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Tolstoy’s powerful semiautobiographical stories based on his time spent in the Russian army—the latest in our series of fresh new Tolstoy translations In 1851, at the age of twenty-two, Tolstoy joined the Russian army. The four years he spent as a soldier were among the most significant in his life and inspired the tales collected here. In The Cossacks,” Tolstoy tells the story of Olenin, a cultured Russian whose experiences among the Cossack warriors of Central Asia leave him searching for a more authentic life. The Sevastopol Sketches” bring into stark relief the realities of military life during the Crimean War. And Hadji Murat” paints a portrait of a great leader torn apart by divided loyalties. In writing about individuals and societies in conflict, Tolstoy has penned some of the most brilliant stories about the nature of war.
Leo Tolstoy wrote two of the great novels of the nineteenth century, War and Peace and Anna Karenina. He died in 1910 at the age of eighty-two. David McDuff-'s translations for Penguin Classics include Dostoyevsky-'s Crime and Punishment and he Brothers Karamazov. Paul Foote was, until his retirement, a university lecturer in Russian and a fellow of Queen-'s College, Oxford.