This indispensable new translation is as close to the original as it is possible to get while at the same time being a clear and fluid translation
Tolstoy’s enthralling epic depicts Russia’s war with Napoleon and its effects on the lives of those caught up in the conflict. He creates some of the most vital and involving characters in literature as he follows the rise and fall of families in St Petersburg and Moscow who are linked by their personal and political relationships. His heroes are the thoughtful yet impulsive Pierre Bezukhov, his ambitious friend, Prince Andrei, and the woman who becomes indispensable to both of them, the enchanting Natasha Rostov.
About the Author
Count Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy displayed an extraordinary duality of character in a life filled with deep contradictions. He was born to an artistocratic Russian family on Sept. 9, 1828. His parents died when he was young, and he was raised by several female relatives. In 1844 he entered the University of Kazan, remaining there only three years. At the age of 23, Tolstoy joined the Russian Army and fought in the Crimean War. While still in the service, his first published story appeared, a largely autobiographical work called CHILDHOOD (1852). Tolstoy returned to his estate in 1861 and established a school for peasant children there.
In 1862, he married Sofia Behrs and gradually abandoned his involvement with the school. The next fifteen years he devoted to managing the estate, raising his and Sofia's large family, and writing his two major works, WAR AND PEACE (1865-67) and ANNA KARENINA (1875-77). During the latter part of this fifteen-year period, Tolstoy found himself growing increasingly disenchanted with the teachings of the Russian Orthodox Church. In the ensuing years, Tolstoy formulated for himself a new Christian ideal, the central creed of which involved nonresistance to evil; he also preached against the corrupt evil of the Russian state, of the need for ending all violence, and of the moral perfectibility of man. He continued to write voluminously, primarily nonfiction, but also other works, such as THE DEATH OF IVAN ILYICH (1886). In 1910, still unable to reconcile the differences in the lives led by the aristocracy and the simpler existence he craved, Tolstoy left the estate.
He soon fell ill and was found dead on a cot in a remote railway station. He was buried on his estate at Yasnaya Pulyana.
"If you've never read it, now is the moment. This translation will show that you don't read War and Peace, you live it" * The Times *
"This is, at last, a translation of War and Peace without the dreadful misunderstandings and "improvements" that plague all other translations of the novel into English. Pevear and Volokhonsky's supple and compelling translation is the closest that an English reader without Russian can get to Tolstoy's masterwork. This is a great achievement. It is hard to imagine how this translation could be superseded."" -- Vladimir E. Alexandrov, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures,
"It is simply the greatest novel ever written. All human life is in it. If I were told there was time to read only a single book, this would be it" -- Andrew Marr
"Reveals Tolstoy in his majestic scope and precision to this reader for the first time, unencumbered by the pidgin archaisms of previous translations, ringing with mastery and truth" * Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year *
"It may sound pretentious, or strange, but I can remember the weeks (three weeks, to be precise) I spent reading War and Peace as a peak experience of sustained excitement and deep delight. Part of the delight was the largeness and strangeness of this world - the sense of the vastness and extremes of Russia, the unboundedness of everything" * Finacial Times *