"War and Peace" is a novel whose story takes place in early 19th century Russia in the midst of Russia's War of 1812. The elaborate plot is the tale of three affluent families over a term of fifteen years throughout Russia's hostilities with Napoleonic Europe. Her early defeats are recounted along with the incident of how Napoleon fled Moscow in a weakened situation. The book begins with Pierre coming into his title of Count Bezuhov which is accompanied by tremendous wealth. As the tale progresses, Tolstoy offers his basic critique of humanity: instead of holding illustrious leaders responsible for the important events of the time, fabulous occurrences are really the effect of countless individual determinations of the common people. Kutuzov's philosophy and experience is really the ethical focus of the novel. The reader comes upon this character when he is exhausted by war and has no arrogant desire for acclaim but only a hope for the security of the nation. He acknowledges the hand of fate in deciding the war's aftermath and magnanimously understands that war is abominable but necessary. This is an impressive novel that is amazingly penetrating, specific, and sympathetic because it distinguishes the ordinary person who finds himself in difficult and conflicting circumstances. Every individual is overwhelmed by the concepts of self-control and self-gratification, of torment and rapture, of discretion and deception, and of religion and damnation. Please Note: This book is easy to read in true text, not scanned images that can sometimes be difficult to decipher. The Microsoft eBook has a contents page linked to the chapter headings for easy navigation. The Adobe eBook has bookmarks at chapter headings and is printable up to two full copies per year. Both versions are text searchable.
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