- Mass Market Paperback: 640 pages
- Publisher: Presidio Press; Reissue edition (Aug. 3 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780345476098
- ISBN-13: 978-0345476098
- ASIN: 0345476093
- Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 2.7 x 17.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 295 g
- Average Customer Review: 124 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Guns of August: The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Classic About the Outbreak of World War I Mass Market Paperback – Aug 3 2004
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“A brilliant piece of military history which proves up to the hilt the force of Winston Churchill’s statement that the first month of World War I was ‘a drama never surpassed.’”—Newsweek
“More dramatic than fiction . . . a magnificent narrative—beautifully organized, elegantly phrased, skillfully paced and sustained.”—Chicago Tribune
“A fine demonstration that with sufficient art rather specialized history can be raised to the level of literature.”—The New York Times
“[The Guns of August] has a vitality that transcends its narrative virtues, which are considerable, and its feel for characterizations, which is excellent.”—The Wall Street Journal
From the Back Cover
“Fascinating . . . One of the finest works of history written . . . A splendid and glittering performance.”
–The New York Times
“MORE DRAMATIC THAN FICTION . . . A MAGNIFICENT NARRATIVE . . . elegantly phrased, skillfully paced and sustained . . . The product of painstaking and sophisticated research.”
“A BRILLIANT PIECE OF MILITARY HISTORY which proves up to the hilt the force of Winston Churchill’s statement that the first month of World War I was ‘a drama never surpassed.’ A writer with an impeccable sense of telling detail, Mrs. Tuchman is able to evoke both the enormous pattern of the tragedy and the minutiae which make it human.”
“[A] BEAUTIFULLY ORGANIZED, COMPELLING NARRATIVE.”
–San Francisco Chronicle
“AN EPIC NEVER FLAGGING IN SUSPENSE . . . It seemed hardly possible that anything new of significance could be said about the prelude to and the first month of World War I. But this is exactly what Mrs. Tuchman has succeeded in doing . . . by transforming the drama’s protagonists as well as its immense supporting cast, from half-legendary and half shadowy figures into full-dimensional, believable persons.”
–The Christian Science Monitor
“EXCELLENT . . . [The Guns of August] has a vitality that transcends its narrative virtues.”
–The Wall Street Journal
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1) the defeat of Germany and the onerous reparations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles contributed to German discontent and resentment against the victorious European powers and helped form a climate in Germany which allowed Nazism to thrive and flourish culminating in Hitler and the Second World War;
2) The strains of Russia's war comittment helped pushed her over the precipice into the Communist Revolution;
3) The collapse of the Ottoman Empire that had ruled the Middle East for centuries.
In many ways these events are still reverberating through the world today as we watch Putin push for power in the Ukraine and now Syria in attempts to regain the glory of Soviet Union and Imperial Russia. The divying up of the Middle East following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI was more about preserving European interest's in the region than respecting ethnic or religious de facto boundaries as we now watch this region collapse in chaos and failed states.
But perhaps most importantly, the conventional political and military wisdom of the day as Tuchman so aptly recounts was that the world could not survive a long drawn out war and victory would be a achieved through a decisive, offensive battle (We'll be home by Christmas") when we now know the tragic reality that WW1 was a 4 year bloody defensive war where millions lost their lives. I think we should keep this all in mind when the "talking heads" on television relate the "conventional wisdom" about what to do with the Ukraine, Syria, Iran etc.
It is inevitable to compare Tuchman's Guns of August to Margaret McMillain's also excellent account of WW1 - The War that ended Peace. Both Tuchman and McMillian are very good at capturing the personalities of the key political and military figures of the day that had decisive influence on the events that lead Europe on the path to war.
Personally, I found McMillian took a longer viewpoint and was better at analyzing and explaining the military strategies and the international political pressures in response to the central question of her book which was was there a point in time at which the seemingly inevitable march to war could be stopped? Tuchman dived down into the nitty gritty. In particular, she excelled at (surprisingly) gripping and suspenseful accounts of the early battles of August, capturing the chaos, the incompetency; the incredible courage and horrors of war - culminating in the Battle of the Marne, which as she puts did not end the war but allowed the war to continue on for another tragic 4 years.
Highly recommend - even if you are not into military history.
The first part of the book starts off, like any other historical narrative. However, when the German invasion starts to take affect, the book becomes almost impossible to put down. There is reason this book won a Pulitzer Prize; it is an exceptional read.
Wouldn't it be nice if the people who engaged in the Iraq war had read, and heeded, this book.
And that's its greatest value, in my opinion: the lessons she identifies are ones the world and its decision-makers still desperately need to read, contemplate, and observe.
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