A daily, yearlong, chapter-by-chapter reading of and meditation on Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel War and Peace

Squad goals

What It Is

A Year of War and Peace is the bibliotheraputic equivalent of mainlining your favorite mood enhancer.

Over the course of one year Medium members will be offered the opportunity to read and discuss one chapter of Leo Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace per day as well as a reflective essay individually tailored to that day’s chapter. These reflective essays focus on the novel’s nineteenth century characters with the aim of improving contemporary readers’ twenty-first century lives. In 2017 I published these essays on Medium. …


In which Nicholas Rostóv and his army buddies contemplate how to respond to a bad man’s bad deeds and we consider that though we will meet with such men often we cannot be harmed by them

Playlist

Welcome! New readers may find an introduction to A Year of War and Peace+ and a table of contents here. Please consider following me on Medium. I publish weekly essays on diverse topics, but mostly on books and film. Finally, feel free to share with your friends.

War and Peace — Book One, Part Two

Chapter Four

That same evening there was an animated discussion among the squadron’s officers in Denísov’s quarters.

“And I tell you, Rostóv, that you must apologize to the colonel!” said a tall, grizzly-haired staff captain, with enormous mustaches and many wrinkles on his large features, to Rostóv who was crimson with excitement.

The staff…


In which Rostov gets angry at a thief and we see that anger is the most self-injurious of emotions

Playlist

Welcome! New readers may find an introduction to A Year of War and Peace+ and a table of contents here. Please consider following me on Medium. I publish weekly essays on diverse topics, but mostly on books and film. Finally, feel free to share with your friends.

War and Peace — Book One, Part Two

Chapter Four

The Pávlograd Hussars were stationed two miles from Braunau. The squadron in which Nicholas Rostóv served as a cadet was quartered in the German village of Salzeneck. The best quarters in the village were assigned to cavalry-captain Denísov, the squadron commander, known throughout the whole cavalry division as Váska Denísov. …


In which the Russian army learns of an unfortunate loss and we contemplate the three eidetic reductions of future misfortune

Playlist

Welcome! New readers may find an introduction to A Year of War and Peace+ and a table of contents here. Please consider following me on Medium. I publish weekly essays on diverse topics, but mostly on books and film. Finally, feel free to share with your friends.

War and Peace — Book One, Part Two

Chapter Three

On returning from the review, Kutúzov took the Austrian general into his private room and, calling his adjutant, asked for some papers relating to the condition of the troops on their arrival, and the letters that had come from the Archduke Ferdinand, who was in command of the advanced army. Prince Andrew…


In which Kutúzov examines the ranks and we see the utility of examining ourselves

Playlist

Welcome! New readers may find an introduction to A Year of War and Peace+ and a table of contents here. Please consider following me on Medium. I publish weekly essays on diverse topics, but mostly on books and film. Finally, feel free to share with your friends.

War and Peace — Book One, Part Two

Chapter Two

“He’s coming!” shouted the signaler at that moment. The regimental commander, flushing, ran to his horse, seized the stirrup with trembling hands, threw his body across the saddle, righted himself, drew his saber, and with a happy and resolute countenance, opening his mouth awry, prepared to shout. …


An essay on Shaka King’s crime thriller Judas and the Black Messiah

In theaters and streaming now on HBOMax

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

James 1:8

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Officers attached to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, murdered Fred Hampton in his sleep.

In a lesser film knowledge of this bit of the historical record would constitute an unforgivable spoiler. In Shaka King’s captivating new crime thriller Judas and the Black…


In which the Russian army prepares for inspection and we learn to order our lives well in every act

Playlist

Welcome! New readers may find an introduction to A Year of War and Peace+ and a table of contents here. Please consider following me on Medium. I publish weekly essays on diverse topics, but mostly on books and film. Finally, feel free to share with your friends.

War and Peace — Book One, Part Two

Chapter One

In October, 1805, a Russian army was occupying the villages and towns of the Archduchy of Austria, and yet other regiments freshly arriving from Russia were settling near the fortress of Braunau and burdening the inhabitants on whom they were quartered. Braunau was the headquarters of the commander in chief, Kutúzov.

On…


In which Prince Andrew leaves for the war and we learn to anticipate our griefs

Playlist

Welcome! New readers may find an introduction to A Year of War and Peace+ and a table of contents here. Please consider following me on Medium. I publish weekly essays on diverse topics, but mostly on books and film. Finally, feel free to share with your friends.

War and Peace — Book One, Part One

Chapter Twenty-Five

Prince Andrew was to leave next evening. The old prince, not altering his routine, retired as usual after dinner. The little princess was in her sister-in-law’s room. Prince Andrew in a traveling coat without epaulettes had been packing with his valet in the rooms assigned to him. After inspecting the carriage himself…


In which the Bolkónski family worries over Prince Andrew’s future and we see that some things are under our control and other things are not under our control

Playlist

Welcome! New readers may find an introduction to A Year of War and Peace+ and a table of contents here. Please consider following me on Medium. I publish weekly essays on diverse topics, but mostly on books and film. Finally, feel free to share with your friends.

War and Peace — Book One, Part One

Chapter Twenty-Four

At the appointed hour the prince, powdered and shaven, entered the dining room where his daughter-in-law, Princess Mary, and Mademoiselle Bourienne were already awaiting him together with his architect, who by a strange caprice of his employer’s was admitted to table though the position of that insignificant individual was such as could…


In which Prince Andrew returns home and we reflect on the sufferings of the world

Playlist

Welcome! New readers may find an introduction to A Year of War and Peace+ and a table of contents here. Please consider following me on Medium. I publish weekly essays on diverse topics, but mostly on books and film. Finally, feel free to share with your friends.

War and Peace — Book One, Part One

Chapter Twenty-Three

The gray-haired valet was sitting drowsily listening to the snoring of the prince, who was in his large study. From the far side of the house through the closed doors came the sound of difficult passages — twenty times repeated — of a sonata by Dussek.

Just then a closed carriage and…

Brian E. Denton

For my friends and family, love. For my enemies, durian fruit.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store