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Tolstoy On WarNarrative Art and Historical Truth in “War and Peace”$
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Rick McPeak and Donna Tussing Orwin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801448980

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801448980.001.0001

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War and Peace from the Military Point of View

War and Peace from the Military Point of View

(p.98) 7 War and Peace from the Military Point of View
Tolstoy On War

Donna Tussing Orwin

Cornell University Press

This chapter evaluates the reactions of military personnel towards War and Peace on its publication in the nineteenth-century. While praising Leo Tolstoy's unrivaled understanding of the psychology of the Russian army and his portrait of Russian everyday life, critics attacked his theory of history and especially his military theory. General Mikhail Dragomirov, the author of the most extensive review of War and Peace, castigated Tolstoy's take on strategy, tactics, and logistics. In different ways, Tolstoy's military readers objected to his historical determinism and especially to his denial of the possibility of control of the battlefield. The chapter also explores an important limitation in the perspective of the military readers and defends an aspect of Tolstoy's psychology that they rejected as harmful to their task as soldiers.

Keywords:   military readers, War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, Russian army, military theory, Mikhail Dragomirov, historical determinism

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