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The book is the last of his major long fiction works published in his lifetime. Tolstoy intended the novel as an exposition of injustice of man-made laws and the hypocrisy of institutionalized church. It was first published serially in the magazine Niva as an effort to raise funds for the resettlement of the Dukhobors.
Leo Tolstoy, or Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy. September 9 [O.S. August 28] 1828 – November 20 [O.S. November 7] 1910), was a Russian writer widely regarded as among the greatest of novelists. His masterpieces War and Peace and Anna Karenina represent in their scope, breadth and vivid depiction of 19th-century Russian life and attitudes, the peak of realist fiction.
Tolstoy's further talents as essayist, dramatist, and educational reformer made him the most influential member of the aristocratic Tolstoy family. His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and pacifist. His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal twentieth-century figures as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.