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War And Peace is the story of Napoleon’s war with Russia, in the early part of the 1800’s. It was written by Leo Tolstoy, whose father was actually a veteran of the Russian campaign against Napoleon - and so therefore, this story is an almost firsthand account in many ways of what actually happened.
War And Peace is perhaps his most famous work, and was in fact published in instalments between 1865 and 1869 - but it is this translation that has now been published by Wordsworth Classics that gained the approval of Tolstoy himself.
This particular copy of the book that I have got is broken up in to three volumes, all of which are further divided in to what has been termed as ‘books’ and these ‘books in turn have been further sub-divided yet again in to chapters (but not verses!). I must apologise if I give away far too much of the book, but I shall now attempt to give it at least some form of description!
The volumes are split down as follows:
Volume One is set between 1805 and the start of the war, and is split up in to five separate books (each with in the region of twenty plus chapters). It talks about the lead up to the war, and the various members of society who will later become involved in the war in some way.
Volume Two finds us in 1812, and Napoleon is now in ‘full swing’ during the war. This section is in another five separate books, and looks at the various aspects of the war again from different aspects of society. It looks at how the war is fought, and how it is affecting people in many ways.
Volume Three finds us still in 1812, but this section only covers four books in total. This is where the war is now ending; Napoleon retreats with his army, and we see the after affects of the war.
But following on from this final section, there are two epilogues that are split down somewhat that all look at the lives of many of the various people who are in the story and how their lives have turned out years down the line after the war has officially ended.
Throughout the whole of the course of this book are many splendid descriptions of everything imaginable, so much so that you can actually feel that you are there right in the midst of all that is happening - well, that is how I feel at least!
Tolstoy has done himself proud in being as in-depth as he possibly can about providing every little detail, from the way that people move or talk; through how the land lay, to how various things such as noise (or lack of it) and other people affected how the characters all behaved. To my mind, it is almost as if he was there himself and he wants us to be there as a part of it all with him.
I am a great lover of many of the old classics, and I will admit that I held off for years before reading this particular book. This is because to me it looked old; it looked dull, and it looked boring. And many people tried to persuade me to get in to, yet I still wouldn’t. But now that I have actually read it for myself, to me it stands out as being one of the finest classics that has ever been written by any author.
I am so glad that I have now read it, OK so it has taken me about eighteen months all told but this was dipping in and out of it because it can be quite heavy going at times - not to mention long! But I would strongly urge you to at least take a look at it if not to then actually go on and read it for yourself, as it has opened my eyes to many things.
I bought it for £1.50 in one of my local charity shops, but I am sure that you will all find it some place else no doubt! For those of you who wish to know it, then the ISBN number on this copy is 1-85326-062-2.
Thanks for reading!
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