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Publisher's Summary

In early nineteenth-century Russia, the threat of Napoleon’s invasion looms, and the lives of millions are about to be changed forever. This includes Pierre Bezúkhov, illegitimate son of an aristocrat; Andrew Bolkónski, ambitious military scion; and Natásha Rostóva, compassionate daughter of a nobleman. All of them are unprepared for what lies ahead. Alongside their fellow compatriots - a catalog of enduring literary characters - Pierre, Andrew, and Natásha will be irrevocably torn between fate and free will.

Through the bonds of love and family, and all that can break them, Tolstoy examines the effects of war on every strata of society in his masterwork of intimate - and epic - social history.

Revised edition: Previously published as War and Peace, this edition of War and Peace (AmazonClassics Edition) includes editorial revisions.

Public Domain (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about War and Peace (AmazonClassics Edition)

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Brilliant rendition

The narration was amazing. Kept you hooked. As for the story, who am I to critique a classic?

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  • steve thomas
  • 14-08-20

Tremendous narration

War and Peace is what it is. You may find that it's too long or has too many characters or there's too many digressions on the nature of history. If so you won't make it very far. But one thing you don't want to worry about is having it ruined by the narrator. I haven't listened to the other versions but can say confidently that you will not do better than Edoardo Ballerini. He's amazing. This is the first book I've listened to by him and already I'd rank him as one of the best in the business. I won't say the 55 hours flew by because it definitely took a long time to get through but there was never a time that I was tempted to abandon it and listen to something else. Obviously that's mostly about the great story but it's also a tribute to the narration.

8 people found this helpful

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  • gail
  • 03-07-20

Worth it!

Yes, it’s long, but Ballerini, the reader keeps up the pace. It’s many books in one — history, philosophy, romance, sociology, domestic drama. Why spend your credits on 4 books when you can listen one great one?

4 people found this helpful

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  • Andrew Moliski
  • 30-07-20

A non-fiction fiction epic humanizing history

I finished Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ today after having listened to it over the past month. Tolstoy makes a lot of critiques on how we interpret human history: so many interpretations are nationalistic, have agendas and glorify certain figures as ‘great men’. His solution was to develop a series of interweaving first person accounts in an effort to recreate what it must’ve been like for the soldiers as well as the leaders during a time of great turmoil in Europe. There isn’t any one villain, even Napoleon who is depicted as either a devil or a saint depending on the historian’s view of conquering or liberating Europe is depicted as a human. Everyone in this book is depicted as a human being, and not as a ‘great figure’. Everyone has flaws, has redeeming qualities, and can be pitied. Napoleon and the serfs alike. Because Tolstoy remains impartial for most of the book, save the epilogue, we’re left to make our own histories from the experiences of the characters. But it’s more than just political and military history, in between the chapters depicting the horrors of war there’s an intricate web of relationships, love & loss. I found myself getting pretty bored listening to the courtship and drama which consists of half of the book, but in hindsight it gives appropriate context to why the characters do the things that they do in relation to war and politics, and the point Tolstoy is trying to make in deliberately humanizing ‘great men’. Another ‘antagonist’ in the book, my favorite character Dolokhov, is seen as this drunken violent rebel who is a pretty sore loser, acquires all of his friend’s wealth through taking advantage of his gambling problem, antagonizes a duel with the virtuous albeit naive Pierre, and ties a police officer to a bear and throws them both into a river. Even Dolokhov has strict values, protects the people he loves, and fights ferociously for his country. Looking back at all of the characters, all of the scenes however elaborate, epic, or mundane, draws me to the conclusion that this book is truly a fantastic composite of human experience of men and women pushed to extremes, both personally and politically. At the heart of this story is a raw loving, pitiable, extraordinary humanity that is still relevant 150 years later.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-08-20

Wonderful!

The performance was spectacular. The reader was able to do accents and pronounce French very well. I loved this story and feel accomplished having finished such a long novel. We’ll worth it.

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  • Charles Emmons
  • 18-08-20

Great Story!

Wow what a story, I kind of liked Anna Karenina a little bit better, I like romances. Pierre was such a fascinating character; I will never forget the moment he meets the freemason at the train station, that whole chapter will stick with me till I die. Narration was so-so, had to get used to the American Narration, I love British Narrations and I wish the guy that read Anna Karenina did this one, would have made it more tolerable imo. you get used to it about 33% in. I had to follow along with the book at the beginning, it starts off confusing and a mess, but I put the book down about 15% in; after that it became very enjoyable to just let it slip into the ears. Worth the money and time.

