This is the translation to read
Reading literary masterpieces crafted in a different language puts a great burden on the translator; Constance Garnett's 1904 version in English was the benchmark for a century, but it has finally been superseded by this fantastic edition, the work of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. It cleaves perfectly to the original, both to the Story, and to the Epilogue (Tolstoy's general discussion of history, the year 1812, human understanding, and pretty much Everything Else). Tolstoy had an immense, insightful, thirsty, tenacious, and deeply personal mind. Throughout the Story you are subtly aware of it, of him -- that is, aware that even though the story is moving right along and there's plenty going on, this is the work of a master storyteller and there isn't a single detail in any scene that hasn't been put there on purpose, for a reason -- but in the Epilogue you are nose to nose with the old boyar, as it were in a freezing, echoey, bare Russian classroom while he pontificates and gesticulates in front of the chalkboard repeating point after point. It's hard not to be buffaloed by the whole immensity of it.
Fort most American readers, just keeping track of who's who is hard enough. There are AT LEAST eighteen principal and secondary players from three or four families, and they each have one or two surnames and maybe three nicknames! It is to whew. With this in mind I strongly recommend the reader put a Post-It note on the edge of the "PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS" page, just after page xvi of the Introduction, so it sticks out a little and you can refer easily to it. You will want to.
Also, begin your reading at Volume I Part One Chapter I, not with the Introduction. As with any book, skip the Introduction until after you've finished. Then, reading it is like having a discussion with the author -- or in this case, the translator -- and much more valuable.