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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 1, Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary

  • After the review, Kutuzov and the Austrian general try to out-polite each other and see who can be the most passive-aggressive while seemingly only doing the other person favors. After you! No, after you!  Then they both smash into the door.
  • Basically the gist of their back-and-forth is that the Austrian general wants the Russian troops at the front immediately to back up General Mack.  Not only that, but once they get there Kutuzov is supposed to let Mack be in charge too.
  • But both the Austrian and Kutuzov are kind of hearing rumors that maybe everything isn’t going so great with the Mack, and Kutuzov keeps rubbing it in through innuendo.
  • After some more diplomacy, Kutuzov sends Andrei to go write a memo summarizing all the intel they have about Mack and the Austrian army.
  • Andrei is psyched because he and Kutuzov now know each other well enough that he can pick up on his hints.  It turns out that Kutuzov and Prince Bolkonsky (Andrei’s dad) are good friends and old army buddies.
  • Just as Andrei is starting to get things together, a bandaged man in black suddenly shows up at headquarters.
  • It’s General Mack. Surprise, surprise.
  • His army’s been totally decimated by Napoleon, but he escaped with a head wound.
  • It gets crazy as this news sinks in.
  • Andrei is freaking out about the awesome genius of Napoleon and totally can’t wait to get into battle.
  • He runs into his officer buddies, who are joking around about Mack’s defeat. Their attitude infuriates Andrei to no end, and he lets them have it for being idiots. Actually he has this great line: “we’re either officers serving our tsar and fatherland, and rejoice in our common successes and grieve over our common failures, or we’re lackeys, who have nothing to do with their masters’ doings” (2.3.57).  Oh, snap!
  • He kind of expects his friends to react to this, but they just walk away.

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