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If General Petraeus Had Read "War And Peace"

by Hugh Fitzgerald (April 2009)

Even if you have not read War and Peace, you will likely know that the title alerts the reader to the book’s unusual form: it shifts back and forth from the life of Russians, Bolkonskys and Rostovs and other aristocratic families, and at the moral center of this domestic universe, there stands Pierre Bezukhov, whose questioning inquietude makes him the most sympathetic and interesting of the Russians far from the front, while interspersed are the “War” chapters, the war in question being that brought to Russia by Napoleon, who invaded on June 12, 1812, with his 600,000-man Grande Armee. Less than 40,000 of them would return across the Russian border, back to Western Europe. more>>>