Many of Russia’s greatest writers declared Leo Tolstoy’s magnum opus as the greatest Russian novel ever. Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Crime and Punishment) showered praise over War and Peace, declaring that Tolstoy had… “profound knowledge- not only of the poetic side of his art, but also the reality he deals with, in its historical as well as contemporary context. In Russia, as far as I see it, only one writer excels in this, Count Lev Tolstoy.“ Ivan Turgenev, considered to be the second great Russian writer (behind Nikolai Gogol) from the golden age of Russian literature, who wrote the anti-nihilist novel Fathers and Sons in 1862 and he called War and Peace “one of the most remarkable books of our age”. However, it’s a shame to know that Leo Tolstoy, himself, rejected both War and Peace and Anna Karenina later in his life, because he didn’t see them as realistic works. War and Peace, however, is very much an outstanding work of literature and philosophy. At over 1,300 pages long (with reference to the Oxford World’s Classics edition), it may initially seem to be one of the most daunting reads of one’s life, but Tolstoy’s prose is rich, it flows well and is not at all a tedious read. The book shifts between narrative, historical and philosophical discussion; alternating between the lives of the Bolkonskys, the Bezukhovs, the Rostovs and then to Tolstoy’s own views on the philosophy of history and free will.