War and Peace (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
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War and Peace (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

4.4 167
by Leo Tolstoy

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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:


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:

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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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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War and Peace Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 4.4 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 167 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book it's just sad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
The_Beastlord_Slavedragon More than 1 year ago
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.
TheQuillPen More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 6 days ago
NAME:: S.T... that's it.<br> GENDER:: Male.<br> AGE:: Sixteen.<br> ETHNICITY:: He was born from a Swedish mother, and a Indian man. So he's a mix of the two.<br> SEXUALITY:: Straight.<br> RELATIONSHIP STATUS:: You nosy human, single.<br> CRUSH:: Not exactly.<br> APPERANCE::<br>//Skin// S.T's skin is a pale tan, being from a mixed family. He does have a bit of an Indian tint to him when put under the right lighting. As for flaws in his skin, he does sport a few strech mark and the occational break-out.<br>//Eyes// His eyes are. two different colors, due to the genetic mix. His right eye is a gentle blue-green, while the left is a dark hazel.<br>//Hair// The Indian side takes quite a tole on his hair, which explains the dark black-ish color it sports. The texture and style are bland, his hair soft and swept off to the side. He keeps it short, having some strands tucked away behind his ears.<br>//Face// S.T has a chisled face, his jaw easily defined. He does have higher cheekbones, and a tilted nose, but that's all that'll interest you.<br>//Body// He has slight muscles, as any other normal person. He stands at the height of 5'10". His weight? That'll remain hushed. Due to having an old spread of cancer along his arm while he was a child, S.T sports a rather large scar along his forearm. Eh, that's it.<p> PERSONALITY:: Yo. This is bull, go meet him.<br> LIKE/DISLIKES:; I'd put that, but it'll add another paragraph.<br> CLOTHING:: Since I'm lazy, I'll state when he enters.
Anonymous 9 days ago
Name: Alix Derez.<br> Age: 15.<br> Gender: Male.<br> Sexuality: Mm, gay.<br> Dating//Married: Noo//Ew. He's like two.<br> Crush: Here's a soda, leave.<p> APPERANCE-<br> Let's get one thing straight, he's tiny, m'kay?<br> Hair- Alix's hair is usually a tamed mess, sometimes a few curls can be found hidden within the rouge top-layer. His hair is as dark as it can get without using dye. For the length, his hair is long enough to hold a decent part, and hang down a bit.<br> Eyes: His eyes are a green colour, hidden behind thick lashes. His right eye does hold a bigger pupil than the other. Genetic issues.<br> Facial Fetures: Alix's face is quite soft and child-looking. His jaw curves at a gentle angle, and his cheekbones are at a more feminie height. As for his nose, that's just small. He does have a splatter of freckles over his nose ans cheeks, and his lips are always a light pink shade.<br> Body/Frame: Alix has pale skin all around him, giving away his dislike towards being outside. He's short too, standing at 5'2". As for this height, he sports a thin frame. His shoulders are narrow, his waist small. What did you expect? A model?<p> Clothing: Alix wears the next thing in his closet, it could be a tank-top with lower sleeves, or maybe an oversized sweater with shorts. The odds are endless. /Stated when he walks in./<p> Personality: Alix is a calm, solemn person. Being around him could bore you, but that's a you problem. He does get quite protective over those he feels strongly towards. He's smart too, but that's just nothing. Meet the guy!<br> Likes: Strawberries, movies, being indoors, sketching, admiring things from afar, etc..<br> Dislikes: Being alone for long periods of time, the dark, outside, larger animals, rain, etc.
