2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Truth is Stranger than Fiction,
This review is from: Russia Against Napoleon: The True Story of the Campaigns of War and Peace (Paperback)"Russia Against Napoleon: The True Story of the Campaigns of War and Peace" is a surprisingly great book. Dominic Lieven, like Thucydides of The History of the Peloponnesian War, de-mythologizes the long war between Napoleon and the Russian Empire. Lieven sees Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" as primarily a patriotic propaganda work rather than a historical one, that indulges in hero-worship of the father figure Czar Alexander I. He distinguishes the position of the Czar from that of Western monarchs, explores serfdom, and the typical soldier's life. For example, soldiers' widows weren't allowed to legally remarry;this explains Princess Lisa's hysteria (and eventual death in childbirth) when she is led to believe that her husband Prince Andrei died at Austerlitz. Lieven discusses the importance of the icon of the Virgin Mary of Smolensk; considering Tolstoy's attitude towards women&the Russian Orthodox Church, the scene of Gen. Mikhail Kutuzov&the Russian army paying humble homage to the icon is emotionally loaded. In "War and Peace",Nikolai Rumyantsev, the foreign minister, parties with the wicked Helene Kuragin- Lieven shows that while Rumyantsev was wrong about Napoleon, he was right about foreign exploration. Port Rumyantsev, established in 1812 during the conflict with Napoleon.... is now the little oceanside town of Bodega Bay.
"Russian Against Napoleon" shows the follow-up to the Battle of Borodino and the burning of Moscow. The Battle of Leipzig, where Wittgenstein (as in Pytor Kristianich, not Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir) distinguished himself, was decisive in turning back Napoleon's tide of conquest. After that, Czar Alexander I and the Russian Army engaged in #OccupyParis. Alexander made sure that lawfulness was maintained in Paris, that it wouldn't descend into disorder like Moscow had.
"Russia Against Napoleon" shows that truth is stranger than fiction.