War and Peace

Front Cover
Signet Classic, 1968 - Fiction - 1456 pages
29 Reviews
Eschewing the "great man" theory of history, Tolstoy shows how events are determined by large numbers of people whose actions coalesce at any moment in history to determine the course of events. Arguing that the closer people are to a situation the more they believe they have exercised free will, and the farther away people are from that situation the more they realize that their actions were already determined by past events, Tolstoy demonstrates the theory by means of the characters and actions. There is single protagonist. Rather, from among the more than five hundred and fifty characters, both real and imagined, several major families interact with one another: the Rostovs, the Bolkonskys, the Kuragins, the Drubetskoys, and Pierre Bezuhov, the natural son of a Russian nobleman. From among these families, a few male and female characters emerge who become focal points for the narrative: the men--Nikolay Rostov, Andrey Bolkonsky, Boris Drubetskoy, Anatole Kuragin--and the women--Natasha Rostova, Marya Bolkonskaya, and Helene Kuragin. If the reader must narrow the cast of characters even further, the two who stand at the very center from the beginning of the novel to its end are Pierre and Natasha, who after many tribulations are finally married at the novel's conclusion. Other important characters are Kutuzov, the great Russian general who drives Napoleon (the French) out of Russia by understanding that he must allow events to happen as they will, and the Russian peasant, Platon Karatayev, who teaches Pierre much the same lesson. As the title suggests, the novel is built upon a series of contrasts. Tolstoy balances nonmilitary actions with military actions even to the point of interweaving peaceful interludes during the time that all Russia is at war. Balanced also are alternations in mood: Rapture is balanced with despair, joy with care and trouble, and death with birth.

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Must be read at least twice !!

User Review  - SYLAR - Flipkart

Not becoz you wont understand it the first time , its just that you need to spend more time to truely appreciate the classic by tolstoy..the epilogue is so true that even after more than 100 yrs since this book was written the validity of what has been written in the book still hold s true Read full review

war and peace

User Review  - abhishek anand - Flipkart

i really find this book boring and the there are so many charecters.english is bit tough and needs hard work to understand Read full review

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About the author (1968)

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.

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