War and Peace (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) [NOOK Book]

Overview


War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of ...

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War and Peace (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview


War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
 
The most famous—and perhaps greatest—novel of all time, Tolstoy’s War and Peace tells the story of five families struggling for survival during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.
 
Among its many unforgettable characters is Prince Andrey Bolkonsky, a proud, dashing man who, despising the artifice of high society, joins the army to achieve glory.  Badly wounded at Austerlitz, he begins to discover the emptiness of everything to which he has devoted himself.  His death scene is considered one of the greatest passages in Russian literature.
 
The novel's other hero, the bumbling Pierre Bezukhov, tries to find meaning in life through a series of philosophical systems that promise to resolve all questions. He at last discovers the Tolstoyan truth that wisdom is to be found not in systems but in the ordinary processes of daily life, especially in his marriage to the novel's most memorable heroine, Natasha.
 
Both an intimate study of individual passions and an epic history of Russia and its people, War and Peace is nothing more or less than a complete portrait of human existence.

 

Joseph Frank is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton University and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and Slavic Languages and Literature at Stanford University. He is the author of a five-volume study of Dostoevsky’s life and work.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781411433717
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 1200
  • Sales rank: 18,047
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Joseph Frank is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton University and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and Slavic Languages and Literature at Stanford University. He is the author of a five-volume study of Dostoevsky’s life and work.

Biography

Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 on the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana, in the Tula province, where he spent most of his early years, together with his several brothers. In 1844 he entered the University of Kazan to read Oriental Languages and later Law, but left before completing a degree. He spent the following years in a round of drinking, gambling and womanizing, until weary of his idle existence he joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus in 1851.

He took part in the Crimean war and after the defence of Sevastopol wrote The Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6), which established his literary reputation. After leaving the army in 1856 Tolstoy spent some time mixing with the literati in St Petersburg before traveling abroad and then settling at Yasnaya Polyana, where he involved himself in the running of peasant schools and the emancipation of the serfs. His marriage to Sofya Andreyevna Behrs in 1862 marked the beginning of a period of contentment centred around family life; they had thirteen children. Tolstoy managed his vast estates, continued his educational projects, cared for his peasants and wrote both his great novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877).

During the 1870s he underwent a spiritual crisis, the moral and religious ideas that had always dogged him coming to the fore. A Confession (1879–82) marked an outward change in his life and works; he became an extreme rationalist and moralist, and in a series of pamphlets written after 1880 he rejected church and state, indicted the demands of flesh, and denounced private property. His teachings earned him numerous followers in Russia and abroad, and also led finally to his excommunication by the Russian Holy Synod in 1901. In 1910 at the age of eighty-two he fled from home "leaving this worldly life in order to live out my last days in peace and solitude;" he died some days later at the station master's house at Astapovo.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Books LTD.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 9, 1828
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tula Province, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      November 20, 1910
    2. Place of Death:
      Astapovo, Russia

Read an Excerpt


From Joseph Frank’s Introduction to War and Peace

 

            Tolstoy’s masterly portrayal of military life, already evident in his earlier work, reaches new heights in War and Peace on a much larger scale. No other novel can compete with Tolstoy’s in the superb panoply he offers of regimental displays and parades, and of battle scenes seen both from a distance and in close combat. Also, as Marie Eugène Melchior, vicomte de Vogüé, noted in Le Roman russe 1886, his pioneering book on the Russian novel, which brought writers like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky to the attention of the European public, no one could compete with Tolstoy in his portrayal of the life of the court and the upper reaches of society. The Vicomte himself, who had frequented the Russian court, remarks that when writers attempt to portray such closed social circles of the highest society they rarely succeed in winning the confidence of their readers; but Tolstoy had no such difficulty because here he was “in his native element.” He was in his native element as well, after his years in the Caucasus and in Sevastopol, in the many scenes in which the rank-and-file Russian soldiers banter with each other around their bivouacs or while marching to and from their battles.

