Find out about the music that would have been played at Russian society gatherings in the 1800s and 1810s. Play some samples for your class. What role did music play in 19th-century Russia? Identify the most important Russian composers during that time.

Compare the protests in America during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970s to the Decembrist uprising, which Pierre is involved with at the end of the book. What were the Decembrists protesting? Were there any similarities in the way the Decembrist and Vietnam protests were organized?

The Society of Freemasons, which is so influential in Pierre’s life, is still an active organization. Investigate the modern-day Masons. Considering the fact that it is still a secret organization, how much information can you find out about them? How have their practices and goals changed from the time of Tolstoy’s novel?

During World War II, Russia was an ally of America and the United Kingdom. Yet for most of the 20th century, America and Russia were bitter rivals. Research the relationship between the two countries at the time of the novel and report on it. What is America’s relationship to Russia today?

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