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img312 img313Originally this work was published in English in 1967, as a hardcover book by Bergman Publishers. The above anthology of Tolstoy’s writings are based on the novels and other works of Lyof (Leo) N. Tolstoy copyright 1899 by Thomas Y. Crowell & Co. This is a Signet first edition 1968, illustrated by the fabulous illustrator and artist Saul Lambert.

The book opens up on the first free flyleaf with the following text: “The helpless positions of Governments, which more and more increase their armaments: the multiplication of taxation and the discontent of nations:the extreme degree of efficiency with which deadly weapons are constructed: the activity of Congress and societies of peace and above all, the refusals of individuals to take military service….”

Prophetic words applicable to our times today, especially if we consider the opening message of this book by Tolstoy that has the title: A message to the American People

“When I read your letter it seemed to me impossible that I could send any message to the American people. But thinking over at night, it came to me that, if I had to address the American people, I would like to thank them for writers who flourished about the fifties. (our note the 1850’s!)

I would mention Garrison, Parker, Emerson, Ballou and Thoreau, not as the greatest, but as those who, I think especially influenced me. Other names are Channing, Whittier, Lowell, Walt Whitman -a bright constellation, such as is rarely to be found in the literatures of the world.

And I should like to ask the American people why they do not pay more attention to these voices (hardly to be replaced by those of financial and industrial millionaires, or successful generals and admirals) and continue the good work in which they made such hopeful progress.” signed Leo Tolstoy

Our note: Much more of an acquiescent silence in today’s America can be added in plain words, but I would be infringing on the plainest eloquence of the above words and therefore mine are left unspoken, some words ring true when one hears, but its very own sound.

The book has 301 pages, an excellent selected bibliography of works on civil disobedience and non-violence at the end, and notes on sources are included.

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) Russian novelist and moral philosopher, best known for his two realistic Epic novels War and Peace (1868/69) available as a free ebook and Anna Karenina (1878). Both novels recount the history of the Russian people and their lands.

Tolstoy served in the Tsarist Army in the Wars of Pacification in the Caucasus and the Crimea, and after a spiritual crisis later in life converted to Christianity. Leo Tolstoy was the most loved writer of “Mother Russia”.