Reading for Friday, 23 January
I haven’t done much background research on this (actually, I haven’t done any), but chapters like these make me wonder whether there were specific historians that Tolstoy was taking a sledgehammer to when he wrote this.
I found it a little bit hard to grasp the details of this chapter (especially when the text refers to a map that I presume was in the originally published version but is nowhere to be seen in my translation), but either way the point is made that this particular battle caught everyone by surprise and that the Russians weren’t expecting it.
The only thing is, I’m a bit confused because at the beginning of the chapter, Tolstoy says that it was obvious to everyone that if the French attacked, they would move closer to losing their army, and if the Russians fought, they would move closer to losing Moscow. So from there, he reasons that Kutuzov and Napoleon fought with no rational plan.
Really? I’m sure they must have had something run through their mind. Oh well . . . we’ll see how it all pans out, I guess.