Well, I hope there’s still more than me reading Book 2 . . .

Actually, to be honest, this is the book where things get difficult.  Book 1 is not so hard.  You realise that Tolstoy really isn’t that difficult to read after all.  There’s lots of intrigue, romance and scandal.  Pierre gets his inheritance, etc.

But Book 2 puts us out on the battlefield.  There are no women to speak of in this Book.  All the  intrigue and romance is gone.

And if that’s what you liked about War and Peace so far, you may well find this a drag to read.

I would say – if you’ve enjoyed Tolstoy’s for character – which is what I hoped that I have been able to draw out in some small way in these comments – then you’ll find no problem with Book 2.  Tolstoy, whether he’s writing about the ballroom or the battlefield, has the same unerring instinct for how humans behave.

But I guess you’ll get to make your own call on that as we go through Book 2.

In the meantime, another apology – I said way back in an earlier comment that Russia was going to fight with the Prussians against France.  I was completely wrong.  Ignore that.

Prussia is actually neutral at this point in time, and Russia is, in fact, joining forces with Austria.

I hope – I’m sure it’ll all make sense as we go along.

Now on to Book 2!


6 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace – A Few Words Before We Continue . . .

  1. Obviously, Tolstoy needed to have access to all the war and action films that we have nowadays. If he had, then he would have realised that you should actually *start* with some fighting, so that people can get in the mood. *Then* you can have a few tea parties.

    After all, that’s what they did in Saving Private Ryan.

    But this idea of expecting us to sit through all the chit-chat – is just not in keeping with our modern generation.

    I mean, if we all thought like Tolstoy, and took this much time to get to the fighting, our country would be destroyed by weapons of mass destruction long before we had a chance to do anything . . .

  2. Nah, if we all took this long to get to fighting it wouldn’t take WMD to destroy us, just dogbert and a couple of escaped lab mice who want to take over the world… (or a handful of polar-bear hugging global warming acolytes, to be very un-PC)

    Oh, apart from having not read anything over the weekend, I’m still here ready to get stuck into book 2!

  3. Heh! Heh! Matt, sometimes wars start ‘because of’ all the silly tea parties and such.

    I wouldn’t doubt that a lot of skirmishes between countries get started because of (indirectly) something that happened at a social event.

    I’m rarin’ to go with Book 2 . . . even though I’m on book 4 already with B & N discussions, I’m enjoying going through your blogs and responses – keeps me caught up.

    Already, I’m much more aware of who is who and why they’re wherever they are . . .

  4. I’m back here this morning, starting Book 2’s blogs and comments, Matt – with a view to re-reading through the thread at B & N on this chapter.

    I just wanted to say that I don’t agree with your comment where you said that Tolstoy might have begun the book with ‘war’ . . .

    QUOTE – Obviously, Tolstoy needed to have access to all the war and action films that we have nowadays. If he had, then he would have realised that you should actually *start* with some fighting, so that people can get in the mood. UNQUOTE

    There are those of us who might be turned off by reading about the war first . . . I think it’s good that he began with the ‘social’ aspect of the people first – gave us a chance to get to know the people who were going to be involved in the war, either directly or indirectly, and to soak up the flavours of the time and place.

    Movies might begin with a bit of background, then go into the war, then go back to the homefront and do a segment on the soiree, etc. But I don’t think it would be any more or less interesting this way.

    Tolstoy knew what he was doing in engaging his readers with the soiree and intriguing glimpses of the people’s lives in their own environment.

    He must have known what he was doing . . . we’re still here, reading him, eh?

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