The Guns of August: The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Classic About the Outbreak of World War I (Mass Market)

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Staff Reviews


This book is always talked about as being the “Citizen Kane” of history books, and I completely agree that this phenomenal work about the prelude to World War I has a rosebud feel to it.

After every page, I wanted more and was completely unable to put this book down. Reviews of this book describe Barbara Tuchman, the author, as having a Thucydidean ability to stay impartial throughout the story while being incredibly thorough in her research. Even though this book is written about sixty years ago, the lessons that Tuchman conveys make the story are applicable to the present.

There were a lot of interesting facts made in this wonderful book, but one I found very interesting was Germany’s obsession with Belgium’s violation of international law. Even though Germany broke international law by invading Belgium and violating Belgium’s neutrality, Germany became appalled by Belgium’s civilians resisting the occupation of their country. While Germany was occupying Belgium’s territory and executing civilians in firing squads, they expected the Belgian people to be complacent and willing hosts. This frustrated the German high command who were obsessed, “that Belgian resistance was illegal and that it was organized from above by the Belgian government.”

How dare Belgians have the audacity to protect their families from foreign invaders occupying their land?

In order to sufficiently punish the Belgians the German high command decided to burn down the Louvain Library. The Library was founded in 1426 and contained over 230,000 volumes and 750 medieval manuscripts; this was a priceless piece of history and culture, yet the Germans blamed Belgium for the fire. If only the Belgians had behaved properly towards the German soldiers destroying their country, then the library might have been saved.

I will never understand how an occupying force can legitimize the extreme levels of violence they commit by arguing that is self-defense. You have invaded someone’s land, killed their citizens, and you expect them to do nothing? I will never condone violence of any kind or argue that violence is justified, but I do see the difference between protecting oneself against an aggressive occupying force and attacking a less powerful opponent.

— From Conflicts & Struggles

Description


Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time

The Proud Tower, the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Guns of August, and The Zimmerman Telegram comprise Barbara W. Tuchman’s classic histories of the First World War era

In this landmark, Pulitzer Prize–winning account, renowned historian Barbara W. Tuchman re-creates the first month of World War I: thirty days in the summer of 1914 that determined the course of the conflict, the century, and ultimately our present world. Beginning with the funeral of Edward VII, Tuchman traces each step that led to the inevitable clash. And inevitable it was, with all sides plotting their war for a generation. Dizzyingly comprehensive and spectacularly portrayed with her famous talent for evoking the characters of the war’s key players, Tuchman’s magnum opus is a classic for the ages.
 
Praise for The Guns of August
 
“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

About the Author


Barbara W. Tuchman (1912–1989) achieved prominence as a historian with The Zimmermann Telegram and international fame with The Guns of August—a huge bestseller and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Her other works include Bible and Sword, The Proud Tower, Stilwell and the American Experience in China (for which Tuchman was awarded a second Pulitzer Prize), Notes from China, A Distant Mirror, Practicing History, The March of Folly, and The First Salute.

Praise For…


“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


Product Details
ISBN: 9780345476098
ISBN-10: 0345476093
Publisher: Presidio Press
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2004
Pages: 640
Language: English