Nothing fascinated Tolstoy more, at least in this period of his career, than the mysterious force that, as he put it, moved millions of men to march from west to east and then back again, all the while “perpetrat[ing] against one another so great a mass of crime—fraud, swindling, robbery . . . plunder, incendiarism, and murder—that the annals of all the criminal courts of the world could not muster such a sum of wickedness in whole centuries.” How could an event of this kind have taken place, “opposed to human reason and all human nature,” while at the same time “the men who committed those deeds did not at that time look on them as crimes.”

The problem of war and warfare more and more preoccupies Tolstoy as the book moves on, and it evolves into a theory of history whose ideas are scattered throughout these later chapters and argued theoretically in the second epilogue. Sir Isaiah Berlin’s The Hedgehog and the Fox views Tolstoy as a fox, unremittingly occupied with the minutiae of particulars while longing for the unitary vision of the hedgehog “who knows one big thing.” His brilliant and stimulating pages have given Tolstoy’s views on history a new prominence, but this is not the place to plunge into their philosophical complexities. As a great novelist, Tolstoy dramatizes the pith of his doctrines with illuminating clarity, and we can grasp their essential point by citing a few scenes from the book.

One such point is the impossibility of those presumably in command to anticipate what will happen on the battlefield, and thus the uselessness of all elaborate plans prepared in advance. The Austrian general Weyrother presents such a plan before the battle of Austerlitz and is certain that it will bring victory; but the combined Austrian-Russian forces are badly beaten. An even more elaborate plan is proposed before the battle of Borodino and proves equally useless. The reason for such failure is illustrated by the account of the minor battle of Schöngraben, where Prince Andrey watches the behavior of the Russian commander Prince Bagration as the fighting proceeds.

All sorts of contradictory reports came in, but “Prince Bagration confined himself to trying to appear as though everything that was being done of necessity, by chance, or at the will of individual officers, was all done, if not by his order, at least in accordance with his intentions.” As a result, officers who were “distraught regained their composure” and morale was strengthened. For Tolstoy, it was morale that ultimately decided the course of combat—the morale of the soldiers and the behavior of individuals like the unprepossessing Captain Tushin, who pays no attention to orders, responds to the immediate situation, and, as only Prince Andrey realizes, is really responsible for the Russsian success at Schöngraben . Tolstoy thus rejects the “great man” theory of history, particularly thinking of Napoleon, which attributes military success to the superior capacities of a leader capable of dominating in advance the uncertainties and vicissitudes of what transpires on the battlefield.

Prince Andrey learns another Tolstoyan lesson when, sent to report on a minor victory, he is ushered into the presence of Emperor Francis of Austria and discovers that those presumably in command had little or no interest in what really occurred to those fighting and dying on their behalf. The questions he is asked by the Emperor are completely trivial; no opening is provided him “to give an accurate description, just as he had it ready in his head,” and he realizes that the “sole aim” of the Emperor was to put a certain number of questions. “The answers to these questions, as was only too evident, could have no interest for him.” Much the same point is made about those supposedly in command, like Alexander I and Napoleon, who are so far removed from the reality of battle that they have no control over the result. Tolstoy is particularly concerned to undermine the reputation of Napoleon and does so in numerous scenes that display him as an ordinary mortal, extremely self-confident and erroneously convinced that he had complete mastery of the situation. Nothing astonishes him more than the Russian refusal to reply to his overtures for peace after capturing Moscow.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 73 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(45)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2007

