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War and Peace

War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 1, Part 2, Chapter 15 Summary

  • OK, that’s enough big-picture summary. Now back to the people we know and love. (Well, OK, the people we are sort of acquainted with and like.)
  • Andrei got Kutuzov to let him come to General Bagration’s division and be where the action is.
  • Bagration doesn’t really know what to make of Andrei. He gives him the option of actually going into battle (which he says will happen in a day or two), or taking the easy way out and hanging out at the back of the troops.
  • Andrei chooses the hard way, obviously.
  • He rides out to get the lay of the land and the position of the troops.
  • The duty officer rides out with him and is giddy to be in the company of an aristocrat.
  • They get to an officer mess hall, where there are a bunch of people who are apparently not supposed to be there. Why? It’s hard to tell.
  • But whatever – one of the people in the mess is Captain Tushin, who is chillaxing barefoot. The duty officer yells at him, but he kind of shrugs it off.
  • Andrei really likes him for some reason.
  • After eating, Andrei ditches the duty officer and rides off to see the rest of the troops alone.
  • The closer he gets to the front, the more orderly and less chaotic the troops are.
  • Then Andrei gets to the frontline itself. And here we get the weirdest ever reality check about how wars were fought in the 19th century.
  • Are you ready? Get this: the Russian soldiers are so close to the French soldiers here that they’re just standing around and talking to each other. That’s just crazy.
  • Andrei sees Dolokhov (the guy from the bear and policeman party, who got a huge demotion for that stunt) arguing with a French guy about whose army is better.  It’s like two sports teams trash talking. Only, you know, with fewer points scored and more dead people.