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.