War and Peace is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, first published in 1869. The work is epic in scale and is regarded as one of the most important works of world literature. It is regarded as Tolstoy’s finest literary achievement, along with his other major prose work Anna Karenina (1873–1877).
War and Peace delineates in graphic detail events leading up to the French invasion of Russia, and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society, as seen through the eyes of five Russian aristocratic families. Portions of an earlier version of the novel, then known as The Year 1805, were serialized in the magazine The Russian Messenger between 1865 and 1867. The novel was first published in its entirety in 1869.
Tolstoy himself, somewhat enigmatically, said of War and Peace that it was “not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less an historical chronicle.”