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War and Peace [Mass Market Paperback]

Leo Tolstoy , John Bayley , Ann Dunnigan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 1 1981 Signet Classics
Details the invasion of Russia by Napoleon and his army.

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From Publishers Weekly

British scholar Briggs unveils his lucid new translation of Tolstoy's masterpiece-the first in almost 40 years-to a slightly anxious audience, from first-timers who, balking at the amount of time required by this massive yet startlingly intricate work, want to ensure they are reading the best translation available, to purists who worry that clunky modern prose will replace the cadences of earlier translations. But these concerns melt away after the first 100 pages of this volume. Briggs's descriptions are crisper and the dialogue is sharper, with fewer "shall's," "shan't's" and "I say!'s" than the Garnett, Maude, or Edmonds translations, leaving readers free to enjoy the rich and complex plot, vivid characters and profound insights into war and the nature of power. There are some awkward spots: Briggs claims his earthy rendering of soldierly banter is more realistic than earlier, genteel translators', but it reads distractingly stagy: "Give 'im a right thumpin', we did." It's also a shame to have lost Tolstoy's use of French, not only in the mouths of his characters, but also in the essays, as when he plays with Napoleon's famous "sublime to the ridiculous" quote. Briggs will face competition next year when Pevear and Volokhonsky release their new translation, but for now, this is the most readable translation on the market.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Thanks to British narrator Frederick Davidson's performance, it is safe to say that there will not be a better recording of Tolstoy's masterpiece for some time. The heart of this drama is the metamorphosis of five familiesAsome peasant, some aristocraticAamid the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars. Each individual is immersed in experiences and conversations elucidating Tolstoy's themes of self-sacrifice and self-indulgence, anguish and ecstasy, diplomacy and deception, and religion and perdition. The complexities of character and plot are sometimes enigmatic, and names are often exhausting to recollect, but the genius of this book is everlasting. The impressive dialog sparkles with humor and wit, and the vivid scenes of battle are riveting. An entire universe is created by one of the foremost thinkers of the 19th century, and Davidson's exquisite narration heightens the perfection of this novel, regarded as one of the greatest in literature. Highly recommended for all collections.ABarbara Mann, Adelphi Univ., Garden City, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"Eh bien, mon prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now no more than family estates of the Bonapartes. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deep and profound classic Aug. 1 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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.
The essence of Power, which is what leads individuals to move nations is the ultimate question of War and Peace. And this individuals or great men of history, are in reality the slave of history. That underlying fact can be found in other Russian stories. UNION MOUJIK, TARAS BULBA, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT,MASTER AND MAN feature that concept. The war part of the story features remarkable military campaigns such as those by Napoleon and his Russian counterpart, Emperor Aleksandr, as they employed their different strategies in the quest for victory on the lands of Russia.
War and Peace is entertaining as well as enlightening and is considered by many to be the master of all Russian novels. Its overview of Russian life and culture involving peasants and the aristocracy gives a true to life portrayal of humanity. You can find glimpses of other Great Russian novels in this story. In short, this epic cannot be forgotten after you have read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Happiness Aug. 31 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Oh how I love this book! "Why do I love it so?" I've been asking myself. I think I know. The central character, the young Pierre Bezukhov, says: "In order to be happy, one must believe in happiness" -- and this is exactly what the book does: it makes one believe in happiness. The ending is joyful and
life-affirming, but not in the superficial and facile way of, say, Jane Austen or Dickens (or opera buffa for that matter!).
"No, no a thousand times no!" (to quote Pierre again), the happiness seems to have been inevitable from
the novel's very start; it could *never* have been otherwise! (to paraphrase Pierre yet again!) How I love this book. Let me count the ways -- no no, that would be impossible. What episode do I love the most? Is it when it only a serious wound on the battlefield can allow Prince Andrei, for the first time, to (as he lies upon his back on the ground) come face to face with the heavens and the infinity contained therein? Is it when Platon
