Where BOOK 1 began with a dinner party and how society interacts, BOOK 2 begins with the military and what goes on there. There isn’t too much difference, to be honest. The first couple times I read this novel I did not like Dolokhov , and though I still don’t, I have come to understand him better. He’s a very clever man, but without compassion, an extreme version of the elder Bolkonsky.
This chapter could only have been written by someone who was actually in the military. The order to review the troops as they marched is, of course, interpreted to mean in parade uniform, which is exactly what the General does not want, but because every other time there is a review it’s in your best uniform. The reason for this the troops don’t know because they never know the why of anything.
This is the last chapter of book 1 and it contrasts to the opening party. Here there is no fake society, all the feeling are genuine, nothing is held back, and it’s very touching. Even the father, hard as he is, you can tell how much he loves his son, but also how he desires hos son to keep the family name good; the father is very concerned with legacy because it’s all he has since he has no faith.