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MonkeyNotes-War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
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Part II

Summary

Part I dealt with peace but Part II focuses on war. The Russian troops find themselves on the Austrian soil to encounter Napoleon and his soldiers. Some of the characters that were seen in their homes in the introductory pages of the novel are now in the battlefield. Prince Andrei is an officer under General Kutuzov who is in full command of his army. Kutuzov is happy with Andrei performance and wishes to inform old Prince Bolkonsky about it.

The Russian army march from Brunn to Vienna repulsing the attack of the enemy. However, they fail in their attempt to burn the bridge leading to Vienna. Prince Andrei and his compatriots are ignorant of this fact. Andrei who is in the company of the Austrian General, Schmidt believes that they have overpowered their enemy and succeeded in keeping them at bay. Schmidt loses his life attacking the enemy and Andrei is sent as a messenger to convey the news to the Austrian emperor. Andrei is received well at the Austrian court but does not get the enthusiastic response he had expected from them, when he talks about the valor of the army in the battlefield. Andrei understands their attitude, after he becomes aware of the fact that the Russians had failed to stop Napoleon from entering Vienna and thus, the Austrians were disturbed. Andrei returns back to the battlefield and joins the regiment under Prince Bagration.


Before taking his position on the field, Andrei makes a survey of the whole area. He observes many of the soldiers making merry, unaware of the gravity of the situation. However, when it is time for action, they put up a brave front. Thus, Dolokhov who is blacklisted for his past behavior, fights valiantly and kills a French soldier, while capturing another. Captain Tushin commands his army admirably and repulses the attack of many French soldiers. Nikolai Rostov attacks his enemy with fervor and injures himself in the process. Tushin transports him to a safer place, before Nikolai can be given medical aid. Then he follows Prince Andrei to the camp. Prince Bagration congratulates his army for putting up a brave resistance against the enemy. Andrei informs him about Tushin’s significant contribution in the battle. Tushin in turn mentions about the bravery of Dolokhov. Bagration makes no comments and disappoints both Tushin and Andrei.

Nikolai Rostov waits in agony in the battlefield, as Tushin visits the camp. He indulges in self-pity and fears isolation. The victorious Russian soldiers desire to celebrate their victory, as French troops retrace back their steps. The regiment under Bagration join the troops of Kutuzov.

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