    An Outstanding Book, An Infuriating Cover

    This review isn't for War and Peace (which is one of the greatest novels ever written), but this particular edition. Barnes and Noble Classics provides a wonderful, durable copy with an excellent translation for cheap. Why the loss of the star then? For two reasons. The first is that the footnotes are terrible. Arbitrary material will have a useless footnote and times when it would've been handy are ignored. The second is that the back cover of the book ruins the ending for you. Granted, this is a book widely discussed, so many already know how it turns out however, for the few who don't, this type of thing proves to be absolutely infuriating.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2006

    wounderful

    It took me a year to read Anna karenina and it took me less then a month to read war & peace. This is by far the best work that leo Tolstoy as written. Its amazing how well and life like his charecters can be. he really captures the human emotions of people when they are faced with hard and good times. I also enjoyed how he followed some of his charecters from childhood to adulthood and how their behavior changed with that age. This is by far one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written. I advise teenagers to read this book. Its not a waste of time and this is coming from a 14 year old. Please read this book.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2009

    My Take On Why It Was Written

    Why did Leo Tolstoy write War and Peace?

    I came across an interesting tidbit on the web that said General Kutuzov, having left no heirs, left his estate to the Tolstoy family. I couldn't quite find out whether the author was indeed a member of the family of the beneficiaries of Kutuzov, but in any case, then the case can be made that, at least in part, the novel was written as a way of redeeming Kutuzov's reputation; as it was tarnished by historians up to the time of the writing of the book.

    To this end, Tolstoy excrutiatingly builds the case against those historians who had excoriated Kutuzov, and in the end, demolishes those historians with a compendium of the most brilliant arguments I have ever read.

    The whole point of building his complex web of characters and plots was, to my thinking, to justify Tolstoy's end conclusions.

    Along the way so many topics are covered -- and so well-covered -- that this is a book that should be one everyone's "bucket list". Read this book before you die!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Thought Provoking

    I still do not understand this book. I'm like the kid who read Dotsevsky for school. I read Tolstoy again and I still don't really get it all.

    I liked Andrey. I put down the book when he died. I liked Natasha and her Uncle even better, during the sleigh ride. I enjouyed Andrey's likening himself to the leaveless oak who is way beyond spring and eternally wrought year round in winter's clothing.

    The battles and chess analogies and the ever Imperial Madame Pavlovich. You gotta love that name. The portrayal of Napoleon's King of France made me laugh. He was like a Pimpernel or something, lost in war.

    Other than Dune, it is the most complete book on the human pageantry which I have ever read. I need several more readings.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2008

    You need to understand it

    War and Peace is an outstanding analasyse of human culture, but you need to have a background on literature to be able to understand it, and some knowledge of Russian culture. If you do understand it this can be one of the best books in the world, but if you don't you'll fall asleep before the first chapter is over.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2006

    Completely Worth the Time!!!

    It is hard to describe just how good this book is. Tolstoy is a captivating author and the use of language is incredible. I found myself laugh out loud in a couple of parts and the characters were very well developed. Absolutely awesome book, don't be intimidated by the size of this book, it's worth every minute.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Sprawling Epic, a Masterpiece

    One of the greatest books ever written, Tolstoy's "War and Peace" captures the spirit of human existence itself and is heart-warming, exciting, humorous, and sad all at the same time. Tolstoy's knack for capturing human-beings as completely unique, seemingly real, rounded people enhances the core, epic plot of his tale, and his writing style guarantees that the expansive novel will never be boring. The vast range of emotions that the reader experiences when reading "War and Peace" makes it connect like nothing else can. Tolstoy's work is strangely accessible and easy to read and understand, which, in the case of "War and Peace" increases the beauty of the story in its day-to-day life approach. The characters differ widely; from the alternatingly cynical and hopeful Andrey, the misguided, likeable Pierre, the gorgeous, dauntless Natasha, and the pious, sacrificial Marya to the arrogant, air-headed depiction of Napoleon, the devious Dolohov, the obnoxiously pretentious Ellen, and her foolish brother Anatole, they capture different people and are all relatable in one way or another. The scope of the novel is impossible to put into words. From a heart-wrenching scene of two enemies coming to the same fate of death from wounds to the melancholy depictions of lost love, to pictures of rare joys, "War and Peace" transcends literature and becomes life as every human being has experienced it in some way.

