War and Peace

  There must be something wrong with me; I didn't like Don Quixote, and now I can't recommend War and Peace, each said by many to be the greatest novel. Each said by me to be way way too long and not very well written. Perhaps translation has something to do with it, but it doesn't account for plot and action, the things that actually happen, the behavior of the characters.
   The historical content of War and Peace is very interesting, as is Tolstoy's particular idea about history (i.e., that the major events of history are not caused or controlled by the major figures, like Napoleon, that these figures are just carried along with the overall tide of causes that really has no beginning and no end), but I found the fictional characters not well drawn and their actions inconsistent and arbitrary. I did not enjoy the first 700 pages or so (of about 1350), until the events of the Napoleonic invasion got going. Late in the book I got to like some of the characters. Tolstoy's epilogues were kind of pure philosophy, and I felt that he did not make his case or even that I understood what it was.