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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kaiser's Diabolical Plot to Seize Texas
Like the World War Two Enigma saga, the Zimmerman Telegram is a story that arguably gains even more relevance than ever before in today's information age. In short, in 1917 British intelligence leaked to the United States the fact that German's Foreign Office was plotting to co-opt Mexico into World War One on the side of the Central Powers, using as an inducement the...
Published on June 13 2004 by Matherson

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars ok, three and three quartes stars and a tuchman "must-read"
first of all...i am a deep tuchman fan and am in the process of reading everything she has written.
i loved the whole drama behind the telegram and it is to the author's credit that so much insightful information could find its way into her story.
the main problem i had with this book is that sometimes, it went into too many details that were designed to...
Published on Dec 9 2001 by jojojo@netvision.net.il


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kaiser's Diabolical Plot to Seize Texas, June 13 2004
Like the World War Two Enigma saga, the Zimmerman Telegram is a story that arguably gains even more relevance than ever before in today's information age. In short, in 1917 British intelligence leaked to the United States the fact that German's Foreign Office was plotting to co-opt Mexico into World War One on the side of the Central Powers, using as an inducement the prospect of regaining territories lost to America during the Mexican War of 1846. It was this revelation, and not unrestricted submarine war, that triggered Wilson's declaration of war against Germany. Tuchman weaves a story that takes us from Japan (which also harbored ambitions of annexing American territory), through North America and over to London, where Room 40's codebreakers discovered the Kaiser's diabolical plot to seize Texas and then agonized over how and whether to tell Washington. Particularly amusing are the stories of Count Johann von Bernstorff, the German ambassador to America, a notorious ladies' man whose influence the French and British successfully undermined using pictures of the Count with two young swimsuit-clad women.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fewer but stronger words I always say, Oct. 9 2013
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
I came to learn about the Zimmerman Telegram in a sort of backward way; I learned about it in a German history class at school.

It was interesting but not until I saw that there was a Barbara Tuchman book (author of "The Guns of August") did I decide to dive in a little deeper.

You will be intrigued and find that even though the main subject of the book is the Zimmerman Telegram that it is the various people involved that makes the story come to life.

