Friday, October 13, 2006

Tolstoy on War

I continue to progress in War and Peace and am drifting into the battles in 1812. (Book 10) Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of this very long book was something I was reading last night. Tolstoy, as I think I have stated before, is a bit too detailed in my taste in his penchant for describing every person who is in a room and every language that they use. But he is an apt observer when it comes to describing the behavior of people. In the chapter I read last night, he gives a long description of the various approaches that Tsar Alexander's generals took to making war - some on theory, some on instinct, some on trying to curry favor either with other generals or with the Tsar. In the end he makes a wry comment that the real motivation of the largest group of generals and advisors in helping on the war was for one of three things "rubles, crosses (decorations) and promotions."

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