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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 1, Part 2, Chapter 17 Summary

  • Andrei sees that the French forces are on the move. Aaargggh! Well, Shmoop says “aaargggh.”  Andrei, on the other hand, stays cool and collected and actually gets pretty pumped up that the battle has started and he might get to be a hero in it somehow.
  • Everyone around him is pumped too.
  • Bagration, Andrei, and a couple other guys ride toward the front. Just then a cannonball lands right near them, killing a soldier on horseback.
  • Bagration is unfazed.  He gets to the front of the Russian cannons, Captain Tushin’s company.
  • Tushin salutes his general but is kind of acting more like a priest than a soldier. It seems like there’s be more to this, but the description just ends with that.
  • Then lots of war stuff happens, Bagration sends detachments this way and that, and generally it sounds like the Russians are having a hard time of it and are being overrun by the French from all sides.
  • Andrei is impressed by Bagration. Instead of panicking or showing fear, the General keeps track of what’s happening and reacts calmly to the battle.  All his decisions are totally forced on him, but he makes everything look like it's part of some bigger plan. Morale goes up every time he comes near.  Officers that are worried and unhappy get cheered up in his presence and even want to show off for him.
  • Now that’s what leadership is all about.

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