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War and Peace

War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 3, Part 1, Chapter 11 Summary

  • Andrei is invited to sit in on Emperor Alexander's non-council meeting. It’s basically the meeting from hell, as everybody there has his own agenda and doesn’t care about trying to get along with anyone else.
  • A general gets up and starts demonstrating his own campaign idea, which is totally unrelated to what is actually happening with the army.
  • Pfuel snarkily answers this by saying that clearly they don’t need him anymore.
  • Others start asking Pfuel questions about his plan, and he methodically and sarcastically goes over every detail.
  • Andrei feels for Pfuel, who seems like the only guy there who isn’t just out for himself.  Also, he’s the only one who doesn’t seem to be petrified of Napoleon. 
  • The argument keeps going, and eventually they’re just yelling and calling each other names.
  • Andrei, meanwhile, is having some deep thoughts about military power and strategy. He decides that since everything in the army is actually chaotic and random, the best general is a brave, self-assured fool like Bagration.
  • The next day Alexander asks Andrei where he wants to serve. Andrei says he wants to go into the army, and with that, his potential career at court is over.

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