This is a short but very powerful chapter. We feel for Pierre and those executed. What I think puts Tolstoy light years ahead of the competition is that he acknowledges the suffering of the French solders who participated in the execution:
“…the sound as of a frightful explosion struck his ear, and at the same moment he saw smoke, blood, and the pale, scared faces of the Frenchmen who were again doing something by the post, their trembling hands impeding one another. Pierre, breathing heavily, looked around as if asking what it meant. The same question was expressed in all the looks that met his. On the faces of all the Russians and of the French soldiers and officers without exception, he read the same dismay, horror, and conflict that were in his own heart. “But who, after all, is doing this? They are all suffering as I am. Who then is it? Who?” flashed for an instant through his mind.”
Compassion for the other guy? Now that’s really something.