I watched the BBC mini-series of War and Peace and I enjoyed it.
I admit the presence of Tom Burke was a factor (hawt), even if his character only exists to be a bastard.
Dolokhov: “Oh, so good to have met you on this day we are going into battle in which we might die. I regret there was any misunderstanding between us.”
Pierre’s reply should have been, “You fucked my wife. I shot you. Seems pretty straightforward to me.”
Anyway I thought, What the hell, I’ll give it a go.
Now, War and Peace is one of those novels you read just to say you have read it, and I now realize why.
It was an o.k. story (if sexist as hell, Tolstoy obviously believed only men are capable of self aware interior philosophizing, but I guess that is the sexism of his time) until about 1/2 – 2/3rds of the way through Tolstoy goes off on these rants about how modern (for him anyway) historians suck and don’t understand anything. I’m not sure what his point was beyond “God is the answer to everything that happens,” but he goes on and on and on, to the point of repeating himself at least couple times. And this is interspersed with the last 1/3 of the story. You end up plowing through 10+ pages of ranting at a time trying to get back to it.
And then he keeps going on with his belaboring rant against historians for 26 pages after the story is over!
And his problem is that he looks at historiographical theory in absolutes. He believes that historians believe it was great men who steered history or it was social movements that steered history. Now maybe back then that may have been the case (not my period). The truth is that it is both. (You can never reduce anything dealing with human nature to a single theory, or even three.) A social movement created the French Revolution, but Napoleon is Fucking Napoleon and you can’t say he was merely a tool of a social movement swept along by the tide.
Talk about “writer in need of a copy editor.” This book could have cut by at least 1/3 if he had stuck to the story and let it *show* how history “really happens” in his theory rather than spending well over 200 pages (at least) *telling.*
Like I said, the story itself is good, kinda like Jane Austin meets Bernard Cornwell, but with more politics. But good Gods, would Tolstoy just shut the fuck up and tell it!
But the BBC mini-series is very good. I rarely say this: But skip the book and watch that instead.
(Sorry about the paragraph breaks. I don’t know what the hell is going on there.)