Brand : Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace

Marshall ness |

Absolutely worth the time investment

I knew this was going to take some time - four months to be exact - but it was worth every minute. the first two volumes were at times tedious, as there is character development unlike any book i've ever read. however, it was all part of the buildup to volumes iii & iv. in the final volumes, some of the writing was so good i wept. in addition to the fiction, tolstoy's analysis of napoleon's strategy and the chaotic circumstances of early 19th century war was fascinating. if i were to read this again (and i might), i would grab a hard copy, to more easily re-read some portions of the book to gain a better perspective on later developments, and to more quickly translate the french-written portions to english. in any case, this is a spectacular work, particularly for those who enjoy war epics.

G.c. |

Very fine translation of "war and peace", pre-p&v

First admission: this is the only translation of "war and peace" that i've read. with that in mind, however, it reads very well and flows quite smoothly. john bayley, in his very fine foreword, describes this translation as "a very good one" that's "as close as practicable to the russian text", even if it may not be as rough and ready or literal as the more recent pevear & volokhonsky translation (which i confess i haven't read, yet) has been reported to be. bayley contrasts dunnigan with maude via a few examples, such as how dunnigan's rendering of one passage from a mob of peasants is more colloquial and less "literary" than the maudes' rendition. if nothing else, dunnigan properly renders the first 4 words of the novel in french, which indeed they are in the original, unlike the earliest translators like the maudes. the maudes' apologists continually claim that since the maudes knew tolstoy, they knew better. evidently, though, it wasn't simple enough at the start for them to leave an easy french phrase intact, as it was in the original. (admittedly, neither dunnigan nor the maudes go as far as pevear and volokhonsky in leaving essentially the whole of the 1st paragraph in french, but dunnigan does better than the maudes there, with just 4 words.) if your budget doesn't extend to the p&v translation, and you come across the dunnigan translation in your local used bookstore and are inclined to give "war and peace" a try, you'll do well with this version.

Christopher ware |

It is long, but well worth it.

Being one of the longest books i have ever read, this is also one of the best. tolstoy's characterization is very good. his usage of alternating chapters of war and peace was very effective in making each seem the polar opposite of the other. of course, he also ties things together that show how each front affects the other. if you have the time and patience and a love for classical literature, this book is a must read.