Like Gandhi, who was his equally famous disciple, Tolstoy came to his anarchism by way of a mid-life crisis. For when he was around 50 Tolstoy began to seriously question the meaning of his life. The outcome was a series of books in which Tolstoy began to formulate his anarchist ideas, drawing on some of his earlier experiences — the trauma he experienced in Paris in 1857 when he witnessed with repulsion a public execution, his meeting and discussions with Proudhon in 1861, and the realisation he gained from a serious study of the Bible that the basic teachings of Jesus were absolutely opposed to violence of any kind. The books were My Confession (1881), What I Believe (1884) and What Then Must We Do? (1886). In 1894 Tolstoy published his major work on Christian anarchism The Kingdom of God Is Within You and for the rest of his life continued to write letters, essays and tracts on anarchism. But it is worth noting that because of the association of anarchism with violence and bomb-throwing Tolstoy never in fact came to describe himself as an anarchist. In recent years several anthologies of these writings have been published, the most useful being the collection Government is Violence essays on anarchism and pacifism, edited by David Stephens (1991).
In the introduction of the book, Government is Violence: essays on Anarchism and Pacifism by Leo Tolstoy, it is written, “Tolstoy’s suggested means of attaining anarchy were those that have now become well known as civil disobedience and non-violent direct action... Tolstoy advocates unbending moral resistance to authority.”
Government is Violence - Essays on Anarchism and Pacifism.