leo tolstoy, author of war and peace

war and peace by leo tolstoy

war and peace is perhaps the most (in)famous of leo tolstoy books.  count leo tolstoy (bet you didn’t know he was a count?), also known as lev nikolayevich tolstoy, author of war and peace, wrote one doozy of a long, snoozy book.

So how long is war and peace?  glad you asked!  no, the answer is not merely “too long” (although that’s not too far off the mark).

let’s take a look at war and peace’s word count and the number of pages of the novel well known for its length.


564,364 words. 3,202,138 characters (presumably, including spaces). 365 chapters, split unequally into 15 books and two (count ’em, two!) epilogues (and the epilogues themselves are broken up into several chapters apiece!). it might be a classic, but war and peace is one of the most verbose books ever printed in any language.

what is war and peace about?  why, it’s the epic tale of several aristocratic russian families during that country’s war against napoleon and france.  war & peace is considered among the finest pieces of literature around. but it’s loooooooong (the length has often been joked about) and quite difficult to read.

for those reasons, it makes our list of some of the most boring books in the world to read. we tried reading it ourselves but we could never get past the first book’s early chapters, with its soap-opera-like (and boring) stories of elite parties and stuff. so consider yourself warned and “enjoy” leo tolstoy’s war and peace.

oh, and for your reading “enjoyment,” how about some appropriate… music?

mark twain, the great american author, once said (he attributed it to benjamin disraeli) “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” so on that note, we present some statistics on war and peace. keep in mind that we obtained the text from project gutenberg and so all of our stats are based on the text file we downloaded from them.

war and peace by leo tolstoy – statistics

book one war and peace
48,031 words
271,547 characters
28 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,715.39
average number of characters per chapter: 9,698.11

book two war and peace
40,583 words
233,305 characters
21 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,932.52
average number of characters per chapter: 11,109.76

book three war and peace
44,232 words
250,627 characters
19 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 2,328
average number of characters per chapter: 13,190.89

book four war and peace
23,545 words
132,165 characters
16 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,471.56
average number of characters per chapter: 8,260.31

book five war and peace
33,752 words
189,399 characters
22 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,534.18
average number of characters per chapter: 8,609.05

book six war and peace
33,450 words
189,223 characters
26 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,286.54
average number of characters per chapter: 7,277.81

book seven war and peace
22,930 words
128,950 characters
13 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,763.85
average number of characters per chapter: 9919.23

book eight war and peace
31,069 words
175,714 characters
22 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,412.23
average number of characters per chapter: 7,987

book nine war and peace
38,035 words
217,370 characters
23 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,653.70
average number of characters per chapter: 9,450.87

book ten war and peace
64,985 words
369,175 characters
39 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,666.28
average number of characters per chapter: 9,466.03

book eleven war and peace
52,058 words
294,990 characters
34 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,531.12
average number of characters per chapter: 8,676.18

book twelve war and peace
24,428 words
137,891 characters
16 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,526.75
average number of characters per chapter: 8,618.19

book thirteen war and peace
20,282 words
116,815 characters
19 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,067.47
average number of characters per chapter: 6,148.16

book fourteen war and peace
20,656 words
117,310 characters
19 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,087.16
average number of characters per chapter: 6,174.21

book fifteen war and peace
24,396 words
138,313 characters
20 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,219.80
average number of characters per chapter: 6,915.65

first epilogue
24,275 words
136,730 characters
16 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,517.19
average number of characters per chapter: 8,545.63

second epilogue
17,657 words
102,614 characters
12 chapters
average number of words per chapter: 1,471.42
average number of characters per chapter: 8551.17

totals

15 books, two epilogues
words: 564,364 (522,432 for the 15 books, 41,932 for the two epilogues)
characters: 3,202,138 (2,962,794 for the 15 books, 239,344 for the two epilogues)
chapters: 365 (337 for the first 15 books, 28 for the two epilogues)

averages
chapters

average number of chapters per book/epilogue: 21.47
average number of chapters per book only: 22.47
average number of chapters per epilogue: 14

words

average number of words per book/epilogue: 33,197.88
average number of words per book only: 34,828.80
average number of words per epilogue: 20,966
average number of words per chapter (including both books and epilogues): 1,546.20
average number of words per chapter (books only): 1,550.24
average number of words per chapter (epilogues only): 1,497.57

characters

average number of characters per book/epilogue: 188,361.06
average number of characters per book only: 197,519.60
average number of characters per epilogue only: 119,672
average number of characters per chapter (including both books and epilogues): 8,772.98
average number of characters per chapter (books only): 8,791.67
average number of characters per chapter (epilogues only): 8,548

photo: leo tolstoy, author of war and peace. by f. w. taylor [public domain], via wikimedia commons.

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