The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman

The Guns of August

Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman has brought to life again the people and events that led up to World 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 how 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 AU...


Details The Guns of August

TitleThe Guns of August
ISBN9780345476098
Author
Release DateAug 3rd, 2004
PublisherBallantine Books
LanguageEnglish
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, War, World War I, Military, Military History
Rating

Reviews The Guns of August

  • Kalliope
    2012-06-08
    On the night of the 13th of August 1961 the Government of East Germany began to build the Wall that divided Berlin isolating its Western part within the Communist Eastern block.In 1962, Barbara Tuchman published her Guns of August and the following year it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.As many years separate Tuchman’s book from the events she discusses as years separate us from the time its publication: about half a century.Those two lots of f...
  • Matt
    2016-06-29
    Let’s start with a couple items. First, there is nothing left to be said about Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August. Second, that is not going to stop me. The Guns of August is not only the most famous book written about World War I, it is one of the most famous history books on any topic whatsoever. It won the Pulitzer, became a bestseller, was name-checked by politicians, and still provides a tidy sum to Tuchman’s heirs and designees. Eve...
  • Lilo
    2013-04-16
    “The Guns of August” is the first book I read about the Great War or, as I knew it, World War One. “The Guns of August” is also the first substantial information I obtained about this war. I was born in Germany, in 1939. My family, then containing of my parents, my biological maternal grandmother, and my adoptive maternal grandmother (my biological grand-aunt), talked very little about WWI, probably because WWII was raging, food as well a...
  • Paul Bryant
    2009-05-07
    Well, how d'you do, Private Willie McBride, First Class - do you mind if I sit down down here by your graveside? It's so nice to rest for awhile in the warm summer sun... I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done in. Well. So, Willie - I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen when you joined the glorious fallen. 1916 - a long time ago now. Well I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean. But Private Willie McBride, it could have b...
  • Diane
    2017-01-02
    This is an impressive work on the buildup to World War I and the first month of fighting. I wanted to read this book after a re-read of All Quiet on the Western Front, to better understand the war. I've heard The Guns of August described as one of the best books about WWI ever written, and while I haven't read enough to testify to that, I do think it was an interesting and insightful work, and I'd recommend it to history buffs.I listened to The G...
  • Trevor
    2009-04-25
    You could almost be excused for thinking that the highest praise one could give a work of non-fiction would be that it reads like a work of fiction. I haven’t looked at any of the other reviews for this book yet, but I would be prepared to bet that many of them say this read like a novel. And it is an incredibly dramatic story and some of the characters are larger than life – but this is no novel.I say that because in a novel you expect at le...
  • Sue
    2013-04-24
    After reading this book 100 years, sometimes to the day, after some of the events happened, it is difficult to know what to say. Others have written so many excellent reviews. I believe that I will focus on reaction for my review---reaction 100 years after the fact to the apparent ease with which the European world, and then much more, slid into an horrific spilling of blood, the ease with which several leaders gave orders which condemned million...
  • howl of minerva
    2015-08-22
    I've been reading a fair bit about dubya dubya 2 recently but my knowledge of dubya dubya 1 consists of what I dimly recollect from school. That is: arms race, Franz Ferdinand, something something, the Somme, gas gas quick boys, Versailles. I also remember visiting the massive marble monument the Canadians built at Vimy ridge. The 21 years separating 1918 and 1939 are not a great length of time. There's something to be said for the thesis that th...
  • Stephen
    2008-08-27
    6.0 stars. WOW!! This book was AMAZING!! I have always been very interested in World War II and have read quite a few books on the subject. However, until reading THIS book I had never endeavored to learn anything more than the basics of World War I. With the reading of this incredible book, I have taken a tremendous step towards correcting that deficit. Focusing on the first 30 days of World War I (hence the title), this beautifully written book...
  • Lynne King
    2018-01-19
    Brilliant. There's no other word for it.
  • Chrissie
    2013-07-06
    Phew, this was a difficult book to digest in the audiobook format. Neither is it easy to digest in a paper book format. It is dense. It is detailed. Names and places and battles are thrown at you in rapid succession. You have to remember who is who, which corps is fighting where and its number, the title of each commander and more. You do not have time to stop and think and recall what was told to you minutes/pages or even hours/chapters before. ...
  • Lobstergirl
    2009-01-15
    This is an excellent but somewhat odd book; odd because the emphasis is so much more on the military than the political that you're left wondering why, how, precisely, this war was so inevitable. Granted, the political leaders are discussed in the first few chapters, the German Kaiser and the Russian Czar more so than the French and the British. But the stress is on the generals, and the war planners, on Schlieffen, whose plan had been prepared i...
  • Darwin8u
    2014-09-22
    The Guns of August which I read in September“Nothing so comforts the military mind as the maxim of a great but dead general.” ― Barbara W. Tuchman, The Guns of AugustWhat an amazing piece of historical writing. Tuchman shows how August, 2014 was impacted by two failed plans (Plan 17 & the Schlieffen Plan), Generals and politicos who were either overly optimistic at the wrong time or overly pessimistic at the wrong time. She detailed how ina...
  • Gadi
    2012-07-01
    I let go at around page 280 (out of 440 in my edition), when I started realizing that every paragraph is so chunked up with minute details about this general moving these troops out of this place and into this wing on this day because of these emotions and this miscommunication and this people's overconfidence that it just all became so trivial and so unbelievably lifeless--which in a weird way completely contradicts all of the GR reviews I've re...