Anonymous 10 days ago
Anonymous 11 days ago
Name: look up above... age:16 crush: Seth eye color: blue hair color: blonde hobbies: Fishin, swimming, basketball, track. Personality: im super nice until someone pi<_>sses me off. Or hurts someone i love. I have a kind heart and i try to be frienfly to everyone and i try not to leave anyone single.
Anonymous 20 days ago
Looks: Kinda tall. Long thick culry brown hair with red and blond tints in it. Mixed with Mexican germon and hasion. Has a golden skin color. Big brown eyes that has some green. Athletic body thats curvy. Pesonality: Nice untill you make her mad or talk about someone she cares about. Funny and sweet and werid. Has 13 siblings youngest on her dads side 4th oldest on her moms side (her twin sisters are the only ones younger than her) She loves red velvet. Lol cant thinl of what else to put so anything else just ask
Anonymous 22 days ago
Anonymous 30 days ago
Name: Lucy, "Lou", Chan <br> Nationality: Fillipino <br> Age: 17 <br> Lou stands at 5'5" and weighs 109 pounds. She has an hour glass figure. <br> Lou has very tan skin and messy curly dark brown hair. She has a big smile. She has a round face. A better way to describe her is to imagine Lou from The Fosters. <br> Lou has a hippie/rock-chic style. It's hard to describe. <br> She kind of has a 'too cool for school' attitude. She's a little harder to get used to, but once you do, she is very sweet and opens up to the people she loves. <br> She loves to play the guitar and occassionally read. <br> She has a couple tattoos that aren't visible most of the time. <br> The End.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Name:Insanity. Alias:Madness. Age:Ageless. But does look to be about 18. Sex:Male. Man. Boy. Relationship:Madness is the only thing I embrace and give my heart to. Frame of Mind:A look inside will blow your mind. Mad beyond belief. Enough to drive the sanest insane. Clothes:Usually something fancy. Black tuxedo with a black tie and a black top hat with black pants and black dress shoes and a black cane. Because black doesn't lie! He changes his clothing ever so often. Looks:Slender. His face has very fine features and an infectious smile. It is pleasant to look at, to say the least. After all, madness is enticing and seductive. His left eye is blue while his right eye is orange. He has black hair and is exactly 6ft tall. His body is fairly muscled, but fit. Madness is beautiful! Personality:Playful,nice, happy, crazy. Hobbies:Laughing, playing, killing, dancing, massacre, having fun! Etc. Likes:Children, weapons, monsters, spiders, clothes, people! Etc. Dislike:Ass<_>holes. Friends:Me, Myself, and I. Note:I am not human. Species:Unnamable. Well! That's it for now! Toodles!
Anonymous 3 months ago
At Scotty res. 2
Anonymous 3 months ago
Name| Devon Kaden Single, strong, brown hair birhgt blue eys, athletic, stas up late, loves parties, not too smart, six pac
Anonymous 3 months ago
Gender: Male Sexu<_>ality: Straight Bio: Look, I'm fine. Dating: I'm single ladies! ;[) haha
Anonymous 3 months ago
My name is Brooke. Age 15. Height 5'6. My eye color is a beautiful hazel and I have light brown hair that gos down at my stomach. I love music and I can be seen usually with a choker that has a peace symbol on it along with my band shirts, black skinny jeans. Also I love drawing.
Anonymous 4 months ago
It's going to be Updated soon! ^7^
Anonymous 4 months ago
Gender: obviously a girl????? (Jk a boy). Gender thingy. Straight. Definitly. information... does not date. And trys to be a funny guy as you can tell. Im a clown. Lol
Anonymous 5 months ago
Male,short, brown hair, brown eyes. Caucasian(idk if spelled right) Hates trombones and flutes. Loves video games and books(Lol. Random likes and dislikes)
Anonymous 5 months ago
Name:Paris,Levat Age: 16 years soon to be seventeen Eyes: Greenish,Greyish Hair: Her hair is a bit straight and a bit wavy. Its color is Brown Personality: She is a nice fun and funny girl. Who loves to make new friends. But when you mess with her friends YOUR DEAD IN A NICE WAY. She is new here though. Face feature: i dunno she has a face. Okay,okay her face has a nose obviously but, she also has a very pretty face wich has eyes.