Read Guerra e Pace by Leo Tolstoy Free Online
Book Title: Guerra e Pace|
The author of the book: Leo Tolstoy
Date of issue: 2007
ISBN 13: 9788817117388
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 25.76 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.3
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So, I know you've all been on edge these past two months, and since I should be studying for the social work licensing exam tonight, it seems like the perfect time to put an end to your suspense.
After all my agonizing and the thoughtful suggestions below about whether I should mutilate my gorgeous hardcover Pevear and Volokhonsky translation in the interest of less hazardous subway toting.... Readers, I carried him. All 1272 pages. Every day, across five boroughs and three states, for nearly two months....
So the burning question on your mind is, "Should I risk misalignment and a redislocated shoulder in the interest of preserving a pristine edition that's inevitably going to get all banged up anyway, as I lug it across battlefields and through trenches, for what seems an eternity? Which is more important: the book's spine, or my own?"
Bookster, I am here to put an end to all this wondering! Here is what you must do: simply take a keen exacto knife (you might ask a helpful Cossack to sharpen it for you), and slice out the final "Epilogue" portion of this burdensome tome. You will do no damage to the book -- the epilogue's like an appendix (and hey, what the hell, cut that out too) -- as this part is not necessary, and in fact though it's theoretically only about 7% of the book, this portion is actually responsible for at least 63% of its weight. So slice that bitch out, and throw it away! Your vertebrae will thank you later.
Another advantage to getting rid of the Epilogue is that it will save you from having to read what is conceivably the most deadly dull and deflating ending to a vast and magnificently readable book, ever written. As a particularly exacting size queen, I demand that the glory of a huge novel's ending be proportional to its length. I feel this is only fair: I was loyal and patient, and devoted many hours to reading the author's story, and at the end I should be rewarded for my fortitude with a glorious finale. That's always been my philosophy, anyway. Apparently, though, it's not Tolstoy's.
What is Tolstoy's philosophy, you ask? In particular, what's his philosophy of history? Well, let me tell you! Or better, let him tell you. Cause he will. Over and over. And then again. And then, in case you were interested and wanted to know more, let him REALLY tell you.... and keep telling you.... and tell you some more.... and some more.... no, let him get into it finally now, in great detail.
Yeah, Tolstoy's that perfect house guest who crashed on your couch for nearly two months and you're just thrilled as hell the whole time to have him visiting, because he's just such a smart and great and interesting and heartfelt guy. Quel raconteur! Oh, sure, sometimes he gets a bit dull and wonky with his policy ramblings, but that stuff's basically okay. And then yeah, he's got these ideés fixes about history that are fine, you guess, but it's a bit weird how he's always repeating them and focusing on the same points over and over, and he will corner your roommate's friend or a classmate you run into at the supermarket, or an old lady waiting for the bus, to explain yet again why he thinks Napoleon really isn't that great at ALL, yeah, that's odd, but basically Leo is just super, and you're thrilled to have him -- even for such an extended visit -- because he really is so brilliant and diverting and nearly truly worth his weight in gold.... You are sad to know he's going to leave, but then his plane is delayed and you're happy you'll have him there just one more night, but somehow that's the night that he suddenly decides to come back to your house, completely high on cocaine. Leo then proceeds to stay up for hours drinking all your expensive scotch and talking your EAR off about his goddamn PHILOSOPHY of HISTORY that you really just could not care LESS about, and he WILL not leave and let you go to bed, he keeps TALKING, and it's BORING, and apparently he thinks your catatonic stare signals rapt interest, because he just keeps on going, explaining, on and on -- He WILL NOT SHUT UP! It is almost just like being physically tortured, by this guy who you'd thought was the best houseguest in the whole wide world. And so when Leo finally leaves again the next morning -- ragged and bleary and too dazed still to be properly sheepish -- you're not sorry to see him go, in fact you're very glad. And does one annoying night cancel out two months of the great times you had together? Of course it doesn't, and you remember him fondly, and tell anyone who asks how nice it was when he stayed. But the night does carry a special weight because it was the last, and when you remember dear Leo, your wonderful houseguest, your affection will not be totally untainted by the memory of his dull, egotistical, coked-out rantings, the night before he left for real.
