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message 1: by Marta (last edited Nov 13, 2017 02:53PM) (new)

Marta (gezemice) | 214 comments Week 3 - oct-15 - oct-21: Book 3, and Book 4 chapters 1-15

Please post your comments about this section of War and Peace.

1. How does Tolstoy compare the leadership of the Russian army versus the leadership of Napoleon? Who does Tolstoy portray as the better general?

2. Why do you think Pierre marries Helene, even though he knows it cannot end well?

3. What do you think of Dolokhov?

message 2: by Marta (new)

Marta (gezemice) | 214 comments I am slowly catching up. Now that I have finished book four, I think I have figured out the major players and the structure of the novel. It is truly about war and peace - contrasts and parallels. He even likens Anna Pavlovna as a hostess to a general on the field - moving around, steering the conversations, ensuring the success. Parties being organized seem to be a central theme of the book, just as preparations for battle.

I was astonished at the utter incompetence and infighting of Russian and Austrian generals at the battle of Austerlitz. I thought Tolstoy was amazing at contrasting the Austrian battle plan's dullness to the proclamation of Napoleon, which was to the point and inspiring to his soldiers. The Russians did not even make an effort to inspire - they were too caught up in their own petty career moves. Tolstoy is saying that a merit-based selection of generals is far superior to that of birth and money.

The humiliation of Princess Marya was cruel, and was foreshadowing the humiliation of the Russian army. Rostov is emerging as a weak and cowardly character, easily influenced due to his pride. Not sure where Pierre and Helene are going, except for disaster.

Andrey Bolkonsky and his father seem to represent what good has remained in the Russian aristocracy - honest, with moral integrity. I am having a feeling he and Pierre will be getting together later.

I am now invested and want to read further. Tolstoy's writing is wonderful - he is such a master of human nature. His sentences flow easily and I don't find anything boring in this book. Long, complicated and unclear where it is going - yes. But every scene is self-contained, insightful and interesting. I am now looking forward to being immersed in this book for quite a while.

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