So I’ve never liked reading. I like writing. reading? Not so much. I hate books as soon as I read the first words on principle. Partly because reading is hard for me. So maybe that’s what’s wrong with reading August 1914 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
Plot: Primarily following Colonel Vorotyntsev, a General Staff officer sent by the Grand Duke‘s (supreme commander, Russian Army) headquarters to the Russian Second Army invading East Prussia under command of General Alexander Samsonov. Distances were so great, communications so poor, and the Russian Army so badly prepared for war, Voroyntsev was sent to find out all he could about conditions at the front and then report back to the Grand Duke. By August 26, the opening day of the 4-day Battle of Tannenberg, Vorotyntsev comes to realize that he cannot return to his headquarters in time to make any difference in the outcome of the battle, and stays with the Second Army to help out where he is able to. There are numerous side plots involving other characters, both on the battlefield and elsewhere, fill out this great historical novel.
I did actually enjoy this book, (I swear). the characters felt human, their struggles genuine and the actual battles felt very real. given it’s set in the first world war, a lot of the ‘battles’ involve a lot of waiting through bomb shell attacks.
my problems with the book is just…it’s weird. while it mostly follows Vorotyntsev, but the beginning of the two follows characters never brought up again. some chapters randomly come back to Moscow and are very political. I can’t tell if this book has way too many plot lines, something very normal for the time it was writing, or if I’m too dumb.
Either way, I really did mostly enjoy with book, it was confusing with its plotlines but I loved the way it’s creates these environments and these people.