from Real Clear Books

Leo Tolstoy the Free Thinker: Yet Another ‘New’ Look at ‘War and Peace’

By John Tamny

For mountain climbers, one imagines that Mt. Everest looms as the ultimate climb to validate one’s ability. For runners, it would be the Boston Marathon, for triathletes the Iron Man?

For readers, it’s no reach to say that Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace is the Mt. Everest, Boston Marathon, or Iron Man of reading. Coming in at 1358 pages comprised of tiny letters, just looking at the novel is to feel intimidated. Picking it up in no way reduces the internal discomfort. No one likes to give up (see deaths on Everest, etc.), but it’s safe to say that more people have quit reading War and Peace than have completed it, after which it’s even safer to say that exponentially more people have purchased War and Peace than have ever begun reading it. It’s easier on one’s psyche to not open the book at all than to open it only to close it for good after just a few pages. Better to not have ventured than to have ventured only to quit, or something like that. At least it gives you deniability.

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