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Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace chronicles the lives of five Russian aristocratic families during Napoleon's invasion of Russia. Many considered this book to be the best Russian work of literature of all time and it is massive in scale. The book is divided in four volumes and the chapters don't just contain the narrative of the plot to the novel but philosophical discussions as well. This may be intimidating to average book readers but they shouldn't be discouraged to try reading War and Peace. After all, this book was written for all and not just for intellectuals.
The five wealthy families followed are the Bezukhovs, Bolkonskys, Rostovs, Kuragins and the Drubetskoys in the early 19th century especially during the time when Napoleon invaded Russia. Like with Tolstoy's other novels, it also tells about the different social problems in Russian high society like the fathering of illegitimate children of wealthy Russians, financial ruin of some families due to incompetence, their vanity despite the poverty which surrounds them and so on. The lives of the main characters from the different families are intertwined in the novel with friendships and conflicting interests.
War and Peace is also a historical novel. Napoleon himself is one of its main characters and a huge part of the book was about him. It's very impressive that Tolstoy was able to depict him very accurately in this novel. Besides him, Tolstoy was also very accurate about his descriptions of the historical events during that time like the Battle of Borodino, Napoleon's invasion of Moscow and others.
This book doesn't just narrate the trials, problems and conflicts between the different characters in the novel but also provides philosophical insights to historical events. It's always interesting to learn about history from another point of view not just from what was told in history books.