"The Americans were always calling upon the Monroe doctrine as if it was some sort of covenant established by God, giving them rights over the rest of the hemisphere. Wilhelm believed that if God were going to play favorites He would choose Germany."
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4.0 out of 5 stars A golden nugget of history, Feb. 1 2004
By 
Adi Lachman (Israel) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I've first learned of the Zimmermann Telegram from "The Code Book" by Simon Singh (highly recommended itself), and looked for more information on the story; Barbara Tuchman's "The Zimmerman Telegram" filled in the details job splendidly. The buildup is suspenseful, the characters are colorfully drawn, and the settings are well detailed. Tuchman skillfully puts the reader in the minds of those involved, allowing you to understand their mindset and identify with their emotions. This is indeed much closer to a mystery novel than to a regular history book, and it is a better read for it.
There are a few small things I felt that marred full enjoyment. These are minor issues indeed, but worth noting. The first is that while most of the book reads as a Novel, as I've mentioned above, in a few occasions it feels as though you can feel Tuchman's voice herself giving her personal opinion (as an historian) on characters in the story. This is not a problem in and of itself, but it doesn't fit with the general mood of the book, so it seems out of place. Another point is that a few important issues were not sufficiently detailed (at least in my view): For instance, the agreement between the US and Germany about the surfacing of submarines is only hinted at, but it itself is never mentioned, which seems important, because the book skips between the conditions that existed before and after the agreement, and this can cause confusion at times. Or, as another example, one of the biggest questions (again, to me) that is hardly touched is why Zimmerman confirmed he sent the telegram after it was made public - surely this was the action that made war impossible to avoid.
All in all, however, these small issues do not diminish the book in any great manner, and it still remains a superb account of one of the most pivotal, yet little known events of the 20th century. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Super example of how the US gets into trouble., March 2 2003
By A Customer
This book should be MANDATORY reading in every history class in this nation at least ONCE. This is especially topical NOW given current events since 9/11/01.
America has been played for the sap in past history and this is just one grisly example. A few more weeks and WW1 would have NOT involved the US except for the sneaky exploits of Admiral Sir William Reginald Hall, plus Germany's Zimmerman. In a nutshell: we were set up!
Tuchman did the people of the US a great service by writing this, which reads extremely fast. It is gripping and, alas, true.
Oh if only this had not happened. How different our world would be.
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5.0 out of 5 stars History and anecdotes, April 13 2002
By 
Vincent (Virginia Beach, VA United States) - See all my reviews
Barbara Tuchman is one of the leading historians of the 20th century ; she proves it here once more. In this book she manages to use an anecdote - the telegram - to explain in a thrilling and convincing way the reasons for the US to enter the war. It is a brilliant book thanks to her remarkable style which blends suspense and clarity and yet no compromise with historical truth.
Many historians are experts and have a vast knowledge of their subject. Very few like Barbara Tuchman make their knowledge accessible in an enticing way to the "man in the street".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Story of Intrigue, March 26 2002
By 
This is one of my favorite Barbara Tuchman works. It is the story of the Zimmermann Telegram, a message sent by the German Foreign Minister to the Mexican Government in early 1917. In essence the Telegram was an attempt to make Mexico a German ally in the event of the US entering World War I on the Allied side, with the bait being the possibility of Mexico reclaiming the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. When British Intelligence intercepted and decoded the Telegram they made certain that the US government and public heard about it quickly in the hopes of bringing the US into the war.
The book is more than just the story of the Telegram itself. It includes a run through of the various German espionage efforts in the US before and during World War I and a good description of the unease felt by the US at the mysterious German machinations, including possibly collusion with Japan and an attempt to take control of the Panama Canal.
Like all of Tuchman's works, The Zimmermann Telegram is scholarly without being dull, and a real delight.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If it weren't true....., Feb. 13 2002
By 
Rheumor (New Orelans) - See all my reviews
you might think it too contrived. This is an intriguing story, incredibly well written, by one of the best authors of the period. The story concerns the German government's double-dealing during WWI and their efforts to keep the U.S. out of the European theater by any means possible. To tell more would be unfair to the reader of this review, but suffice it to say that this roughly 200 page paperback is a one day read that will leave you well informed and most entertained.
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3.0 out of 5 stars ok, three and three quartes stars and a tuchman "must-read", Dec 9 2001
By 
first of all...i am a deep tuchman fan and am in the process of reading everything she has written.
i loved the whole drama behind the telegram and it is to the author's credit that so much insightful information could find its way into her story.
the main problem i had with this book is that sometimes, it went into too many details that were designed to strengthen the story but in the end side-tracked it. a small example is needed since i feel badly about criticising tuchman without explaining: when talking about how america reacted to the telegram, she goes through a few pages of quotes from different newspapers...she did not have to...i know that this is a result from trying to get the reader involved in what actually happened so many years ago, but all it wanted to make me do was skip the pages.
still, it is a strong book based on a spectacularly strong story and that seems just to strange to be true.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Explains the Importance of the Zimmermann Telegram, Sept. 24 2001
By 
mwreview "mwreview" (Northern California, USA) - See all my reviews
From the techniques involved in decoding and deciphering German diplomatic messages (in layman's terms) to the sacrifices and lives spent acquiring the knowledge of Room 40 (i.e. code books) to the tenacious efforts of Germany to spark U.S involvement in Mexico as well as against the Japanese(!), Tuchman provides a thorough account on the Zimmermann Telegram and its crucial role in pulling a reluctant American nation into the First World War. As a History grad student, I never knew about Germany's aims regarding Japan ("the Yellow Peril") during this period until I read this book. In addition, Tuchman's excellent and often witty writing style makes Zimmermann Telegram (and her many other works) gripping and entertaining, as well as informative.
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5.0 out of 5 stars History as Thriller, Drama and Comedy, Sept. 13 2001
By 
Wayne A. Smith (Newark, DE) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The story of the Zimmermann Telegram is a gem of history that literally is a ripping good yarn.
The nutshell: In the middle of WWI, German foreign minister Zimmermann -- worried about how to keep America occupied on our side of the Atlantic and out of the Allied camp -- sent a telegram instructing his Mexican envoy to propose an alliance between Mexico, Japan and Germany. The payoff for our southern neighbor: the restoration of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico to the country of Mexico.
This very fine book is many facets tightly woven in 200 pages: British code breakers. German diplomatic efforts. President Wilson's unshakable will for neutrality. Mexican and Japanese intrigue. Submarine warfare. Mexican revolution and America's chase for Pancho Villa.
The story has drama (the fight to persuade Wilson that US interests lay with the Allies and not in being a neutral broker of peace), excitement (British code breaking efforts and the intrigue to get the telegram published / into American hands), and near comedy (German bungling with codes, diplomatic missions and high strategy)written by the masterful Barbara Tuchman.
The author takes all these elements -- which are almost Shakespearean in their complexity and interplay -- and crafts a terrifically exciting history. A very fine read.
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The Zimmermann Telegram
The Zimmermann Telegram by Barbara Wertheim Tuchman (Hardcover - Oct. 1966)
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