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Reflections From the Ukraine

By MIKE MAGEE

The English translator of Tolstoy’s epic Russian novel, “War and Peace”, Richard Pevear, writes in his introduction, “The book is set in the period of the Napoleonic wars (1805-1812) and tells the interweaving historical events of two very different families of the Russian nobility – the severe Bolonskys and the easygoing Rostovs – and of a singular man reminiscent of the author himself – Count Pierre Bezukhov. It embodies the national myth of ‘Russia’s glorious period’ as Tolstoy himself called it…”

On page 348, in a moment of intense introspection, the very same Pierre broodingly reflects, “What is bad? What is good? What should one love, what hate? Why live, and what am I? What is life and what is death? What power rules over everything?”

Pierre’s mind provides this very dark response, “You will die – and everything will end. You will die and learn everything – or stop asking.”

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