War and Peace

By Leo Tolstoy, Aylmer Maude (translator), Louise Maude , Henry Gifford (editor)

Book cover of War and Peace

Book description

'If life could write, it would write like Tolstoy.' Isaac Babel

Tolstoy's epic masterpiece intertwines the lives of private and public individuals during the time of the Napoleonic wars and the French invasion of Russia. The fortunes of the Rostovs and the Bolkonskys, of Pierre, Natasha, and Andrei, are intimately…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

3 authors picked War and Peace as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I am deeply passionate about Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace because I find that when I re-read it, I can always learn profound new lessons about human behavior. The setting of War and Peace is Russia in the period before, during, and after the Napoleonic Wars–roughly the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century. Both directly and indirectly, Tolstoy is dealing with the question of what happens after great revolutions.

France has experienced its great revolution and is now ruled by Emperor Napoleon. The talk is of spreading ‘revolutionary justice’ to the rest of Europe…

From Fathali's list on why revolutions fail.

Pierre Bezukhov is one of the most fascinating characters in all of literature. Pierre—the socially awkward, illegitimate son of Count Besukhov—inherits the family fortune but struggles to find his identity. He finds it, late in the novel, in an unlikely place. After saving the life of a French officer who has invaded his house to find shelter, Pierre attempts to assassinate Napoleon but is sent to prison.  

There, he meets Platon Karataev, a simple peasant, who shares his food with Pierre. Platon embodies everything Pierre has searched for all his life: generosity, integrity, and a keen understanding of human existence—giving…

When I was in junior high school, I was smitten with a girl named Vicki. On one of the three dates I managed to land with her, she got into a conversation with someone about Anna Karenina. I decided to read it as a way to get to know her better. I was hooked. I listed all the main characters on 4 x 6 cards so I could keep track of them. I was so taken with the complex world that Tolstoy created that I dove into War and Peace and its story of lives lost or rebuilt during the…

Want books like War and Peace?

Our community of 10,000+ authors has personally recommended 100 books like War and Peace.

Browse books like War and Peace

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Russia, the Napoleonic Wars, and Napoleon Bonaparte?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Russia, the Napoleonic Wars, and Napoleon Bonaparte.

Russia Explore 353 books about Russia
The Napoleonic Wars Explore 66 books about the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleon Bonaparte Explore 94 books about Napoleon Bonaparte