•Charles River Editors original background, summary and analysis of War and Peace
•The complete War and Peace
“Man in connection with the general life of humanity appears subject to laws which determine that life. But the same man apart from that connection appears to be free. How should the past life of nations and of humanity be regarded—as the result of the free, or as the result of the constrained, activity of man? That is a question for history.” – Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (Epilogue 2, Ch. VIII)
Leo Tolstoy (September 9, 1828 – November 20, 1910) was a Russian writer who earned fame and global renown for his novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Writing during the late 19th century, Tolstoy lived during a literary period in which Realism flourished, and today his two novels are considered the apex of realist fiction. Tolstoy is also known for his complex and somewhat paradoxical persona, holding both moralistic and ascetic views during the final decades of his life.
War and Peace is an unquestioned masterpiece, depicting in vivid and graphic detail the events of the Napoleonic Era leading up to Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, and the impact these events had on Tsarist Russia’s society. The narrative tells the tale through the eyes of 5 Russian aristocratic families. The novel was first published in its entirety in 1869, and in 2009 the magazine Newsweek ranked it the best book ever written.
Although it is fiction, Tolstoy extensively researched history of the Napoleonic Era, as well as consulting military history, to make the book incredibly real. Tolstoy read all the standard histories available in Russian and French about the Napoleonic Wars and combined more traditional historical writing into the form of a novel. Tolstoy even spoke with people who had lived through war during the French invasion of Russia in 1812. There are approximately 160 real persons named or referred to in War and Peace.
The Ultimate War and Peace Collection is the perfect resource for those who love the book and those who have never read it. Along with the novel itself, this collection includes a comprehensive guide for understanding this seminal literary classic, including a prologue about the book and a comprehensive explanation of the book’s characters, plot, themes, and its influential and enduring legacy.