By which I mean to say, the rest of this book was totally great! As my Great Aunt Dot (who's read this twice) commented, "It's really not a difficult read at all; there's a chapter about War, and then a chapter about Peace, so it never gets boring." War and Peace is hugely entertaining, and largely readable. Plus, it's enormously educational, as you will be forced to learn more than you ever wanted to know about the great Napoleon! (According to Tolstoy, he wasn't that great. No, I mean really, he wasn't that great.) War and Peace is a terrific date book, because it's got lots of bloody action and also tons of romance, plus you can make out during the dull parts where Tolstoy's talking for like twelve pages about various generals and strategies and his nineteenth-centuried out opinions about history.
If there's a standard I value more highly than my long-book-great-ending demand, it's the one that I call "Make Me Cry." I don't really think a book's that great unless it makes me cry. (No, this doesn't work in the other direction -- just because a book makes me cry doesn't mean it's great. I've cried at really silly movies before, and I used to cry regularly whenever I read the newspaper, which is one reason I stopped.) War and Peace made me cry like a colicky baby that's been speared with a bayonet, THREE TIMES! I don't mean I misted up or got a little chokey -- I mean I sobbed, wept, and groaned, thoroughly broke down and lost my shit on a very cathartic and soul-rending level. Hooray! I can't guarantee that War and Peace will also make you cry, but I bet if you're prone to that sort of thing, you've got a good shot.
GOD this book is good. See, you should really skip the Epilogue, because besides being crushingly dull, it's also very depressing (in the wrong way), and in addition to making you vow never to marry could make you forget how GREAT and AMAZING the rest of this is. What a GREAT and AMAZING book! Holy shit! I'm flipping through now, and it's all coming back to me. This was totally The Wire of 1868: If you like serious character development and plotting that unfolds over a long period of time, you should seriously read this book. I really didn't know much about this book before I read it, but I think I remember someone -- Jane Smiley? -- writing that War and Peace is about everything. I wouldn't go along with that (I'm not sure if she would either), but it is about most of the things that really matter. If you are someone who thinks at all about life or death, you might like this book. Here is a passage, from a character who's a POW marching barefoot through Russia in October:
In captivity in the shed, [he] had learned, not with his mind, but with his whole being, his life, that man is created for happiness, that happiness is within him, in the satisfying of human needs, and that all unhappiness comes not from lack, but from superfluity; but now, in these last three weeks of the march, he had learned a new and more comforting truth -- he had learned that there is nothing frightening in the world. He had learned that, as there is no situation in the world in which a man can be happy and perfectly free, so there is no situation in which he can be perfectly unhappy and unfree. He had learned that there is a limit to suffering and a limit to freedom, and that those limits are very close; that the man who suffers because one leaf is askew in his bed of roses, suffers as much as he now suffered falling asleep on the bare, damp ground, one side getting cold as the other warmed up; that when he used to put on his tight ballroom shoes, he suffered just as much as now, when he walked quite barefoot (his shoes had long since worn out) and his feet were covered with sores. (p. 1060)
I just think that's great. Maybe it's not, out of context.... Anyway, one of the best things about reading this is how much of it is so strange -- Russia! 1812! OMFG! all so different! -- and how much is the same. The nuance, specificity, and instant recognizability of the characters in here is pretty amazing. I know this sounds dumb, but you really feel like you know these people, and in a way it's the minor characters -- Sonya, Anatole, Dolokhov (my favorite!) -- who are so perfectly drawn, and make you go, "Man! I know these people! Woah!"
I did appreciate having to think about war while reading this, because that's something I've never really done before. At the beginning I'd hoped that this would help me understand more about why wars happen, but it didn't. That might have been what Tolstoy was trying to explain in his Epilogue, but I have to confess that at that point, I wasn't really listening.
Anyway, I liked this book. It is long, though.
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Read information about the authorLev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой; commonly Leo Tolstoy in Anglophone countries) was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction. Many consider Tolstoy to have been one of the world's greatest novelists. Tolstoy is equally known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker and social reformer.
His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho-pacifist. His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal twentieth-century figures as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
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