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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

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

  • Commander in chief Kutuzov shows up to review the troops. His posse includes his adjutant, Andrei, (basically his executive assistant) and the Austrian general who is supposed to see why the troops can’t just up and go.
  • Kutuzov is a soldier’s soldier. He’s been in the army forever, and as he walks around the regiment, he talks to a bunch of the officers and even soldiers that he knows from other campaigns. He's super attentive and notices everything – including the boot situation.
  • Andrei walks with some of the other staff officers, one of whom is mocking the regimental commander’s butt-kissing and doing pretty good impressions of the men they pass as they walk. Andrei and his buddies are cracking up.
  • Suddenly, Kutuzov remembers something. Or more like, remembers that he’s supposed to remember something. And Andrei is right in there, doing his awesome secretary stuff, reminding Kutuzov to talk to Dolokhov.
  • From the hints we are supposed to realize that the reason Dolokhov is a foot soldier is that he’s been demoted as punishment for the whole policeman-bear incident.
  • Kutuzov finds him and basically says, well, serves you right. But the deal is that if Dolokhov does some awesome soldiering in the first action they see, he'll gets his officer commission back. That seems pretty fair all in all.
  • Kutuzov drops another hint about this deal to the regimental commander, who tells him that Dolokhov is mostly a great guy, but he's also a bit of a rage-aholic – he has some temper issues. Kutuzov is all, boys will be boys.
  • The soldiers love Kutuzov and can’t stop talking about him and how he’s the best guy ever.  There’s a funny passage of “low class” soldier speech about it.
  • Then the marching singers strike up a marching song, and off the regiment goes.  (It's not quite clear where.)
  • Meanwhile, one of Kutuzov’s posse, a guy who was part of the Dolokhov’s drinking gang but has been totally icing him out, tries to get all buddy-buddy again after Kutuzov talks to Dolokhov.
  • But Dolokhov isn’t having any of it and talks to his ex-friend with the minimum of civility.

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