Summary of “War and Peace” by Tolstoy

Summary of “War and Peace” by Tolstoy


1805 year, St. Petersburg.

At the invited party in the house of the maid of honor Scherer all the nobility of Petersburg gathered. During the general conversation, it comes to Napoleon, and all the guests are split into two camps – some, including the hostess, are opposed to him, while others, including Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of the wealthy Moscow nobleman, and Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, admire Napoleon.

Bolkonsky dreams of the glory that Napoleon won, and therefore is going to war. And Pierre Bezukhov has not yet decided on his future, and while spending his time in the company of St. Petersburg’s rakes, in which the factory is Fedor Dolokhov. Another outburst of young people leads to the fact that Pierre is being expelled from St. Petersburg, and Dolokhov is deprived of an officer’s rank and sent to the army as a soldier.

Moscow. House of Count Rostov. A dinner for the name-day of the wife and daughter of the Count.

While in the house of the Rostovs, where all the children of the Count are gathered – Nikolai, who dreams of going to war with Napoleon, Natasha, Petya, Vera, the elder daughter, who does not take part in the general merriment, as well as the relative of the Rostov Sonia, celebrate, in the house of Count Bezukhov – the owner dies, and the real hunt for the Count’s testament begins, according to which his whole condition passes to Pierre. The distant relatives of Bezukhovs, including Prince Kuragin, are trying to steal the will, but this is hindered by Anna Mikhailovna Drubetskaya. As a result, all the wealth goes to Pierre, he becomes a count, enters the higher Petersburg society and marries daughter Kuragina – Helen.

The Bolkonsky Manor, Bald Mountains.

Here lives Andrei’s father – Nikolai Andreevich and his sister Mary. The elder Bolkonsky lives on an adjusted schedule, to which he is trying to accustom his daughter. And he is not very happy with the fact that this schedule will have to be changed, since a new man appears in the house – Prince Andrew, going to war, left his pregnant wife Lisa in the estate.

Autumn of 1805.

The Russian army retreats to Austerlitz to join forces with the Allied forces – the army of Austria and Prussia. Commander-in-Chief Kutuzov aspires in every way to avoid the participation of his army in the battle, since he believes that she is not ready for this. In order to gain time,



he sends the detachment of Bagration to meet the French, and, in addition, concludes a truce with French Marshal Murat.

In the battle takes part and Junker Nikolai Rostov. During the battle, a horse is killed under him, he is wounded in his hand, and, seeing that the French are approaching him, he throws a pistol in them and runs away. But nobody sees this, Nikolai was awarded the St. George Cross for participating in the battle, and tells his comrades how he fought bravely with the enemy.

Under Austerlitz, the Russian army is nevertheless forced to fight the French. Different feelings overwhelm all the characters. Prince Andrew awaits the battle with impatience, dreaming of heroism and glory, but Kutuzov on the military council before the battle does not show any interest in the upcoming battle, predicting in advance that it will be lost, since the army – and not only the Russian, but also the army of allies – it is not ready for him. The battle took place on the anniversary of the coronation of Napoleon, he confidently threw his troops ahead. But in the Allied army, panic immediately arose, Russian soldiers, seeing the French too close, fled from them.

Bolkonsky performs a feat – with a banner in his hands he carries soldiers along, but almost immediately the wounded man falls. He lies on the battlefield and thinks about how small all his former dreams of fame and heroism were. In the same place, on the battlefield, he is seen by Napoleon, in which Andrew, too, was disappointed. Napoleon orders to take Bolkonsky to the dressing station and leaves him along with other seriously wounded local residents.

Summary of the second volume

On vacation to his father’s house comes Nikolai Rostov, along with his friend and commander Vasily Denisov. In Moscow, everyone considers him to be a real hero, including his new acquaintance, Dolokhov, who asks Nicholas to become a second in his duel with Pierre. In St. Nicholas falls in love with Sonya and refuses to make her an offer to Dolokhov. Dolokhov goes to the army, and before that he plays cards for a large sum of Nikolai. Nikolai confesses to his father that he lost, and he collects the right amount, and Nicholas, having given his debt, goes to the army. Denisov returns to the same place after, having fallen in love and making an offer to Natasha Rostova, receives a refusal from her.

