Why did Leo Tolstoy write War and Peace? How did he manipulate the history to fit with his own story? A fantastic article by his biographer (and translator), Rosamund Bartlett in Britain’s Daily Telegraph (3/1/2016)
“Tolstoy does something which is very unusual and which, for his time, was pretty profound: he sees the conditions of the ordinary soldier on the battlefield.”
Tendai Huchu, Novelist
“The central question of the book: how can we explain the fact that, on orders, millions of people go out and kill one another, when they know that killing another human being is morally wrong?”
Cécile Fabre, Philosopher
“Tolstoy didn’t fight in the Napoleonic wars, but he did fight in the Crimean war, so he drew on his experiences in that.”
Kate McLoughlin, Literary Scholar
“As a middle aged man, I react differently to Tolstoy than I did when I first read War and Peace at about 15.”
Niall Ferguson, Historian
“Tolstoy isn’t just a chronicler of what it felt like to be under fire, he can make us feel the emotion of his characters with a single word.”
Stella Tillyard, Historian
“His view is that politicians don’t make history, the great men don’t make history, the writers and journalists don’t make history. Actually, what makes history is the work of the people.”
Martin Sixsmith, Foreign Correspondent
“Although it was published in 1869, it deals with events half a century earlier. This makes it one of the first historical novels – and, all these years later, it’s still the greatest.”
Vanora Bennett, Historical Novelist
“It’s set during the peak of Russian culture, the age of Pushkin, who created the modern Russian language, and that’s the beginning of the best. It’s the peak.”
Andrei Maylunas, Historian
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