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War and Peace: Original Version
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War and Peace: Original Version

3.9 720
by Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Tolstoy (Introduction), Andrew Bromfield (Translator), Nikolai Tolstoy (Introduction), Andrew Bromfield (Translator)

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A sweeping, romantic saga of two noble families and their intertwined destiny, and a panoramic portrait of Russian society at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, Tolstoy's unforgettable masterpiece has inspired love and devotion in its readers for generations.

Now read the original version of Russia's most famous novel, which never made it to publication in


A sweeping, romantic saga of two noble families and their intertwined destiny, and a panoramic portrait of Russian society at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, Tolstoy's unforgettable masterpiece has inspired love and devotion in its readers for generations.

Now read the original version of Russia's most famous novel, which never made it to publication in Tolstoy's lifetime. Undiscovered for more than a century, this edition—with its subtly different characters, dialogue, and ending—is essential reading for devotees of Tolstoy and new readers alike: it is world-class fiction in its most vivid and vital form.

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HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.93(d)

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War and Peace
Original Version

Chapter One

"Eh bien, mon prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now merely estates, the private estates of the Buonaparte family. Non, I warn you, if you don't say this means war, if you still defend all these vile acts, all these atrocities by an Antichrist (for I really do believe he is the Antichrist), then I no longer know you, you are no longer mon ami, you are no longer, as you put it, my devoted slave. But, anyway, how do you do, how are you? I see I am frightening you, do come and sit down and tell me what's going on." These were the words with which, in July 1805, the renowned Anna Pavlovna Scherer, lady-in-waiting and confidante of the Empress Maria Fedorovna, greeted the influential and high-ranking Prince Vasily, who was the first to arrive at her soirée. Anna Pavlovna had been coughing for several days, and had what she called the grippe (grippe then being a new word, used only by the few), and therefore had not attended at court nor even left the house. All of the notes she had sent out in the morning with a scarlet-liveried servant had contained the same message, without variation:

If, Count (or Prince), you have nothing better to do, and the prospect of an evening in the company of a poor invalid is not too alarming, then I should be delighted to see you at home between seven and ten o'clock.
Annette Scherer.

"Dieu, what a fierce attack!" replied the prince with a faint smile, not in the least perturbed by this reception as he entered, wearing his embroidered court dress-coat, with knee-breeches, low shoes andstarry decorations, and a serene expression on his cunning face.

He spoke that refined French in which our grandfathers not only spoke, but also thought, and with the gently modulated, patronising intonation that was natural to a man of consequence who had grown old in society and at court. He went up to Anna Pavlovna and kissed her hand, presenting to her the bald, perfumed top of his head, which gleamed white even between the grey hairs, then he calmly seated himself on the divan.

"First of all, tell me how you are feeling, ma chère amie? Do set your friend's mind at rest," he said, without changing his tone of voice, in which, beneath the decorum and sympathy, there was a hint of indifference and even mockery.

"How can you expect me to feel well, when one is suffering so, morally speaking? How can anyone with feeling stay calm in times like these?" said Anna Pavlovna. "You are here for the whole evening, I hope?"

"But what about the festivities at the English ambassador's? Today is Wednesday. I really do have to show my face," said the prince. "My daughter will be calling to take me there."

"I thought today's celebrations had been cancelled. I do declare all these fêtes and fireworks are becoming an utter bore."

"Had they but known you wished it, they would have cancelled the celebrations," said the prince by force of habit, like a wound-up clock, voicing things that he did not even wish to be believed.

"Don't tease me. Eh bien, what has been decided following this dispatch from Novosiltsev? You know everything."

"What can I say?" the prince said in a cold, bored voice. "What has been decided? It has been decided that Buonaparte has burnt his boats, and we are apparently prepared to burn ours too."

Whether Prince Vasily's words were wise or foolish, animated or indifferent, he uttered them in a tone that suggested he was repeating them for the thousandth time, like an actor speaking a part in an old play, as though the words were not the product of his reason, not spoken from the mind or heart, but by rote, with his lips alone.

By contrast, Anna Pavlovna Scherer, despite her forty years, was full of an impulsive vivacity which long practice had scarcely taught her to curb within the limits of courtly decorum and discretion. At every moment she seemed on the point of uttering something improper, yet although she came within a hair's breadth, no impropriety ever burst forth. She was not good-looking, but the rapturous enthusiasm of which she herself was aware in her glance and in the vivacity of her smile, which expressed her infatuation with ideal causes, evidently furnished her with that quality which was called interesting. From Prince Vasily's words and his expression it was clear that the circles in which they both moved had long ago adopted the unanimous opinion that Anna Pavlovna was a sweet, good-hearted enthusiast and patriot who dabbled in matters that were not entirely her concern and often took things to extremes, but was lovable for the sincerity and ardour of her feelings. Being an enthusiast had become her position in society, and sometimes, even when she did not really wish it, she played the enthusiast simply in order not to disappoint the expectations of those who knew her. The restrained smile that played constantly on Anna Pavlovna's face, although it did not become her faded features, was an expression, as it is in spoilt children, of a constant awareness of her own charming defect, of which she neither wished, nor was able, nor felt it necessary, to rid herself.

