Kutuzov’s Champions

Day 292 of A Year of War and Peace


In today’s chapter General Kutuzov cannot sleep. Deep into the night he lies in bed thinking about the campaign against the French. While he’s fighting a war against those gallant Gallic warriors he’s also battling his own generals and military staff.

Once again, emboldened by the victory at Tarutino, the Russian generals want to take the fight to the French. They counsel aggressive offensive action. Kutuzov, drawing inspiration from his two champions, time and patience, isn’t convinced. Not yet anyway. He suspects that a mortal blow has been dealt the French way back at the Battle of Borodino but, like Sherlock Holmes, he knows how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data.

So he waits.

While he waits his mind runs through countless contingencies. He possesses the wisdom, however, to ignore them because, as we’ve seen throughout the novel, he understands that prediction within complex systems is a fool’s game.

So he waits.


Often, therefore, reason counsels patience.
Seneca, De Ira

This is the two hundred and ninety second installment in a daily, yearlong, chapter-by-chapter reading devotional and meditation on Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. For more information on this project please read the introduction to the series here.

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