December 1805 year. Bald mountains.

Here comes Prince Kuragin along with his son Anatol. Kuragin wants to marry his son favorably, and Princess Mary seems to him the best option. The old prince Bolkonsky is not happy about this visit, since he does not want to part with his daughter, and does not respect the Kuragins very much. But Mary, on the contrary, is very excited about this visit. But she accidentally sees Anatole hugging her companion m-lle Bourien, and denying him.

Old Prince Bolkonsky receives a letter from Kutuzov, which describes the feat of Andrew and says that he died during the battle. But at the same time Kutuzov writes that Andrei’s bodies were not found on the battlefield, so the prince hopes that his son is alive. His hope is destined to come true – Andrew returns exactly the night when his wife gives birth. During childbirth, Lisa dies, and Bolkonsky feels guilty before his wife.

Pierre Bezukhov, too, does not experience happiness in marriage. He is tormented by suspicions about the connection between his wife and Dolokhov – he receives an anonymous letter, in which it is directly stated. Quarreling because of this with Dolohov, he calls him to a duel and hurts, although he had never held a pistol in his hands. Explaining after the duel with Helen, Pierre leaves Moscow for Petersburg, and she leaves a power of attorney to manage most of her fortune.

On the way to St. Petersburg Pierre meets with the mason Bazdeev and on arrival enters the Masonic lodge. He is bursting with the desire to change the life of the peasants, and Pierre goes to his estate near Kiev, where he begins all sorts of reforms. But the good result of the reforms was not achieved – Pierre does not know anything about the management of the estate, and he is deceived by the manager. Pierre returns home, and on the way he calls on Andrei Bolkonsky’s estate in Bogucharovo, who, after the battle of Austerlitz, was so disappointed in his ideals that he decided to give up military service. Andrei seems generally disappointed in everything – his whole life is focused on his son.

Together with Andrew Pierre goes to the Bald Mountains, and on the way tells him about his new views on life. And it is this conversation that helps Andrei to understand that life goes on. He successfully conducts the reforms that Pierre tried to accomplish on his estate. Going on business to the estate of the Rostovs, he meets Natasha. On the eve of the New Year, the Rostovs go to the ball, which was the first “adult” ball for Natasha. There she dances with Bolkonsky, who after the ball makes her an offer. The Rostovs accept the offer, but the old prince Bolkonsky insists that the wedding take place only after a year. Andrei leaves abroad.

Nikolay Rostov comes on vacation to his father’s estate in Otradnoye. He feels that he loves Sonia, which he announces to his parents. But those are not happy with this recognition – they dream of a more profitable marriage for their son.

Natasha and her father go to the Bolkonsky to the Moscow house, but they are not very friendly to them – the prince does not like the youth of his son’s bride, and Princess Mary is forced to do as her father says. In the opera, Natasha meets Anatol Kuragin, who begins to pursue her, talking about his love, throwing letters with confessions and suggestions secretly marry. Natasha decides to escape with Anatole, and only the intervention of Sonya and Princess Mary help prevent this act. Arrived Pierre tells Natasha that Anatole is already married. Natasha sends Princess Marya a letter, in which she refuses to marry Andrei. Andrew, arriving from abroad, learns about Natasha’s novel with Kuragin. Pierre admits to Natasha that if she were worthy of her, she would ask her hands.

Summary of the third volume

June of the year 1812. War begins with the French, led by Napoleon.

Prince Andrew serves at Kutuzov’s headquarters, but when he learns of the beginning of the war, he asks to be transferred to the army. Nikolai Rostov still serves in the Pavlograd Hussar Regiment, which retreats from Poland to the Russian borders. Once his squadron met with the French dragoons, Nicholas captured one of them, for which he received the St. George Cross.

The Rostov family lives in Moscow. Natasha is ill, but attending church service, and especially one of the prayers (“Let’s pray to the Lord”) makes such a strong impression on her that she gradually begins to return to life. Petya Rostov asks his father to allow him to go to the army, but his father does not agree – Petya is too small for war. But Petya is very persistent – and the Count still decides to learn how to fulfill the request of his son and at the same time make it so that he was safe.

