Wednesday, April 27, 2011

War and Peace is finally over

I finished War and Peace! Last night was the end of a 964 page marathon which lasted many years. I've forgotten when I started but it must be at least 5 years ago because the book was a new paperback and now the paper is yellowing round the edges.

There are two Epilogues in which Tolstoy follows his characters into a future where the surviving couples are happily married with children underfoot and life is peaceful for a while. Of course with hindsight we know that those aristocrat lifestyles didn't last. Tolstoy finished W&P in 1869, fifty years after the Napoleonic  invasion of Russia and nearly fifty years before the 1917 revolution.

One thing stood out to me throughout the book and that was how little seems to have changed with the warmongers of our society. Tolstoy gives detailed accounts of the way campaigns are bungled and battles lost or won by stupid mistakes, and misunderstood instructions given by inept, lazy or preoccupied commanders with their own agendas.

I'm pleased I read the whole book and am ready to tackle another classic author now. Not sure what yet.

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