than the private property of the Bonaparte family. I warn you that if you do not tell me we are going to have war, if you still allow yourself to condone all the infamies, all the atrocities of this Antichrist-- on my word I believe he is Antichrist -- that is the end of our acquaintance; you are no longer my faithful slave, as you call yourself. Now, be of good courage, I see I frighten you. Come, sit down and tell me all about it."

second:
"It was on a July evening, 1805, that the famous Anna Pavlovna Scherer, maid of honor and confidant of the Empress Maria Feodorovna, thus greeted the influential statesman, Prince Vasili, who was the first to arrive at her reception."

---

as appears in a collection edited by DOLE in 1898 as "The Complete Works of Lyof N. Tolstoï " by Thomas Y Crowell Co., and in 1929 as "The Works of Lyof N. Tolstoy" by Charles Scribner's Sons:

first paragraph:
"Well, prince, Genoa and Lucca are now nothing more than the apanages of the Bonaparte family. I warn you that if you do not tell me we are going to have war, if you still allow yourself to condone all the infamies, all the atrocities, of this Antichrist-- on my word I believe he is Antichrist, -- I will not recognize you; that is the end of our friendship; you shall no longer be my faithful slave, as you call yourself. There now, cheer up, cheer up, I see I frighten you. Come, sit down and tell me all about it."

second:
"Thus on a July evening in 1805 the well-known Anna Pavlovna Scherer, maid of honor and confidential friend of the Empress Maria Feodorovna, greeted the influential statesman, Prince Vasíli, who was the first to arrive at her reception."
-------------

CLARA BELL (1885-86)
first paragraph:
"Well, Prince, what did I tell you? Genoa and Lucca have become the property of the Bonapartes. Now, I give you fair warning, you will forfeit your position as my friend -- as my faithful slave, as you choose to say --..."

second:
"The time was July 1805, the place St. Petersburg, and the speaker Anna Paulovna-Schérer, maid of honor to her majesty the Empress-dowager of the Russias,..."

or
CLARA BELL (This is no. 525 of Everyman's Library 1915 reprint of 1911 printing - Published in London by J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd & in New York by E. P. DUTTON & CO. )
first paragraph:
"Well, prince, what did I tell you? Genoa and Lucca have become the property of the Bonapartes."

second:
"The time was July, 1805, the place St. Petersburg, and the speaker Anna Paulovna Schérer, maid of honour to her majesty the empress-dowager of the Russias,..."
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on February 16, 2010
This is one of my all-time favorite books. Tolstoy writes with an amazing inner knowledge of people, each of his characters really comes alive. Occasionally he departs from the story to comment on the war, but I appreciated his views on that, too. This is a story to settle down in for awhile. Worth your time.
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on November 13, 2010
I'm not sure, but I think all of the reviews for all the editions of War and Peace (including audio versions) were lumped together. This review is for the free Kindle version, which does not indicate which translation it is (there are some reviews that mention differing translations, some of which are of the first draft rather than of the finished work).

What I read on my iTouch was a beautiful historical novel beautifully written. Tolstoy portrays the characters, the country, and the military engagements and blunders so well that I came to realize very early why this novel continues to be considered one of the greatest novels written. I'm glad I finally read it and wished I hadn't waited so long.

The major drawback to this edition: perhaps it was because I was using the iTouch app, but there were no explanatory notes when there was an asterisk in the text. This was a minor irritant, because the context and my sub-fluent but passable knowledge of French was often sufficient to figure out what was being said, but definitely an omission that should not have been overlooked when publishing this Kindle version. If you feel you owe it to yourself to read War and Peace because you've been putting it off (just as I feel I put it off for too long), you may want to look into different translations and definitely purchase a copy that includes the footnotes.
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on July 26, 2010
I will be finishing this epic novel in a week from now.
Its been a month since I started it and read other books along with it. I like to read more than one book at a time to break things up a little bit. Who watches only one television series for a month? Well OK, there are those that probably do that.

It has been quite an amazing journey with many twists and turns. There seems to be many things to be learned about Russia. War and Peace is a massive book, but I found it much easier to read than Atlas Shrugged(fiction displaying what pure socialism could produce) which is also quite a large book.

The free Kindle version from Amazon ended up being the translation from "Louise and Aylmer Maude"(1922-23) and not from "Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky" (2007) though the image shared displayed the later.

Amazon rules for offering these classics!
Thank You Amazon.
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on April 24, 2010
I would like to have a well translated edition of War & Peace. Other Kindle editions disclose one way or another who performed the translation. After downloading the sample I am still in the dark. It would be a kindness if Kindle always identified the translator of books from languages other than
English.
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on April 20, 2010
I read this when I was in Vietnam and declared it the "best book I've ever read." I'm going to revisit it with this Kindle version. I have qualified the "greatest ever" with Ken Follett's "Pillars of the Earth" though I suspect it doesn't meet the critics' criteria. "Pillars" is just the most entertaining historical novel I've read....a totally different sort of reading experience. "War and Peace" is "epic" in ever sense of the word. It's an astounding story.
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on July 3, 2015
At the outset, I found myself continually asking... Why is this a classic? He (Tolstoy) is just a story teller. A bit wordy, but not really earth shattering. I wondered if something was perhaps lost in the translation. But I slogged on, and on and on... Maybe I should have started with the final prologue (who has more than one prologue?) but, I confess, without the story line, the machinations of men and women, small and great--the conclusions would have lost much of their impact. From and to this current age where it seems that there are no absolutes, his ability to cut through much of the fluff to the underlying truth was actually refreshing.
I would recommend this to anyone with time on their hands, a love of reading and a mind open to a different age and and philosophy. In our 30 minute society of instant gratification, few will be so inclined. Ah, such a pity.
One final comment... Thank you Kindle! This translation is rife French passages, of which I would have been at a loss without the translation feature. This made for a much richer experience. The vocabulary was at times archaic, words that I was unfamiliar with, and again, Kindle to the rescue. If you plan to read this version, you will appreciate the technology!
And now, I can finally claim success, I have read "War and Peace"! 😀
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on January 14, 2016
Classic and must read for everyone! I don't like to write too much in book reviews because I feel that in order to adequately write a review, I would have to give away information that would be key to plot. I don't like to be the person to give away spoilers. Therefore my book reviews are always very short and only say a few things in order to tell you, book reviews are much to subjective and I never read a book review before I read a book. I read a book based on what the book is about which I don't read a review to get. If you want more information, buy the book and read it. :)
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on July 13, 2001
I am reviewing the Abridged version of this on 4 CDs, which it has taken me over two years to finally listen to. This is because only on long drives do you dare start in on War and Peace, but on those same drives you don't want to fall asleep. So I compromised and started to listen to the CDs on two-hour drives, which was long enough to get in one or two of these CDs. Once you catch the pace of these CDs, it works. There are musical, symphonic-sounding transitions between scenes and chapters, which especially help set the mood for the battlefield parts.
The sweep of this story, though, probably requires eight CDs. Especially difficult to decipher in this condensation are 1) Reasons for Napolean invading Russia in the first place; 2) Why the French army fell apart and had to retreat after sacking Moscow; 3) How Prince Andrei became worthy of anything; and 4) The extent to which the crucible of war really transformed Pierre's character.
The good news is that this CD collection produces a breakthrough, or maybe just an easy accomplishment of saying "I've read 'War and Peace'"--but mainly a quick look to prepare for actually reading the whole thing.
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