At 7:15 p.m. on December 2, 1970, as the Vietnam War raged, WBAI in New York kicked off a broadcast unique in radio history: Leo Tolstoyâ€™s War and Peace read in its entirety by a star-studded cast, in celebration of the bookâ€™s 100-year publishing anniversary. This unprecedented marathon reading continued for the next four and one half days, stopping only for music breaks and nightly reports on the war. This week on From the Vault, we present Part One of The War and Peace Broadcast: 35 Years Later, a 2005 documentary which features excerpts from the 1970 historic radio broadcast and explores select re-readings by some of 2005â€™s contemporary artists.
1970 readers include Dustin Hoffman, Ann Bancroft, Mel Brooks, Julius Lester, Abbie Hoffman, William F. Buckley, Buck Henry, Carolyn Goodman and some 175 others from all walks of life. 2005 readers include Helen Thomas, Cindy Sheehan, Dr. Helen Caldicott, Arianna Huffington, Robert Fisk, Mike Farrell, Ed Asner, Shirley Knight, Count Nikolai Tolstoy (senior living member of Tolstoy family), and many others.
From the Vault is proudly presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project.