War and Peace Saturday: Chapters 297-303

Well, we’re getting there. I’m now in the final stretch as I see it, having reached the 300’s.

Okay, so still not much is really happening, at least that I’m interested in. Napoleon makes an attempt to restore Moscow, but no one listens to him. Then they all march out of there, supposedly to punish the Russians for attacking some of their troops.

We get to follow one real character, though–Pierre, who is a prisoner. While they are camped in Moscow, everyone–fellow prisoners and French officers–all respect him and treat him well, and he is at peace, wishing only for basic comforts. But when they march out the French go back into robotic soldier mode and are pretty brutal to their prisoners.

Then they start telling us about this guy Dolchturov who was an officer in many key battles, but I’m not sure why we’re supposed to care about him at this point.

One interesting thought I had was about Napoleon’s attempt to restore Moscow. He really cared about this place he’s conquered and didn’t just leave it in shambles for the locals to pick up on their own. (Well, technically he did, but that wasn’t his intention). It doesn’t seem like the normal thing a conqueror would do. But it makes sense if you think about it. Napoleon was conquering to expand his empire, not just to punish people, so he wants to keep the nice places fairly nice if his people are going to be occupying them for a while. War was definitely a lot different then than it is now.

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