Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 13

Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 13
Photo by Jamison Riley / Unsplash

This post, covering Part 1, Chapter 13, is part of The Slavic Literature Pod’s chapter a day read along of Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate. Learn more about our project here.

Today we see the Commander-in-Chief on the Stalingrad Front undertaking the journey to meet with Chuykov. As the narrator reminds us, “This dangerous journey served no practical purpose, but there was a very real human and moral necessity for it; Yeremenko wasted three days waiting to cross the river,” (p. 52).

As is the case with Tolstoy and Grossman, war is rarely a calculated, perfectly planned endeavor. There are innumerable situations that combine to make such planning nearly impossible. When so much of a battle can be decided by swings of momentum, how do we account for something like morale? Here Grossman explains: it makes no sense and is not practical, but it gives us insight into something human.