The wisdom of Kutuzov

by
Count Tolstoy, undated

Leo Tolstoy. Image via Wikipedia

As a 25 year old Army officer, I could not stop reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I was struck by a number of things – too many to go into here – but the point that struck most deeply at the foundations of my knowledge can be best summarized by the following passage:

“Power is the combined wills of the masses, transferred by their express or tacit consent to the rulers chosen by the masses.” I won’t attempt to clarify that statement, but I will say that reading that passage was one of those moments when experience and what I had read combined to leave me to question what I thought I knew of history, and generally how things worked.

I leave it to my readers to comment on what Tolstoy meant and what it means in practical (or philosophical) terms, and am very much interested in what TPS planet believes here.

Kutuzov is a central character in War and Peace, and clearly holds a special place in Tolstoy’s heart. His wisdom lies in the battles that he did not fight, rather than any supposed tactical genius.

Throughout the novel, Kutuzov’s knowledge of himself and his place as a leader is set in clear contrast to Napolean, who neither understood reality, nor himself, nor how to guide his own Army. There are (potentially) leadership lessons in all of this post, but they will only become apparent if they originate from within.

Your thoughts in the comments section would be very much appreciated.

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2 Responses to “The wisdom of Kutuzov”

  1. The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy | Mark Lord's Praeter Naturam: Medieval (Middle Ages) History, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Historical Fiction Says:

    […] The wisdom of Kutuzov (davidrajakovich.wordpress.com) […]

  2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – new Page on Praeter Naturam | Mark Lord's Praeter Naturam: Medieval (Middle Ages) History, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Historical Fiction Says:

    […] The wisdom of Kutuzov (davidrajakovich.wordpress.com) […]

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