In 1851, at the age of twenty-two, Tolstoy joined the Russian army and travelled to the Caucasus as a soldier. Begun in 1852 but unfinished for a decade, The Cossacks describes the experiences of Olenin, a young cultured Russian who comes to despise civilization after spending time with the wild Cossack people.
Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828 - 1910) was a Russian novelist, social reformer, pacifist, and moral thinker. Tolstoy is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all novelists, particularly noted for his masterpieces War and Peace and Anna Karenina; inPaul Foote was, until his retirement, a University Lecturer in Russian and Fellow of the Queen's College, Oxford. David McDuff was educated at the University of Edinburgh and has translated a number of works for Penguin Classics, including Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.