• War and Peace, Volume 2

  • By: Leo Tolstoy
  • Narrated by: Neville Jason
  • Length: 31 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 04-27-07
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.6 (1,348 ratings)

Regular price: $35.00

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Publisher's Summary

War and Peace is one of the greatest monuments in world literature. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, it examines the relationship between the individual and the relentless march of history. Here are the universal themes of love and hate, ambition and despair, youth and age, expressed with a swirling vitality which makes the book as accessible today as it was when it was first published in 1869.
In addition it is, famously, one of the longest books in Western literature and therefore a remarkable challenge for any reader. Neville Jason read the abridged version of War and Peace and proved his marathon powers with his outstanding performance of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. These make him the ideal narrator to essay Tolstoy's epic.
War and Peace was translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude.
© and (P) Naxos Rights International
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Critic Reviews

"War and Peace presents us with a complete picture of human life; a complete picture of the Russia of those days; a complete historic picture of the struggle of nations; and a complete picture of the things in which men set their happiness and greatness, their sorrow and their shame." (A.V. Knowles, Tolstoy: The Critical Heritage)
"There remains the greatest of all novelists - for what else can we call the author of War and Peace?" (Virginia Woolf)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Tad Davis on 09-11-08

A long book, but at least the chapters are short

Neville Jason does a good (but not great) job reading this longest of long books. The dialogue, as read, is more dynamic than the narration; and the men are voiced more effectively than the women. (Unfortunately, given the amount of time she spends "onscreen," I found Jason's reading of Natasha to be somewhat shrill.) The Frederick Davidson recording is more dynamic, but Davidson's voice seems to rub a lot of people the wrong way. Jason at least has a smooth and mellow voice, and his reading is clear and unhurried.

This is the Maude translation, and Naxos (and Audible) get five stars for making it available in an attractive and accessible format. There are fourteen books in "War and Peace," plus an epilogue, and the recording is divided by book, with a chapter mark for each chapter: so it's very easy to find your way around and know exactly where you are in the story. The idea that you can get the whole thing for only two credits is amazing.

The book is long, some 70 hours or more, but most of the chapters are short and full of absorbing detail. The chapters that aren't -- where Tolstoy lays out his philosophy of history, or summarizes some of the larger historical context from 50,000 feet -- can probably be skipped without great loss. (To oversimplify, Tolstoy basically seems to be saying that while individuals think they have free will in an individual sense, when you step back and look at events from a larger perspective you see that reality is overdetermined and that what happened was inevitable. He also suggests that the "great man" theory of history is seriously flawed, because all the kings of the earth can't do squat without the individual acts of every single pawn.)

I realize that's heresy, but it would be better to get the story and skip the philosophy than to skip the book altogether. The story itself is incredible.

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Bluestramp on 06-22-15

Beyond Magnificence

From Mr. Jason's first utterance until 60 hours later his last syllable of Leo Tolstoy's magnum opus "War and Peace" I was living in Russia. Living with the aristocracy, peasants; cavalry and Cossacks. Soldiers and surfs. In castles, dungeons, town houses, huts and tents, ballrooms and battlefields.
Not for one moment was I distracted or aware of time's passage.
I listened to W & P right after "Anna Karinina". There is not enough Tolstoy. How can one comprehend this man's mind? You can not.
On to Dostoyevsky. Russian literature, what transcendent joy.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Philip on 04-22-13

Better than I remembered

I read War and Peace about thirty years ago. Having now completed listening to both volumes all I can say is it is better than I remembered. As a twenty year old I was obsessed with the lives of the protagonists. Now I'm in my fifties I was much more interested in Tolstoy's discussion of the how the war happened almost independently of the activities of Emperors and Generals. The final epilogue to volume 2 is a fascinating discussion of free will.

The narration was excellent throughout. I will definitely be listening to some more "classics".

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Caryl on 06-22-11


I need to refute the previous review. The range of Jason's voice and interpretation is astounding. As for the story and how it is written, never fear. This is a long and engrossing historical novel with plenty of wide panaoramic views and attention to romantic and period detail. Situations are described in their essence and the flavour of the time thoroughly captured. The spiritual aspect of Tolstoy's tale is as gripping as the unfolding of the events.It is fabulous!

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Patrick on 06-12-16

... And then the sun came up (on finishing)

The narrator does a stunning job of balancing all of the various characters and their outlook on life. he has a warm, kind voice that makes it easier to listen to passively.

Just a head up though, there are fairly lengthy academic historian arguments which are quite a chore to wade through, the last hour in particular.

Otherwise the characters are wonderfully fleshed out and vital, like real people their passions and beliefs change with time and experience.

It's a battle, but if you're looking at volume 2, you already know if you're going to plunge into the world once more.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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