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War and Peace

War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 4, Part 3, Chapter 1 Summary

1812

  • You can guess what’s coming now, right? Another Chapter 1, another chance for Tolstoy to stick it to traditional historians.
  • This time it’s about the weird paradox of war. Armies might be big, but in reality, they’re just tiny fractions of the resources and manpower of any given country. So why is it that when an army wins, the whole country gets power over a conquered loser? And why is it that when an army loses, its whole country is supposed to just submit to the winner?
  • Bizarre, right?
  • But in 1812, Kutuzov simply stopped following the rules.
  • For example, the battle of Borodino, according to the rules, was won by the French. They got to stay on the battlefield while the Russians retreated, so that makes them the winners.
  • And yet, by winning, they actually totally lost. That’s some crazy reverse warfare right there.

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