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The Guns of August: The Pulitzer…

The Guns of August: The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Classic about the Outbreak… (original 1962; edition 2004)

by Barbara Wertheim Tuchman

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4,112741,223 (4.28)2 / 434
Title:The Guns of August: The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Classic about the Outbreak of World War I
Authors:Barbara Wertheim Tuchman
Info:Presidio Press (2004), Editie: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 640 pagina's
Collections:Your library

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The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman (1962)


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Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
It's conservative in analysis and conclusions, but undeniably a prose masterpiece. ( )
  librarianbryan | Jun 26, 2016 |
Fantastic history of the lead up and first month of WWI. It's almost like watching a movie but even more heart-thumping. I struggled a little bit with following the different army movements in the beginning but by the end, I was frantically turning the page to see what was going to happen. ( )
  ltfitch1 | Jun 5, 2016 |
This book takes off where Christopher Clarks The Sleepwalkers ends.
I used to spend holidays at a small village in the Belgian Ardennes called Ernonheid. On a wall of the former village school the following text is to be found: 'La nuit du 17 au 18 Aout 1914 les Allemands ont incendié 14 maisons' ( = during the night of the 17th until 18th of August 1914 the Germans burned 14 houses). In this book, I hoped to find an answer to my question why the Germans acted with such terror in the early months of the First World War. Tuchman gave several general answers (I didn't expect a specific answer to why this particular village was burned) : one of them was that the Germans wanted to leave as little as possible troops in Belgium, so that they could attack the French with a maximum of force. By using a lot of force on the Belgians, they hoped the Belgians would comply. Well, they didn't... ( )
  yvlind1 | Mar 17, 2016 |
There is a quote toward the end of this book, actually it's in the Afterword, that I believe summarizes very well what we have read in its 524 pages. This is from the French Chief of Intelligence speaking specifically of the Russians attack on the Germans in August 1914 which had come sooner than the Germans anticipated. It became necessary then for the Germans to shift two divisions from the Western Front in Belgium/France to the Eastern Front. In a short time, the Russians lost an entire army in the ensuing battles: "Let us render to our Allies the homage that is their due, for one of the elements of our victory was their debacle." The "Guns of War" is rife with debacle, incredible lapses of common sense and good judgment, disregard for orders, and sometimes, nerve. As is true in all wars. But in this book we are focused on just one month, August 1914. The title is quite literal. Coming into the War, both sides had very different expectations for the eventual outcome, but many on both sides anticipated a quick war. By the end of the month though, it was quite obvious that such was not to be the case.

Tuchman goes into considerable detail for most of the battles fought during that time. We come to know quite well the 6-10 Generals leading the armies of each side. She clearly has her heroes and her disappointments, and she describes them, their strengths, and their weaknesses in detail. She was particularly kind to the Belgians for the efforts and sacrifices both the military and civilians made and suffered to retard the advance of the Germans. She also saluted the French, recognizing that they had the highest losses per capita of the key combatants. She was very critical of Sir John French, first leader of the British Expeditionary Forces, for his frequent reticence to engage in "risky" battles.

Though I rate the book five stars, I encountered a number of disappointments. I wish Tuchman had written more about the circumstances that drew these countries into battle at this particular moment - and no, it was not just the assassination of the Archduke. Consequently, I bought a copy of "The Sleepwalkers" by Clark and will read it next. I recommend against the Guns paperback edition. The reprint of maps is terrible. I know the hardbound is out of print at the moment but if I had it to do over, I would have bought a used copy of it instead. I did buy the DK edition of WWl (coffee table size), with lots of photos and maps - and it provides very good summaries of events subsequent to August 1914 through to the signing of the Treaty; I recommend it highly. I also bought an even larger map book of WWl battles by Neiberg. (All of these books are available from Amazon.) Tuchman used an awful lot of French phrases in side comments, and the meaning in context of many was not clear - this was extremely annoying since I don't parlevous. Bottomline, though more than 50 years old this book is still very good but if you are going to read in depth about the causes, the War, the Treaty, and the Aftermath, you might want to pursue other books. There is just a ton of very excellent stuff out there and much of it has been written since 2000. ( )
  maneekuhi | Jan 23, 2016 |
Since five stars means "it was amazing", I can give this work five stars although I couldn't read it all the way through. Deployment of the troops east, west, through the center, forward push, retreat, retrench, left of here, right of there - I got lost and gave up. But Tuchman's research and incisive writing about the lead-up to actual battle make fascinating reading. ( )
  Jeannine504 | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara W. Tuchmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Massie, Robert K.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The human heart is the starting point of all matters pertaining to war.
--Marechal de Saxe
Reveries on the Art of War (Preface), 1732

The terrible Ifs accumulate.
--Winston Churchill
The World Crisis, Vol. I, Chap. XI
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So gorgeous was the spectacle on the May morning of 1910 when nine kings rode in the funeral of Edward VII of England that the crowd, waiting in hushed and black-clad awe, could not keep back gasps of admiration.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345476093, Mass Market Paperback)

"More dramtatic than fiction...THE GUNS OF AUGUST is a magnificent narrative--beautifully organized, elegantly phrased, skillfully paced and sustained....The product of painstaking and sophisticated research."
Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman has brought to life again the people and events that led up to Worl War I. With attention to fascinating detail, and an intense knowledge of her subject and its characters, Ms. Tuchman reveals, for the first time, just how the war started, why, and why it could have been stopped but wasn't. A classic historical survey of a time and a people we all need to know more about, THE GUNS OF AUGUST will not be forgotten.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:08 -0400)

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A Pulitzer Prize-winning recreation of the powderkeg that was Europe during the crucial first thirty days of World War I traces the actions of statesmen and patriots alike in Berlin, London, St. Petersburg, and Paris: how the war started, why, and why it could have been stopped but wasn't.… (more)

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