The contents of the dispatch from Novosiltsev, who had set out to Paris for peace negotiations, were as follows.

On arriving in Berlin, Novosiltsev had learned that Bonaparte had issued a decree annexing the Genoese Republic to the French Empire, while at the same time he was declaring his desire for reconciliation with England through the mediation of Russia. Novosiltsev, having halted in Berlin on the surmise that such coercive action on the part of Bonaparte might well alter the Emperor's intentions, had requested His Majesty's decision on whether he should move on to Paris or return home. The reply to Novosiltsev . . .

War and Peace
Original Version
. Copyright © by Leo Tolstoy. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) is the author of War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Family Happiness, and other classics of Russian literature.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 9, 1828
Date of Death:
November 20, 1910
Place of Birth:
Tula Province, Russia
Place of Death:
Astapovo, Russia
Privately educated by French and German tutors; attended the University of Kazan, 1844-47

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War and Peace 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 720 reviews.
luftweg More than 1 year ago
War and Peace is a classic that should not be missed by anyone. Leo Tolstoy is a master story teller. The formatting of this ebook was masterful as well. Very professional and no errors. Worth every penny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The $2.99 ebook is not the Pevear translation and inaccurately reflects an excerpt for that version of the text. The downloaded text in the $2.99 version is highly abridged. Buyer beware!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book and you must take great care to ensure you are getting a copy that suits your requirements. Look for a quality translation - Prevear should do it for most people. I have tried several of the free downloads of this book for my nook and they are quite unreadable. The amount of spelling mistakes is unbelievable - do this book the justice it deserves and treat yourself to a good copy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
And I have read many! When I 'had' to read this book in college it changed my life. While it never preaches, or really makes it clear what 'side' the author takes, somehow it made God's character real to me. That God is love. And, that without love we are nothing. Also, it was amazing to me that I could read a 1000 page Russian novel and never get bored. This is a beautiful book that showed me that God loves a broken and sinful mankind and that He can be found in spite of the ugliness of our own hearts.
wizozzie More than 1 year ago
This is not the full version of the book. It's only an excerpt. :-(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the free version of war and peace is only an excerpt and starts from part nine. also the ereader that barnes and noble has available for download doesnt even work. i went to adobe and downloaded their epub reader which worked fine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this particular paperback translation by Pat Conroy because I was looking for a lightweight version of War and Peace that I could re-read en route to and from work on public transportation. I was preparing for a trip to Russia and "getting in the mood." While the book served that purpose, for me, the purchase was a mistake. The print was too small and hard to read, and the translation was not particularly scholarly. Much of the text was in the original French, which, although not unusual in many Tolstoy translations, I found distracting because it tested my French fluency rather than adding to the continuity of the text. Unless you are reasonably fluent in French, I recommend reading another translation. My experience here reminds me that you get what you pay for. For about $10, I bought an inexpensive, lightweight, paperback volume of less than stellar quality that I did not enjoy and stopped reading. Tolstoy deserves far better treatment. Next time, I will go with the salesperson's highly recommended translation, despite its size and weight.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is not a ¿light and fun¿ book, the way some more modern pieces of literature come to mind (SLAUGHTER HOUSE FIVE by Vonnegut¿still a classic in its own way---and KATZENJAMMER by McCrae¿hilarious and unsettling at the same time), but it IS a great book¿freat piece of literature. New translations of War and Peace appear from time to time, each with its own virtues. Sometimes what one reader calls virtues, another finds to be deficiencies. The now-venerable Maude translation, in the splendid Norton Critical Edition, is sometimes majestic, always readable, and, most important, conveys to most minds the story Tolstoy told. The breathtaking, awe-inspiring power of Tolstoy's storytelling and his burning insights into the quandaries of the human condition are what is important about War and Peace. The Maudes' translation brings all this to life. Norton's editorial supplements help the newcomer to things Russian fight his/her way through the thicket of Russian names and mid-nineteenth-century literary mindset to get comfortable with Pierre, the Rostovs and the Bolkonskys. Once you get to know these unforgettable people, you are hooked for good. I have read this book many times in Russian and in the Maudes' translation. I always end by thanking Tolstoy for writing the best novel of them all, and the Maudes for their tireless work in translating it for those not fortunate enough to read it in the original.For lighter reads, try: KATZENJAMMER by McCrae or SECRET LIFE OF BEES by Kidd.