A Pacifist and Anarchist Manifesto and Masterpiece
Tolstoy presented to the readers the essence of Christianity as he himself understood it, namely, the Law of Love, stripped of all superstitions, relics, hypocrisies, mystifying rituals and theological arguments. He expounded in a most logical, thoughtful and comprehensive manner how true Christianity is or should be, mutually incompatible with violence and all forms of government founded on violence, including monarchies, capitalists and socialists.
In his fictional works, Tolstoy showed a remarkable empathetic understanding of human nature; In his non-fictional works, great intellectual capacity and integrity. He first presents in their entirety all the different schools of thoughts on the subject of war and government, and then analyzes the merits and errors of the opposing opinions before making his own arguments, endeavoring to communicate, understand and edify rather than to judge and condemn.
This book was banned in Russia and he was excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church, which he denounced in the book. But, as he asserted in the book, governments and institutions are powerless against a man who has united himself with the truth.