FACT CHECK: Did Oprah Winfrey Remove ‘War and Peace’ From Her Book Club Due To Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims Oprah Winfrey announced the removal of the book “War and Peace” from her book club in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Verdict: False

The person who originally made the claim later said it was satirical. There is no evidence Winfrey announced the book’s removal.

Fact Check:

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is now in its seventh week and has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,800 civilians, according to a U.N. report. Russia has faced massive sanctions and boycotts for its role in the bloodshed with companies like Apple and Nike pausing sales in the country, The Guardian reported.

The Facebook post claims that in response to the invasion, Winfrey announced the removal of Russian author Leo Tolstoy’s famed book “War and Peace” from her book club. The book, which was published between 1865 and 1869, is a historical novel that centers on Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1812 invasion of Russia, according to Britannica.

There is no evidence Winfrey has made an announcement regarding the removal of the book. Check Your Fact reviewed her website but did not find the book listed as one of the 93 works selected by her book club. Likewise, no statement about its removal appear on the Twitter accounts, Facebook pages or Instagram profiles of Winfrey or OWN TV, Winfrey’s TV network.

None of the major publishers that sell “War and Peace,” such as Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, have issued statements regarding any removal of the book from any book clubs. (RELATED: Does This Picture Show Meghan Markle With George Soros’ Son?)

There are also at least 200 mentions of “War and Peace” on Oprah’s website. Articles such as “Finding Inspiration in Tolstoy’s War and Peace” and “How to Read War and Peace,” are still available to read and have not been removed. Notably, Tolstoy’s book “Anna Karenina” was selected by the book club in 2004 and remains listed on Oprah.com.

The claim appears to stem from opinion column writer Maitreya Bhakal, who tweeted Feb. 26 that Winfrey had removed the book. The original tweet has been retweeted over 3,000 times. Bhakal later tweeted that his original tweet was “satire”.

Check Your Fact reached out to the Oprah Winfrey Network and will update this article if a response is provided.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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