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on February 3, 2017
Although a work of non-fiction, this book reads more like a spy novel and it is all true. The story here is one of the first occasions of one government, the Brits, hacking into the communications of another country,the Germans. In a way, there is sweet justice here because in the early 1860's, Otto Von Bismarck who founded the modern German state had his agents intercept a French telegram and altered its contents to make its contents seemingly insult the German people. This insult, if I recall my high school history, led to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 which led to the First World War which, in turn, led to the Second World War. And all because of a telegram, the pre-cursor of the email which got a certain lady into a lot of trouble in this decade.

Barbara Tuchman is the author of the book, The Guns of August. Personally, the Zimmerman Telegram is the better book.
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on October 16, 2016
In wanting to understand what happened one century ago, this opus of Ms Tuchman kept me riveted to my seat, reading each fascinating chapter one after next. I've now read The Guns of August and The Proud Tower and found that the three complement each other in a manner such as to give this reader a detailed picture of a period in History which had produced such scientific, medical, economic and social advances that one cannot stop wondering where would we be if all the horrendous mistakes of then leaders had not been committed.
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on February 6, 2017
A most enjoyable well written book. An important look at a forgotten piece of history. How many people even know that the US government got
pulled into invading Mexico, by Germany's schemes?
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on January 11, 2018
Gift - husband loved the book.
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on August 2, 2017
Great book?
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on May 15, 2016
Excellent true story concerning the 1 st World War
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on September 9, 2016
Excellent read!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 9, 2013
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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on November 23, 2000
Ms. Tuchman wrote "The Guns of August" which I believe is the best book ever written about WWI. Unfortunately, she also wrote the book, "The Proud Tower" about the times just before WWI. The Proud Tower was a bore. As such, I wasn't sure what to think before I bought this one. I was hopeful that it might be good and, I was right. The Zimmerman Telegraph is a very good book which, if you like history and mystery, you should enjoy. The Zimmerman Telegraph was especially interesting to me because, while I was in school, I had a professor who taught his belief that the Zimmerman Telegraph was a fraud. It was not. The Zimmerman telegaph was very real and with it the British may have changed the tides of history. .
But first, what is the Zimmerman telegraph? Mr. Zimmerman was a German ambassador during WWI. As the war progressed, both sides looked for allies which would tip the scales in the war in Europe. Mr. Zimmerman, and his cohorts, were instructed to induce Mexico into fighting on the German side, if American declared for the allies.
Because General Pershing, who was to lead the Amercian troops in Europe, had invaded Mexico during this time (to attack a bandit revolutionary Pancho Villa); Because America had taken about 1/3 of Mexico eighty years earlier; And because America's army was one of the smallest in the world - Mexico's entry into the war seem possible to German leaders 5000 miles away.
Mr. Zimmerman, in secret code, wired back and forth to Germany to learn what he should do, and what he should offer. Worse, at times, the Germanys borrowed American supplies, while negotiating about declaring war on America. The British learned about these messages and wanted to share them with the Americans. But how could they do it, without arrising their suspicions and those of later American professors?
The truth is an exciting mystery story filled with real people whom we love and hate, because Ms. Tuchman makes them so real. She has a talent, when applied, which makes the past - present. I could picture these events as they happened, understand the people, and even sympathize with the ones I didn't like before I read this book.
The other thing Ms. Tuchman does so well is to explain motivations. In Europe, for example, there was disputed land between Germany and France. This land was take in 1870. In 1914, the shame of this action still was present throughout France. Indeed, in many units, it was a battlecry. Surely some Mexicans felt the same about California? Ms. Tuchman shows us why some people felt that a Germany-Mexican alliance was a good thing. And a thing which the Mexicans would want.
There is much more that this book discusses. But, as referenced above, this book is mainly about how the British broke the German codes and how they "leaked" this information to the Americans. War is never fought for one reason. But the main reason America fought in WWI may have been this telegram - and the Germany-Mexican alliance it proposed. A masterful job by Ms. Tuchman.
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on September 13, 2001
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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