  • Evan Leach
    2013-02-22
    "Dead battles, like dead generals, hold the military mind in their dead grip, and Germans no less than other peoples prepare for the last war."- Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August. In her Pulitzer-Prize winning classic The Guns of August, the story of the first month of World War I, Barbara Tuchman argues convincingly that August 1914 was when the Gilded Age died and the modern era really began. The book opens with a famous depiction of Edward ...
  • Mark Mortensen
    2014-01-07
    In the 19th Century Henry David Thoreau eloquently stated: “I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” In the 20th Century, Barbara W. Tuchman full of vision, passion, discipline and self confidence, pursued her American dream and found such success. The historian extr...
  • Paul
    2017-09-15
    This book came highly recommended and I can now see why. Tuchman really brings the war to life, which is quite a harrowing experience, I have to say. This book would be a great starting point for any serious would-be-scholar of the First World War and has just the right general overview to detail ratio for the casual reader like myself.It made me realise how we'd only studied the war from the British perspective at school (many, many, many years ...
  • Caroline
    2015-04-28
    I used to repeat the common wisdom that if only the WWI reparations hadn’t been imposed on Germany, there would have been no WWII. Now I understand that it would have been impossible to convince the Allies that the reparations weren’t necessary.On August 25 the burning of Louvain began. The medieval city on the road from Liege to Brussels was renowned for its University and incomparable Library, founded in 1426...for the Germans burned Louvai...
  • Clark Zlotchew
    2011-09-05
    As always, Barbara W. Tuchman delves deeply into the historical subject matter. This book is about the First World War, its causes, the conduct of it, and the results. I see that what I've just written in the preceding sentence doesn't sound inviting; it comes off as dry and uninteresting. But this book is anything but that. It is actually exciting in its description of the progress of the war, and the various armies. It is also fascinating to bu...
  • BrokenTune
    2014-11-14
    Nope. Maybe it is this particular audiobook version, but I'm really not feeling the love for this book.With The Guns of August, Tuchman wrote this incredibly detailed account of the first month of WWI - and the detail is staggering, so much so that it might even be somewhat overwhelming and that somehow this detail detracts a little from what otherwise looks like a one-sided portrayal. I mean the detail staggering (and the only aspect that kept m...
  • Charissa
    2007-10-22
    This was the first non-fiction history book that read so much like a good novel that I screamed through it almost without pausing for breath. I knew bits and pieces about World War I before this... but the persistent idiocy of so many involved simply held me riveted to the pages. One of my favorite bits is how the French kept insisting on wearing their red uniforms as they charged through field and forest toward machine gun fire. They just couldn...
  • Gail
    2008-08-05
    I don't like technical books about military maneuvers--all that blather about Colonel Blimp, General von Bomb-them-all, and Prince Icantmakeupmymind, and the 5th Army Group attacks the XVI Corps on the right salient---yawn...Welcome to a book that makes all this nearly understandable. Tuchman gives a great picture of the men who made the fatal errors of judgement which led to the four years of hell known as WW I and then resulted in, twenty years...
  • John
    2008-09-22
    Barbara Tuchman did not have a PHD, “It’s what saved me, I think” she said, believing that academic life can stultify imagination, stifle enthusiasm and deaden prose style. After all, Herodotus, Thucydides, Gibbon, Mac Cauley and Parkman did not have PhD’s.” Her dealings with the press and critics were cautious and in their reviews of this book described her as a fifty-year-old housewife, a mother of three daughters and the spouse of a ...
  • Connie
    2015-01-16
    "The Guns of August" gives an account of the events leading up to the outbreak of World War I, and the first month of battles in August 1914. The writing is colorful and very dense. Some basic knowledge of World War I is helpful since Barbara Tuchman throws out the names of the main players very rapidly in the initial chapters about the causes of the war. The black and white maps are helpful, but not spectacular. The author is an interesting stor...
  • Silvana
    2008-08-18
    The Guns of August is the best researched book I’ve ever read so far with such poised and skillful narrative style. Tuchman managed to entertain her readers with vivid, incredible details about the prelude to the first thirty days of World War I. She never cease in captivating our minds with epic tales of bravery, cowardice and indecisiveness. Did I say “entertain”? Ah indeed, this book is indubitably a remarkable form of entertainment. Bat...
  • Rebecca Wilson
    2015-12-04
    The Guns of August is a class act, not only as a military history, but also as an analysis of human and organizational behavior. What drives us? What motivates us? Well, primarily an unwillingness to confront hard problems and the need to get promoted at our jobs. Maybe it's the same where you work.The Guns of August explains how the First World War came to be as well as its first month, up to the Battle of the Marne. But Tuchman doesn't simply d...
  • Brad
    2016-05-23
    It's been a long while since I read a book about the First World War, but I've read many and was always going to find my way back to its histories in this Centennial period of the conflict. The one book I had long wanted to read but had never gotten around to was Barbara W. Tuchman's The Guns of August.I have heard of its excellence from many folks I trust, and their praise was mostly borne out --especially when it came to The Guns of August's tw...
  • Mark
    2013-10-09
    My knowledge up to this year about WOI could be condensed in: my country was "neutral" in this conflict, it was trenchwarfare and in a sense the first act in the social change coming in the 20th century. When it came to content I really never learned anything about this period. While reading this book I did watch several documentaries by the BBC, the Great War & Royal cousins, and an earier documantary by the BBC about the Great War that won thre...
  • KF-in-Georgia
    2012-01-22
    The narration is excellent. And, of course, the book is a classic, with vivid, gorgeous writing. The opening paragraph is justifiably famous: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. In scarlet and blue and green and purple, three by three the sovereigns rode through the palace ...