“One doesn’t have to invent the bicycle, there is one: it’s War and Peace. It’s about how Russia won the Napoleonic wars, and moved into the first row of nations who dealt with European history. It’s set during the peak of Russian culture, the age of Pushkin, who created the modern Russian language. It’s the peak…The only thing I would recommend to modern readers is to skip all those parts – which are completely separate from the other parts of the book – where Tolstoy is philosophising about the role of the individual in history. It’s maybe 15 per cent of the book, in separate chapters, and I would definitely recommend to skip those because they are not interesting today.” Read more...
The best books on Pre-Revolutionary Russia