Karatayev, in the French prison, offers Pierre a potato and then seasons it with salt from a rag? Is it when Prince Andrei overhears Natasha exclaiming, from the balcony, how she could just fly off into the night??! But what nonsense it is speak of a favorite episode. There are as marvelous passages as there are stars in the infinite heavens to which Tolstoy's heroes are always casting at least one eye.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Translation Available June 5 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"War and Peace" is one of those mammoth behemoths of a novel that everyone aspires to read and few manage to finish. This is a shame, because its reputation as the Ultimate Big Massive Tome has, unfortunately, obscured the fact that it tells a very gripping story and is infinitely rewarding and re-readable.
I'm in a position to say this because I've read this book anywhere from half-a-dozen to a dozen times (to be honest I've lost count). For many years I would read one of Tolstoy's big novels every year, alternating between "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina." Along the way I've read three of the four major translations of the book multiple times.
The four translations, in order of appearance, are:
1) Constance Garnett
2) Louise and Alymer Maude
3) Rosemary Edmonds
4) Ann Dunnigan
Of these four translations, I would recommend either Edmonds or Dunnigan. Here's why. The Garnett and Maude translations date from the first three decades of the 20th Century. Edmonds' translation was originally published in 1957, and Dunnigan's in 1968 (for some reason, no one has tried to come up with a new translation of "War and Peace" in the past 35 years). The definitive (to date) Russian text of the novel was published in the early 1960s: Edmonds revised her translation in 1978 to take into account the new version.
In general, unless you're reading an older translation, not for the sake of its putative author but for the translator (which is the only reason to read, for example, the Urquhart-Motteux Rabelais or Chapman's Homer), you're almost always better off sticking with a modern translation. And that's the case with "War and Peace." It's either Edmonds or Dunnigan.
It's a close call. You really won't go wrong with either one of them.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking, masterful, epic----and long Feb. 4 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
War and Peace is perhaps the grandest novel ever written. Leo Tolstoy condenses or hollows out none of the grace and majesty of the Russian royalty, and the characters are more than human enough to learn from, and to argue with. Throughout the 1456 pages, the main characters struggle with who they are and what they believe--and everpresent in the background is Napolean and his apocalypse with the Russian people. War and Peace tries to be a philosophical novel about history, but it is really a philosophical novel about people, about morals, about what to die for--and what to live for. It is as provoking and beautiful as it is challenging. And long. Does it take 1500 pages to write a novel that will stand the test of time? No, but it takes 1500 pages to write War and Peace.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars War and Peace...okay....
I quite liked this read. It holds a high place for me in contemporary fiction; but I didn't understand a lot of things. Read more
Published on Dec 5 2004 by bill williams
4.0 out of 5 stars A great classic.
Leo Tolstoy's writing is something that cannot compare to the writers in this lifetime. He manages to write a long book such as War and Peace and keep the writing so wonder and... Read more
Published on Oct. 16 2002 by Lizzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Not always easy, but well worth it
Though I felt that Tolstoy could have used a good editor when it came to some of the war sections and his extended philosophizing, the greatness of this book far outweighs these... Read more
Published on May 21 2001 by Steven Greene
4.0 out of 5 stars A Challenge for Any Serious Reader
I have to admit--"War and Peace" was not the best book I ever read. It had its flaws, it was certainly a challenge, many parts were entertaining, and now I can say I... Read more
Published on Dec 4 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly brilliant
Okay...so I only just got past Part 1. It is already the best book I have ever read. So I'm only twelve. This should be proof that size should not intimidate you. Read more
Published on Aug. 8 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars poor translation
This was a third rate translation that never should have been printed. The Norton Edition is like night and day compared to this primitive translation. Read more
Published on June 10 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Perfection
I wish there were more stars to rate this book- it is absolutely brilliant. After finishing this, Tolstoy instantly became my second favorite writer (Victor Hugo being the top,... Read more
Published on July 19 1998 by Jingletown
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book!
I have read this novel thrice, the first time being when I was just 12 years old. Now I am 18, and Tolstoy's writing doesn't cease to amaze me. Read more
Published on June 23 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
The world into which Tolstoy plunges his readers in the first paragraph of War and Peace is one that has vanished only to be revived every time one picks up his masterpiece. Read more
Published on June 19 1998 by iorek@hotmail.com
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