Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Volume III, Book II, Chapters I-III


Much discussion of strategy and the outcome of the war. It's an interesting discussion boiling down to the argument that all the strategy and decisions made, the battles lost, actually had the function of pulling Napoleon deeper into Russia, which was his undoing. No one would have thought that, and no one would have advised that, but it was ultimately what won the war for the Russians. Once again little decisions and unforeseen ones decide the fate of all.


Not sure of Russian geography, but the troops are closer than ever to Bald Hills. It's clear the old prince is not in his right mind. He received a letter from Andrei, reads it, but still is in denial. The rest of the household is ignorant of anything. The letter is read aloud, and Marya is confused about the geography, so doesn't know the French have passed the river her father says they'll never pass. He's also raving about Poland, which was the battle in 1807. The old prince is frustrated, and no one wants to stand up to him, even though it's clear they're in danger. They explain it away by saying he is preoccupied with new building, but it's clear he's getting more senile. They are sending Alpatych to Smolensk to check things out.


Old Prince Andrei sends Alpatych to Smolensk, after two hours of instruction. He's confused, and trying to remember something. After Alpatych leaves, he picks up the letter from Andrei and only fully at that moment grasps the meaning that the French are a four day march from Smolensk. He immediately starts thinking about that past, and wishes for it all to be over.

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