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone serious about getting to know this novel, fitted out in smart English duds by Louise and Aylmer Maude, will not hesitate to invest in the handsome three-volume edition so mercifully published by Everyman's Library, Knopf. All long novels should be brought out this way, in fact, as they normally were in an age unafraid of multiple tomes: in sensibly-sized and serviceable volumes, not so bloated that they will crush your chest in bed, print actually suited to normal eyes that do not require high-tech telescopes to decipher the text. All this said, Tolstoi's novel has the power to occasion some intriguing questions. Why does Prince Andrei love his wife so little, and Princess Lize her family so much? Is Pierre Bezukhov as obtuse as he seems? Does the author tell us the full story of Nicholas Bolkonsky's ill-treatment of his daughter, or is there an even more sinister tale, lurking behind the edge of every page? What will Natasha do when her serfs are one day freed, and was there a real-life prototype for the eerily emetic Helene? And who brewed all that borsch, fried all those bliny? Tolstoi himself, of course, foresaw all such questions, and would no doubt refer the reader to his various commentaries on the subject, which would seem to have dropped from his pen like so many fully-formed Baltic bonbons for our enjoyment. We may be turned off (or on!) by his theories of history, and especially by the near lunatic ravings which constitute the final epilogue. But it would not be possible to emerge unchanged from a summer spent reading this novel. Are not now our notions of Russia more spangled? Is not our approach to life now more brave? Though its title may make this book sound heavier and more indigestible than a granite gulag birthday cake, let us hasten to state that it is anything but.
d03j More than 1 year ago
It is disappointing BN does not do a better job controling the quality of what gets published here.
MarinaVeen More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great epic, unforgettable characters and melodrama. This is one of those classics you want to make sure you read in your lifetime, but probably once in a lifetime will be enough. It helps if you skip those chapters which are philosophical 'asides' and not part of the plot.
Anonymous 2 days ago
Do you guys already have a person named Calum here?
Anonymous 4 months ago
The orange head walked over to him. "Must be new,huh?"
Anonymous 5 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She has short light brown hair. And green eyes. Fithteen years old. Her birthday is October 31st. Halloween. She loves making new friends and she is super duper nice,friendly and funny. Yes you got that right! Now i love everyone! Even turtles! I like the color blue.. and my favorite song is:"Forget you" by zara. This is the song:"I will never forget you, you will always be by my side, from the day that i met you i knew that i would love you till the day i die. Thats how it goes. My second favorite song is "lost boy":"he was a lost boy, from neverland usually hanging out with peter pan. When we got bored we would play out in the woodd always on the run from captain hook. And my third favorite is "Me too" by meghan trainor: whose that se.xy thing i see in the mirror? Thats me standing in your face! And whats that icy thang all around my neck? Thats gold show me some respect! *Claps* i thank god every day i woke up feeling this way and i cant help loving myself now i dont need nobody eles. Uh huh. If i was you id wanna be me too. I have and iphone 5. I love music. I am an only child. But im not spoiled. I go to a private high school. I live in Reading,Pennsalvania. Oh...and i love bernie sanders vote him for president. All you haters who hate bernie back off!!(nah just kidding but do not mess with bernie!!!)oh and my favorite show is "Jane theVirgin" that show is bae. My favorite singer is: justin beiber, christina perrie, ariana grande and zayn..(have you heard zayns song pillow talk its sooo BAE!!!!!!!)now if your still reading then wow am i interesting to you? Cause i dont think anyone would read this far!! Here if you reading this i got a joke for you. Question: why did adele cross the street? Answer: to say hello from the other side.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could everyone stop writing gibberish? BTW I really liked this book. My honors english class read it and I enjoyed it so much I'm buying my own copy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A finely written book; a classic that should should be read by all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A pleasure to read.
sva24 More than 1 year ago
Translation is easy to understand and follow. This version even includes Tolstoy's use of French in conversation, often omitted in some translated versions. Easy to follow, and "War and Peace" as everyone knows, is one of the best novels ever written.
AndInTheEnd More than 1 year ago
Read a different translation, but I can imagine this one is similar. Decided to take the challenge to read the ultimate in western literature. Certainly is a grand story - but the plot isn't so important is as the asides - the commentaries on life. Loved it.
codecracker13 More than 1 year ago
Lots of detail, good historic facts. Only problem is that it is slow in some parts and can be long!
Mary Diffendal More than 1 year ago
This is vol ll of 3
fortchicago More than 1 year ago
Good to curl up with in front of the fire with a glass of brandy in one hand. Napoleon doesn't come off too well, though.