    Truly a genius work of art!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Best Novel

    I would have to say this is one of the best novels I have ever read. I was a little intimidated by the size. Usually books this long can become boring at times and make you want to skip ahead. This book kept me wanting more. I had a hard time putting the book down and was sad when I finished. I have read some of Leo Tolstoy's other work and have fallen in love with his writing. He is a great writer and I can't believe I waited this long to read one of the best books ever to be written. The way he interwined the 5 families in this story of tragedy, heroism, love and defeat was brilliant. I plan on reading it again.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2006

    My favorite book

    I always enjoy Tolstoy's work, and this is by far his best. The intimate relationship which one develops with so many of the characters allows you to see the same events from different perspectives. People that are hesitant to read this book because they believe since so much history is involved, it will bore them to death like a textbook, should really give it a chance. The relationship the reader forms with the highly developed and true to life characters makes the historic elements, such as different battles in the Napoleonic war, very interesting and enjoyable. Tolstoy proved with this work that he had a deep and great understanding of human emotion and nature. That he was able to successfully work all these characters into a true historic context, is only a testament to his genius as a writer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    Goa

    Dar

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

    Please tap me if you have the book

    How many pages does this book have?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

    I loved it!!

    It was super interesting! I especially liked when the unicorn threw a potato at the seargent!! It was a great read, although a bit short. 127 nook pages. 10000 stars!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    Excited to read

    Im excited to get this book and read it heard its outstanding!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    Awesome

    I read war and peace and i liked it alot.i recomend this bookk to you

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2013

    Loved. This. Book

    It will take up the better part of your month as you travel through it but I felt a part of that world and was sad when I had to leave.

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  • Posted June 22, 2012

    This is a masterpiece of historical fiction. A stunning backgro

    This is a masterpiece of historical fiction. A stunning background of Russian aristocracy during the upheaval of the Napoleonic Era, Tolstoy drew upon long- lived accounts survivors' accounts to provide rich, vivid detail. Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, the sophisticated soldier, and bumbling, illegitimate but likable Count Pierre Buzukhof are the lead characters, representing in their way, war and peace.
    Both men love the lively Natasha Rostova, but only one man wins and redeems her, fittingly enough, Pierre (peace). Tolstoy uses the story as a vehicle for his often displayed critique of a decadent aristocracy brilliantly in French retreat from Moscow. Pierre learns much through suffering. Prince Andrei learns much through his experiences during the battle of Borodino, but dies of his wounds. Napoleon is defeated, Natasha and Pierre marry, and peace, for a time is restored.

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  • Posted August 29, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Need to read

    A grand sweep of Russian history as seen though the central characters of the book. And yet war and peace is not so much a historical novel as as it is a novel about the lives and loves about the people in the book. The ending is satifying but not surprising.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2011

    A great read.

    I found this book interesting and fairly easy to read. The plot is absorbing, although I thought there were too many characters and subplots (so many that some other things in the book were forgotten). The sheer length of the book may look intimidating and the novel takes too long to read so that is why it getting five stars.

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    Intellectually Stimulating

    Having seen The Last Station, I decided it was time to bit the bullet and read War and Peace. I plan to read it most of the summer...it's long and copmlicated but worth the price of admission. Lorna

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2007

    A deep and profound classic

    WAR AND PEACE successfully captured life's promises, challenges, joys, triumphs, and losses in a way that no other novels has done before and after. In this novel with more characters than any other I can imagine the main characters are Pierre Bezuhov, Prince Andrey Bolkonsky, and Natasha Rostov, who are all affected by the destabilization of the war Napoleon brought upon Russia in the early nineteenth century. It is around them that the other characters revolve. Even though the sheer size of this novel of over a million words may discourage readers to pick it up, the consuming nature of the story keeps a reader glued to the book from the opening pages. The sheer power of this romantic and adventurous story made this classic story to survive as perhaps the best of all times.

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