© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Epilogue, Part 1, Chapter 3 Summary

  • Tolstoy sums up the war of 1812 like this: first a huge group of people moved from west to east and then from east to west.
  • Also, a man who came from nowhere somehow rose through the ranks to take control of the army, then escaped the dissolving government in France by invading Africa, then got a bunch of armies that could have resisted him to surrender instead, then finally got put at the head of the French government. (If you hadn’t guessed, he’s talking about Napoleon.)
  • In this version of the story, none of this is part of Napoleon’s plan – he’s just the right guy at the right time in the right place.
  • Tolstoy is saying that it isn't Napoleon's grand plan that makes the war happen – he is just the most visible figure while it is happening. But we, who always want to find the most awesome guy in the pack, decide that he’s a genius and treat him accordingly.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...