Reading for Thursday, 9 April

Tolstoy now turns from novelist to historian again for these next few chapters. As Kutuzov tries to avoid a battle, everything gets a little bit chaotic and disorganised – but it still leads to victory and medals all round.

Still, one can’t help but like the “aerial photography” as Tolstoy suddenly pulls back for another big picture view of the battlefield and shows us all the clockwork mechanisms governing the battle.

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2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 13.7 – Unusual History

  1. It’d be interesting to know just how all these chapters were received when Tolstoy wrote them – it was, of course, at that stage still very recent history, and many of the people whop were involved, as well as the historians of whom Tolstoy is critical, would have been still alive. I can imagine that his approach would have gone down pretty well wth the masses, if not the etsablishment, because its cleary the masses, and not the establishment, who are Tolstoy’s real heroes. I find the descriptions of the battle strategies and what did and didn’t happen sometimes hard to get my head around (partly because I’ve never had much of a head fo war history) – but, at the time Tolstoy as writing this, it must have all been very topical and contemporary, and a very powerful, if controversial, illustration of his views on history.

  2. Well, the Russians are a ‘passionate’ sort, and the battles back in the early 1800’s were probably still much in the minds of everyone – the parents were probably still talking about it by the time Tolstoy wrote his book.

    I imagine there was a lot of criticism – there’d be people who wholly agreed with him, and people who wholly disagreed with him.

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