Summary “War and Peace”

Roman Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” was written in 1863-1869. In order to get acquainted with the novel’s main storylines, we invite students of the 10th grade and everyone who is interested in Russian literature to read War and Peace in a brief summary of chapters and parts online.

“War and Peace” refers to the literary direction of realism: the book describes in detail a number of key historical events, depicts typical for Russian society characters, the main conflict – “the hero and society.” Genre of work novel epic: “War and Peace” includes both signs of the novel, and epic. In the novel Tolstoy touches on many “eternal” themes: love, friendship, fathers and children, the search for the meaning of life, the opposition of war and peace in a global sense, and in the hearts of heroes.

Main characters

Andrei Bolkonsky – Prince, son of Nikolai Andreyevich Bolkonsky, was married

to the little princess Liza. It is in constant search for the meaning of life. Participated in the Battle of Austerlitz. He died of a wound that was sustained during the Battle of Borodino.

Natasha Rostov – the daughter of the Count and Countess of the Rostovs. In the beginning of the novel the heroine is only 12 years old, Natasha is growing up in front of the reader. At the end of the work, he marries Pierre Bezukhov.

Pierre Bezukhov – Earl, son of Count Kirill Vladimirovich Bezukhov. He was married to Helen and Natasha Rostova. He was fond of Freemasonry. Was present on the battlefield during the Battle of Borodino.

Nikolai Rostov is the eldest son of the Count and Countess of the Rostovs. Participated in military campaigns against the French and the Patriotic War. After the death of his father takes care of the family. Married to Marya Bolkonskaya.

Ilya Andreevich Rostov and Natalia Rostova are graphs, parents of Natasha, Nikolay, Vera and Petit. A happy married couple, living in harmony and love.

Nikolai Andreevich Bolkonsky is the prince, Andrei Bolkonsky’s father.

A prominent figure of the Catherine’s epoch.

Marya Bolkonskaya – princess, sister of Andrei Bolkonsky, daughter of Nikolai Andreevich Bolkonsky. Pious girl who lives for her loved ones. She married Nicholas Rostov.

Sonia is the niece of the Count of Rostov. He lives with the Rostovs in charge.

Fyodor Dolohov – at the beginning of the novel he is an officer of the Semenov regiment. One of the leaders of the partisan movement. During the peaceful life he constantly participated in binges.

Vasily Denisov is a friend of Nikolay Rostov, a captain, a squadron commander.

Other characters

Anna Pavlovna Scherer – a maid of honor and an approximate of the Empress Maria Feodorovna.

Anna Mikhailovna Drubetskaya is an impoverished heiress of “one of the best surnames of Russia”, a friend of Countess Rostova.

Boris Drubetskaya is the son of Anna Mikhailovna Drubetskaya. He made a brilliant military career. He married Julie Karagina to improve her financial situation.

Julie Karagina – daughter of Karagina Marya Lvovna, friend of Marya Bolkonskaya. She married Boris Drubetsky.

Kirill Vladimirovich Bezukhov – Earl, father of Pierre Bezukhov, an influential person. After his death, he left a huge fortune to his son.

Marya Dmitrievna Akhrosimova, the godmother of Natasha Rostova, was known and respected in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Peter Rostov is the youngest son of the Count and Countess of the Rostovs. He was killed during the Patriotic War.

Vera Rostov is the eldest daughter of the Count and Countess of the Rostovs. Wife Adolf Berg.

Adolf Karlovich Berg is a German who made a career from a lieutenant to a colonel. First the groom, then the husband of Vera Rostov.

Lisa Bolkonskaya is a little princess, the young wife of Prince Andrey Bolkonsky. She died during childbirth, giving birth to Andrei’s son.

Vasily Sergeevich Kuragin is a prince, a friend of Scherer, a famous and influential socialite in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Occupies an important position at the court.

Elena Kuragina is the daughter of Vasily Kuragin, the first wife of Pierre Bezukhov. A charming woman who liked to shine in the light. She died after an unsuccessful abortion.

Anatol Kuragin – “restless fool”, the eldest son of Vasily Kuragin. Charming and handsome man, dandy, lover of women. Participated in the battle of Borodino.

Ippolit Kuragin – “the deceased fool”, the youngest son of Vasily Kuragin. The complete opposite of his brother and sister, very stupid, everyone sees him as a jester.

Amelie Bourien is a Frenchwoman, a companion of Marya Bolkonskaya.

Shinshin is the cousin of the Countess of Rostov.

Ekaterina Semyonovna Mamontova is the eldest of the three Mamontov sisters, the niece of Count Cyril Bezukhov.

Bagration is a Russian military commander, a hero of the war against Napoleon 1805-1807 and the Patriotic War of 1812.

Napoleon Bonaparte is the Emperor of France.

Alexander I – the emperor of the Russian Empire.

Kutuzov – general-field marshal, commander-in-chief of the Russian army.

Tushin is an artillery captain who distinguished himself in the battle of Shengraben.

Platon Karataev is a soldier of the Absheron Regiment, who embodies all the truly Russian that Pierre met in captivity.

Volume 1

The first volume of “War and Peace” consists of three parts, divided into “peaceful” and “military” blocks of narration and covers the events of 1805. “Peaceful” the first part of the first volume of the work and the initial chapters of the third part describe the social life in Moscow, Petersburg, in the Bald Mountain. In the second part and the last chapters of the third part of the first volume, the author depicts the war of the Russian-Austrian army with Napoleon. The central episodes of the “military” blocks of the narrative are the battle of Shengraben and the Battle of Austerlitz.

