Leo Tolstoy was born into wealth in Russia in 1828. After joining the army in 1851, he began writing. The Crimean War awoke his sense of patriotism, and his stories made him popular. He married, opened a school, and ultimately renounced his way of life, feeling the deep inequities between the social classes. Though authorities tried to discredit him, he remained a well-respected writer until his death in 1910.