Having recently finished War and Peace I will have to concur with Turgenev for my summary:
The novel itself aroused my keen interest: there are tens of pages which are absolutely magnificent, first class–all the descriptive parts, the stuff of everyday life–a hunt, a drive at night, and so forth. But the historical addition, which is precisely the part which enraptures the reader, is sham and charlatanery. …Tolstoy impresses the reader with the tow of Alexander’s boot, the laugh of Speransky. He forces the reader to believe that he knows everything about his subject, if indeed he goes down to these minute details, but in reality he knows only these small details.