"Several years had passed since 1812." That seems innocent enough, but then for four chapters, Tolstoy turns into the Cosmic version of Herr History Professor. It's interesting but largely inarticulate and repetitive and, well, strange. And yet, I take his point.
My sense is that all of this material could have been dramatically reduced and published elsewhere-- in the modern world, it might have been used as fodder for a "Reader's Guide" on the author's website.