War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace by Leo TolstoyWar and Peace is considered to be one of the greatest novels ever written (Moser 1992). It is based in Russia and dates back to the times of the Napoleonic wars. The novel is stretched from the period of 1805 to 1812: drawing up a clear picture of the effect Napoleon’s wars had on Russian lives. It is based on the histories of five aristocratic families: Bezukhovs, the Bolkonskys, and the Rostovs and how their personal lives were affected by Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. Though the book has a vast medley of characters, some are fictional while accurate displays have been drawn of Napoleon and Alexander I. The book is divided into four parts and two epilogues. While the first part of the novel is roughly based on the lives of the fictional characters, the latter half including the epilogues has essays of history and the nature of war and power. Tolstoy is said to have used his own experience of the Crimean War to explain the wars in a more detailed and realistic form. He was critical of the standard history passed down over the generations, finding military history to be particularly deceitful. By producing a fictional book, Tolstoy aimed to blur the line between reality and fiction to create something that he felt would be closer to the truth. While war is one of the strongest themes of the book, Tolstoy ensures that the idea of individualism is not left out. War and Peace discusses the self-asserting pattern that human life often adopts and ends with how there is little free choice in the world. Thus, War and Peace is a book that describes the epic period that passed during and around the time of the French invasion of Russia. By involving characters in his book, Tolstoy ensured that the true grim reality of war and power were evident to his reader. While many feel the novel to be long, its length allows the writer to add details that other authors miss. It is hard to choose one specific quote from the book.The following are interesting quotes from the book:A doctor in a bloodstained apron came out of the tent, holding a cigar between the thumb and little finger of one of his bloodstained hands to keep the blood off it.This was an instance of the graphic but real horrors of war. Although in female society Anatole usually assumed the role of a man tired of being run after by women, his vanity was flattered by the spectacle of his power over these three women. Besides that, he was beginning to feel for the pretty and provocative Mademoiselle Bourienne that passionate animal feeling which was apt to master him with great suddenness and prompt him to the coarsest and most reckless actions.A personality trait of one of Tolstoy’s character’sA man without convictions, without habits, without traditions, without a name, and not even a Frenchman, emerges- by what seem the strangest chances- from among all the seething French parties, and without joining any one of them is borne forward to a prominent position.Tolstoy’s opinion of Napoleon.B.IIaOil is one of the most expensive and sought after natural resources on the planet because it is the life blood of industries. Four Western oil companies got the privilege to get oil concessions back from Iraq once Saddam was removed (Kramer 2008). Many felt the war in the Middle East was based entirely because of its oil resources (Fox News). Thus, the strongest motive to start a war in the Middle East is oil. On the other hand, another opinion states that oil is the exact reason why a lot of flaws in the Middle East are tolerated: primarily Islamic fundamentalism. IIb.Turkey has had a strong spirit of nationalism ever since its removal of the Ottoman Empire. This is evident in the backlash that followed soon after Turkey thought of joining the European Union.Iran also has a strong nationalist spirit. This is apparent in their continuous resentful discourses with the West and their decision to maintain their nuclear arms. Egypt got its freedom for the European colonial powers and soon developed a strong sense of pan-Arabism which is vital in its nationalistic spiritIsrael is contrasting to all of the above stated countries in the respect of its absence of a majority of Muslims. While the nationalist spirit is strong in Israel as is seen by its constant tiffs to remove Palestine from their land, the other three countries maintain their nationalistic spirit to ensure Israel does not gain too much strength. BibliographyFox News, GREENSPAN: Oil the prime motive for Iraq War, Fox News Online, Available: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,296938,00.html [July 16 2009]Kramer A, 2008, Deals with Iraq are set to bring oil giants back, The New York Times Online, Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/19/world/middleeast/19iraq.html?_r=1partner=rssuserlandemc=rsspagewanted=all [July 16 2009]Moser C. 1992. Encyclopedia of Russian Literature. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 298–300