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War and Peace: Volume 1 (Classics)
by Leo Tolstoy
ISBN 0140440623 / 9780140440621 / 0-14-044062-3
Publisher Penguin Classics
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Considered one of the best books ever written, "War and Peace" has remained in the upper echelon of world literature because it masterfully captures an intimate view of humanity on an epic scale. Through the use of fictional narrative, Tolstoy utilizes a huge cast of characters, centering on five aristocratic Russian families in 1805, during the Napoleonic Wars. These characters, particularly Pierre, Prince Andrei, and the beautiful Natasha, demonstrate different human struggles that are affected by their history, present era, and culture. They simultaneously develop the concepts on which Tolstoy expounds in the thematic essays interspersed throughout the narrative: a person's free will and the shaping of historical events, morality in an imperfect world, youth and age, marriage and death, and, of course, war and peace, in a work so groundbreaking that it was not considered a novel when published in 1865. In redefining the fictional novel, Tolstoy's genius has explored what is fundamentally human with scope and Russian spirit. Presented here in this edition is the first of two volumes. [via]