From the first, “peaceful” chapters of the novel “War and Peace” Tolstoy acquaints the reader with the main characters of the work – Andrei Bolkonsky, Natasha Rostova, Pierre Bezukhov, Nikolai Rostov, Sonya and others. Through the depiction of the life of various social groups and families, the author conveys the diversity of Russian life in the pre-war period. The “military” chapters display the entire unadorned realism of military operations, further revealing to the reader the characters of the main characters. The defeat of Austerlitz, the concluding first volume, appears in the novel not only as a loss of the Russian troops, but also as a symbol of the collapse of hopes, a coup in the life of most of the main characters.

Read the summary of 1 volume “War and Peace”

Volume 2

The second volume of “War and Peace” is the only “peaceful” one in the whole epic and covers the events of 1806-1811 on the eve of the Patriotic War. In it, “peaceful” episodes of the secular life of heroes are intertwined with the military historical world – the acceptance of the Tilsit armistice between France and Russia, the preparation of Speransky’s reforms.

During the period described in the second volume, important events take place in the life of the heroes, in many ways changing their worldview and views on the world: the return of Andrei Bolkonsky home, his disappointment in life after his wife’s death and the subsequent transformation thanks to the love of Natasha Rostova; Pierre’s enthusiasm for Freemasonry and his attempts to improve the life of the peasants in his estates; the first ball of Natasha Rostov; the loss of Nicholas Rostov; hunting and Christmas in Otradnoye; the unsuccessful abduction of Natasha by Anatol Karagin and Natasha’s refusal to marry Andrei. The second volume ends with the symbolic phenomenon of a comet hanging over Moscow, foreshadowing terrible events in the life of heroes and all of Russia – the war of 1812.

Read the summary of 2 volumes of “War and Peace”

Volume 3

The third volume of War and Peace is devoted to the military events of 1812 and their influence on the “peaceful” life of the Russian people of all classes. The first part of the volume describes the invasion of French troops into the territory of Russia and preparation for the Battle of Borodino. The second part depicts the very Borodino battle, which is the culmination of not only the third volume, but the whole novel. Many central characters of the work intersect on the battlefield, thus underscoring the inseparable connection of the whole people with a common goal – the struggle against the enemy. The third part is devoted to the surrender of Moscow to the French, a description of the fire in the capital, which, according to Tolstoy, happened because of those who left the city, leaving it to their enemies. Here is described the most touching scene of the volume – a meeting between Natasha and the deadly wounded Bolkonsky, who still loves the girl.

A special place in the third volume is occupied by authorial digressions, in which he reflects on the nature of war, the role of commanders-in-chief and ordinary soldiers in it. Tolstoy emphasizes the spontaneity and unpredictability of war, which can not be controlled.

Read the summary of 3 volumes of “War and Peace”

Volume 4

The fourth volume of war and peace covers the events of the Patriotic War of the second half of 1812, as well as the peaceful life of the main characters in Moscow, Petersburg and Voronezh. The second and third “military” units describe the flight of the Napoleonic army from the plundered Moscow, the Battle of Tarutino and the guerrilla war of the Russian army against the French. The “military” chapters are framed by the “peaceful” first and fourth parts, in which the author pays special attention to the aristocracy’s moods regarding military events, its remoteness from public interests.

In the fourth volume, key events take place in the life of the heroes: Nikolai and Marya understand that they love each other, Andrei Bolkonsky and Helen Bezukhova die, Petya Rostov dies, and Pierre and Natasha start to think about the possible joint happiness. However, the central figure of the fourth volume is a simple soldier, a native of the people – Platon Karataev, who acts in the novel as the bearer of all truly Russian. In his words and actions the same simple wisdom of the peasant, people’s philosophy is expressed, over the comprehension of which the main characters of “War and Peace” are suffering.

Read the summary of 4 volumes of “War and Peace”


In the epilogue of the work “War and Peace” Tolstoy sums up the whole novel-epic, depicting the life of heroes seven years after the Patriotic War – in 1819-1820. In their lives there have been significant changes, both good and bad: the marriage of Pierre and Natasha and the birth of their children, the death of Count Rostov and the difficult financial situation of the Rostov family, the wedding of Nicholas and Mary and the birth of their children, the growth of Nikolenka, the son of the deceased Andrei Bolkonsky, in which the character of the father is already clearly visible.

If the first part of the epilogue describes the personal life of the heroes, then the author’s reflections on historical events, the role of a separate historical personality and entire nations in these events are presented in the second. Concluding his arguments, the author comes to the conclusion that the whole history is predetermined by some irrational law of random mutual influences and interrelations. An example of this is the scene depicted in the first part of the epilogue, when the Rostovs are going to a large family: the Rostovs, Bolkonskie, Bezukhov – all of them brought together the same incomprehensible law of historical interrelations – the main acting force directing all the events and fates of heroes in the novel.

Read a brief summary of the epilogue “War and Peace”


In the novel “War and Peace” Tolstoy managed to portray the people skillfully not as different social strata, but as a single whole, united by common values ​​and aspirations. All four volumes of the work, including the epilogue, are connected with the idea of ​​”people’s thought”, living not only in every hero of the work, but in every “peaceful” or “military” episode. It was this unifying thought that became, according to the idea of ​​Tolstoy, the main reason for the victory of the Russians in the Patriotic War.

“War and Peace” is rightfully considered a masterpiece of Russian literature, an encyclopedia of Russian characters and human life in general. The work has been interesting and relevant for modern readers, lovers of history and connoisseurs of classical Russian literature for more than a century. “War and Peace” is a novel that everyone must read.

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Summary “War and Peace”