Old Prince Bolkonsky lives with his daughter on his estate, where he refuses to leave, despite his son’s letters with requests to go to Moscow. The prince sends to Moscow all his domestic, including Andrei’s son Nikolenka, and he himself remains in the Bald Mountains, along with Princess Mary, who refuses to leave her father. Soon a prince strikes, paralyzed, transported to Bogucharovo, where he dies after three weeks, asking for forgiveness before his daughter before his death. After the death of her father, Princess Mary decides to go to Moscow, but the peasants do not let her out of Bogucharova, and only the interference of Nicholas Rostov, who happened to be there, helps her to leave the estate.

Before the battle of Borodino, Pierre Bezukhov comes to the army, wishing to see with his own eyes what will happen there. During the battle, Prince Andrew receives a fatal wound, and at the dressing station on the next bunk sees a man who was looking for a long time, wishing to take revenge – Anatoly Kuragin, who at that moment amputated his leg.

During the battle, Pierre is on the Rayevsky battery, where he provides all possible assistance to the soldiers. But he is terrified of what he saw and therefore leaves the battlefield, walking on foot in the direction of Mozhaisk.

After the battle, the Russian army retreats to the Philae. At the council, Kutuzov gives an order for further retreat, realizing that the army can not defend Moscow. The French are entering Moscow. Napoleon on Poklonnaya Hill is waiting for a delegation of Russians with keys from the city, but they tell him that there is no one in Moscow. Fires in the city are everywhere.

The Rostovs, along with all the nobles leaving Moscow, give part of their supplies to the wounded. Among them was Andrei Bolkonsky. Natasha learns about this and begins to look after him. Pierre remains in Moscow, dreaming to kill Napoleon. But he is arrested by French lancers.

The summary of the fourth volume

And in St. Petersburg, life is still the same – lunched dinners, balls, evenings. The news comes that Moscow is abandoned, and Alexander decides to himself to lead his army. Kutuzov refuses to conclude peace with the French. Alexander insists on the battle of Tarutino.

Kutuzov receives news that the French left Moscow. From this moment, the French retreat outside of Russia begins, and now Kutuzov’s goal is to keep his army from unnecessary attacks on the melting French army. Kutuzov refuses to lead the army, as soon as troops cross the border of the country. He was awarded the Order of St. George of the 1st degree.

In Voronezh, Nikolai Rostov meets Princess Mary. He wants to marry her, but he is held back by the word given to Sonya. And then he receives from Sony a letter written at the insistence of Countess Rostova, in which she writes that he is free from the word given to her.

Princess Mary goes to Yaroslavl, where the Rostovs live, having learned that Andrei is with them. But she comes already at a time when Andrew is close to death. The common grief brings Natasha closer to the princess.

Pierre Bezukhov was sentenced to death, but on the orders of Marshal Davout, he, already brought to the place of execution, is left alive. As a prisoner, he moves along with the French army along the Smolensk road, where a detachment of detachments is being beaten off by partisans from the French. In this battle, Petya Rostov, who had arrived to the partisans from the headquarters of the German general, was dying with a proposal for unification.

The patient Pierre is brought to Orel, where he learns the latest news about his loved ones – his wife is dead, and Prince Andrew was after the injury alive for a month, but then died too. Pierre comes to Moscow in Princess Marye to express her condolences. There he meets Natasha, so withdrawn in herself that she does not notice anything around – and only the news of her brother’s death saves her. Meeting with Pierre, conversations with him induce in her soul a new feeling – a feeling of love for this person.

A brief epilogue

In the intervening time, much has changed – Natasha married Pierre, they have 4 children, the old Count Rostov has died, Nikolai Rostov married Princess Mary, and skillfully runs her estates. Pierre becomes a member of a secret society. During the conversation between Nicholas and Pierre about the future of Russia there is also the son of Andrei Nikolenka, who, like his father in his time, begins to dream of fame.

The Russian army retreats to Austerlitz to join forces with the Allied forces – the army of Austria and Prussia. Commander-in-Chief Kutuzov aspires in every way to avoid the participation of his army in the battle, since he believes that she is not ready for this. In order to gain time, he sends the detachment of Bagration to meet the French, and, in addition, concludes a truce with French Marshal Murat.



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Summary of “War and Peace” by Tolstoy