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The proud tower: a portrait of the world…
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The proud tower: a portrait of the world before the war, 1890-1914 (1966)

by Barbara W. Tuchman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Coming of the Great War (1)

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English (21)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I I decided to rereade Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August. However, as I was going through my non-fiction shelves I came across this book, that I read 45 years ago in a college history class, and decided that this one, talking about the world in the twenty years before the war began, needed to be read first. Here Tuchman discusses the burning issues of those times - issues that have largely disappeared from today's politics: the beginning of the loss of exclusive political power by the aristocracy, the appeal of anarchism, the turning of the United States from an isolationist to an expansionist imperialistic power, the Dreyfus trial, the distressing growth of the popularity of Nietzsche's philosophy of the "superman" in Germany (and it's artistic expression through the music of Richard Strauss), the rise and splintering of socialism and the somewhat cynical beginnings of a League of Nations-type of organization to arbitrate disputes between countries without resorting to war.

Tuchman spins her tale out in an almost novelistic writing style which makes the more than a little complicated political machinations of the time easy to understand. As I got deeper and deeper into the book, I could almost hear the drumbeat and call to arms starting that would, in the end, explode into a cataclysmic four years of slaughter in 1914. This book is well worth a read right now. ( )
1 vote etxgardener | Jul 9, 2014 |
The chapter about Richard Strauss is the best part of the book. ( )
  christineplouvier | Apr 20, 2014 |
Ms Tuchman seems to be a WWI specialist, and this is a competent companion to her "The Guns of August". The book is well written and so many Americans have little grasp that the rest of the world exists, it is a pleasure to find this attempt to cure that. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Sep 30, 2013 |
This is a hard read, but it paints a great picture of an era that is every bit as complicated and out of control as our own seems to be. Tuchman is a first-class writer of the history of this period. In this volume, she provides a deep-woven tapestry of the people and events that ushered the world from the 19th century into the completely new world of the modern era. ( )
1 vote hmskip | Jan 12, 2013 |
Really a great book. Tuchman presents various segments of societies during the period of 1890-1914. Initially I thought the book only covered Europe. However, I was incorrect. Tuchman includes England, the U. S., France, Germany, the Hague Conferences, as well as discussing Socialists and Anarchists. There is also a chapter on art and philosophy of the period. The latter chapter #6--- Neroism is in the Air, I did not 'get' at all. I did not grasp what she was going for. As a result, I just glossed over it (something I never do).

The book is a bit long, almost 550 pages. In my opinion it is worth plowing through for the insights it provides. If you are intersted in WWI, this work gives you some fine background on what was going on in the world which contributed to the outbreak of that war. ( )
2 vote douboy50 | Jan 1, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara W. Tuchmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down.

-- From"The City in the Sea"
Edgar Allan Poe
Dedication
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The last government in the Western world to possess all the attributes of the aristocracy in working condition took office in England in June of 1895.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345405013, Paperback)

"The diplomatic origins, so-called, of the War are only the fever chart of the patient; they do not tell us what caused the fever. To probe for underlying causes and deeper forces one must operate within the framework of a whole society and try to discover what moved the people in it."
--Barbara W. Tuchman
The fateful quarter-century leading up to the World War I was a time when the world of Privilege still existed in Olympian luxury and the world of Protest was heaving in its pain, its power, and its hate. The age was the climax of a century of the most accelerated rate of change in history, a cataclysmic shaping of destiny.
In The Proud Tower, Barbara Tuchman concentrates on society rather than the state. With an artist's selectivity, Tuchman bings to vivid life the people, places, and events that shaped the years leading up to the Great War: the Edwardian aristocracy and the end of their reign; the Anarchists of Europe and America, who voiced the protest of the oppressed; Germany, as portrayed through the figure of the self-depicted Hero, Richard Strauss; the sudden gorgeous blaze of Diaghilev's Russian Ballet and Stravinsky's music; the Dreyfus Affair; the two Peace Conferences at the Hague; and, finally, the youth, ideals, enthusiasm, and tragedy of Socialism, epitomized in the moment when the heroic Jean Jaurès was shot to death on the night the War began and an epoch ended.
"Tuchman [was] a distinguished historian who [wrote] her books with a rare combination of impeccable scholarship and literary polish. . . . It would be impossible to read The Proud Tower without pleasure and admiration."
--The New York Times
"Tuchman proved in The Guns of August that she could write better military history than most men. In this sequel, she tells her story with cool wit and warm understanding, eschewing both the sweeping generalizations of a Toynbee and the minute-by-minute simplicisms of a Walter Lord."
--Time

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:54 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In The Proud Tower, Barbara Tuchman concentrates on society rather than the state. With an artist's selectivity, Tuchman brings to vivid life the people, places, and events that shaped the years leading up to the Great War: the Edwardian aristocracy and the end of their reign; the anarchists of Europe and America, who voiced the protest of the oppressed; Germany, as portrayed through the figure of the self-depicted hero, Richard Strauss; the sudden gorgeous blaze of Diaghilev's Russian Ballet and Stravinsky's music; the Dreyfus Affair; the two peace conferences in The Hague; and, finally, the youth, ideals, enthusiasm, and tragedy of socialism, epitomized in the moment when the heroic Jean Jaures was shot to death on the night the War began and an epoch ended.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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