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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 3, Part 2, Chapter 39 Summary

  • There is blood, smoke, death, and horror everywhere. Then it starts raining on the dead bodies on the field.
  • The soldiers are becoming horrified and disgusted by what they’re doing. They’re exhausted and hungry. But for some reason they keep going, continuing to load the guns, killing and dying.
  • Slowly the battle dies out, even though one more tiny push from either side would have exterminated the other.
  • The Russians don’t make this effort because they aren’t the attackers in this battle – they are defending Moscow.
  • The French don’t because their morale is destroyed. They’ve suddenly experienced a huge loss in the middle of a campaign that they had been winning handily. They’re also shattered by the idea of an enemy who is just as strong and resolute after half its forces have been killed.

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