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  • seouljake
  • 16-08-20

best novel ever written? fantastic narration!

best novel ever written? fantastic narration! best novel ever written? fantastic narration! i loved it!

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  • Jeff Koeppen
  • 28-11-20

Great Narration Brings Classic to Life!

I went with the War and Peace combo platter: I listened to the Amazon Classic version translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude and read the version translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. I much preferred the Pevear/Volokhonsky version. There were times while listening on Audible when I was taken aback by a word or phrase used as it seemed too modern. Maybe it was just me, as I know little of that period in history, but it felt out of place. I had the same reaction to some of the words and phrasing in the Emily Wilson translation of The Odyssey. War and Peace was every bit as epic as advertised, and as I expected it to be. I was worried going in that I would drown in this tome trying to keep track of the MANY characters so I printed out a character guide from the interwebs and it did help me early on, but gradually I was able to sort things out and the excellent narration by Edoardo Ballerini really helped also as he gave each of the main characters a distinct voice. Still, sometimes it did take a bit to recall a character's background as they could fall in to the novel’s background for several hundred pages before becoming part of the plot again. The best parts of the novel in my opinion were the stories focused on the drama surrounding five Russian aristocratic families during the Russian war with the French during the early 19th century. There were so many memorable characters and it was interesting to read how their lives changed over the 15 years the book covers, especially during the war. I didn't know going in that the Russian aristocracy spoke French and were well versed in French culture, so it was surprising how much French was spoken by Russians throughout the novel. As expected, there was plenty of war strategy discussion and period history in the novel which provided background and helped explain the motivations of the characters. I found this all rather interesting, and it brought the time period to life for me. What I didn't like was the historical fiction aspect of the novel, particularly involving Napoleon. Historical fiction is fine in small doses but I'm not keen on listening to speeches from Napoleon which were invented by an author. In a related note, in the Appendix, Tolstoy does address the divergence of his descriptions of historical events to accounts of historians. In the paper book, there are also 42 pages of notes and a 24 page Historical Index. Impressive. The amount of work that went in to this novel is mind boggling! The only other complaint I have is the anti-climactic nature of the second Epilogue. In retrospect, the novel wrapped up nicely in the first Epilogue but at the time I was excited to see that I had 36 pages to go and was looking forward to more "story". Overall, I really enjoyed War and Peace. I found most of it to be fantastic and hard to put down / turn off. What a remarkable, complex novel this is, and I'm so glad I took the time to experience it. I listened to a good share of this on long nightly walks with one of my dogs and during my working-at-home, never-go-anywhere life I really looked forward to bundling up and hitting the road with him every day. 4.5 stars.

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  • Reviewer 123
  • 17-11-20

Good narration, difficult story to follow

Good narrator. Parts of the book I really liked, but there are so many characters that it’s easy to lose the storyline.

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  • denise
  • 13-11-20

Awesome performance of an awesome book

This book is an unforgettable experience and the narrator, Eduardo Ballerini, made it feel like a real story happening live, full of human emotions and feelings! I have read many books but this is one is by far one of my favorite both thanks to the genius of Tolstoy and to the amazing talent of the narrator who sleeps seamlessly into every character and impersonates each one of them, men and women alike, brilliantly! Thank you for your amazing work!!! Never stop doing it and enriching our life with great literature!

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  • Marcelo B. De Freitas
  • 31-08-20

Fantastic

Could not recommend more. Enjoy. Superb ACTING (reading). Congrats to EDOARDO BALLERINI as well. Cheers.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-10-20

One of those real masterpieces

The narration is superb. It can be a difficult book at times, because it has so many characters, but there is so much life even in the episodic apparitions. I recommend to read or listen to Anna Karenina first, which is superior to this.

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  • Nicola Hill
  • 27-08-20

It exceeds its reputation and my expectations.

I miss this book in my life, and I finished it 3 months ago! I kept thinking all the way through it that Tolstoy would have been so pleased that the narrating was done so well. It is a master piece! It makes you think about things very differently to, for example what really happens when young men go into battle for the very first time. how clumsy they are and how they cannot get out of the way of their fear which makes them clumsier, but then how they regale the battle with great pride forgetting most of their mistakes. It was refreshing writing and take on battle, society and families, raw and honest, but compassionate. Tolstoy writes with much experience for all these facets. I also appreciated the history lesson in the Napoleonic Wars, which was interlaced into the story. War and Peace comes with a big reputation....but I am pleased to say it carries every word of it, it is a phenomenal book, do yourself a favour and read it!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-07-20

Good Long One

worth the time and effort to listen to this classic... surprisingly politics and war hasnt changed much in last century