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The Guns of AugustD’” 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 Journ A truly remarkable account of the first month of WWI If history were taught to high school students the way Barbara Tuchman presents it perhaps we would not be doomed to repeat it so often The Guns of August is a very readable account of how the Allies almost lost the war in the first 30 days through the bungling due to ego jealousy misunderstanding and territorial disputesThe Germans were not immune to senseless error theirs resulting from Teutonic belief in blindly following order and their insistence on the inferiority of any way but the German way How many global errors of these types are being made today by world military leaders and what will be the conseuences I was six years old when this book first came out and I remember it causing uite a stir amount my parents' friends as they passed their one copy from couple to couple I spoke to my mother about it this weekend and she said her reaction to it was shock She and I agree that all we were taught about WWI was that Kaiser Wilhelm got too big for his britches some minor Prince got shot by a nutcase and Germany used it as an excuse to invade France England magnanimously came to France's rescue Not what happened Do read this even if you have to draw the battle plans out on graph paper like I did to understand parts of it So much of our 21st century world makes sense when you understand the beginning of the last century

Barbara W. Tuchman ´ The Guns of August Reader

E 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 surpasse 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 novelI say that because in a novel you expect at least some of the characters to develop during it – and the horrible thing about this story is how few of the characters learnt a bloody thing As a case in point It might sound like I’m anti French I know but I can’t help it All of the countries were stupid but the French were absurd and that is something else I’ve been telling people about this book and these have been the things I have been telling them A Frenchman goes over to watch the Japanese beat the Russians in a war that was held just before the First World War a mere decade before the date this book is set What did he notice in his watching He noticed that it is generally not a good idea to charge against people with machine guns After when he mentioned this to other French generals they decided that he was a coward He said that wearing a uniform that featured a bright blue coat and bright red trousers might be the euivalent of wearing a bull’s eye tied around your neck and a neon sign saying ‘shoot here’ His saying this was considered not only utterly outrageous but also an insult to French soldiers When there was a suggestion that the French should use BIG guns the commanders in charge of infantry rejected the suggestion as big cannons would only ‘slow them down’The lesson is that you can change the technology but people might not understand what that change will mean In fact they probably won’t They may still want to charge in front of machine guns wearing red trousers and showing the world how ‘brave’ they are Or they might assume that the new communications technology that worked so well in training will work just as well in the chaos of war This is a book about a world that has just changed forever and how hard it was for people to realise just what changes had been wrought It is about how fixed people are in their views particularly when those views are based on ‘plans’ that have been worked out in detail for years It is about how hard it is to admit you are wrong even when all evidence is pointing to the fact It is about how sometimes people will effectively choose death rather than admit they made a mistakeThere is a horrible sense in which this book will help to confirm all of your worst fears about humanity World War One was the opening nightmare of our modern world And this book looks at the first month of the war how that month raced towards war and nearly rushed towards the fall of Paris and left me despairing for humanityI couldn’t get over how many generals were supporters of Nietzsche and his views on the ‘will to power’ The idea that a great man will use his will power to create a world in his image That it does not matter how many enemies you face that all it takes is courage to prevail And when their armies were beaten back by superior fire power larger armies and crippled by there being no supplies these same generals put it all down to their soldiers’ lack of courage or lack of willAll I knew about the start of the war before reading this book was that some Prince got killed in the Balkans Austria and Germany had a pact that meant if one was attacked the other would have to fight with them – Russia France and England were in much the same situation The world started fighting soldiers dug tranches and everything stayed like that until they called it uits Oh and lots and lots of people diedI had no idea how close Germany came to winning the war against France in that first month This really is a gripping story but it is still not a novel In fact I kept thinking that this would make a much better film than a novel And it would make an amazing film The conversations between members of parliament and generals and kings are invariably remarkable This is well worth getting your hands on Thanks to Richard for recommending it to me

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Download The Guns of August Ebook ë 608 pages ¹ Barbara w. tuchman Ý The Pulitzer Prize winning classic about the outbreak of World War ISelected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all timeIn this landmark Pulitzer Prize–winning account renowned historian Barbara W TuchmaThe Pulitzer Prize winning classic about the outbreak of World War ISelected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all timeIn 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 th 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 blockIn 1962 Barbara Tuchman published her Guns of August and the following year it was awarded the Pulitzer PrizeAs many years separate Tuchman’s book from the events she discusses as years separate us from the time its publication about half a centuryThose two lots of five decades each may explain two different reactions On the one hand Tuchman’s choosing as her premise the accountability of Germany and her sole responsibility for the horror of the war and on the other hand our wider uestioning and possibly a skeptical reception of her views The stereotypical view of the Germans as supremely efficient and dangerously single minded is well alive in Tuchman’s interpretation when she wrote her account during the Cold War This coined idea is still alive but in a different mode Currently it induces us to think that thank god we have Merkel originally from the communist Germany to steer Europe democratically through its capitalistic mess and alleviates us when having to accept Germany winning the World Cup for the fourth time this year Our understanding of that war has also moved away from focusing on one sided culpabilitiesTuchman begins her book with the stages that led to the outbreak of the war concentrating on the four great powers only UK Germany France and Russia Even Austria and the Balkan troublesome maze are just perfunctorily mentioned For a broader look at the geographic extension of the conflict we have to look elsewhere The bulk of her history is what the title says the combat that took place at the very beginning of the war starting with the last week of July and ending with the first of September of 1914In that she does an excellent job She dissects the period spelling out the accumulation of decisions many mistaken which clumsily succeeded each other during those dreadful days She focuses on three arenas the Eastern and Western Fronts and the Mediterranean After explaining very well two of the major military strategies the Schlieffen Plan for both the Eastern and Western fronts and the Plan XVII with all their uirks and twists as well as the aberrations in the personalities of those who designed them she proceeds to show how they failed Her chapters on the invasion of Belgium and northern France are unforgettable The brutality of the German armies in the way they treated the civilians and the cities leaving in our memories the unforgivable destruction of Louvain and its treasures as well as the emblematic Reims cathedral in ruins is the strongest support she could use for postulating Germany as the nation responsible for the warShe devotes less attention to the Eastern front She focuses on what has been called the Battle of Tannenberg and in her account it serves mostly to prove how the Schlieffen plan had a faulty design To support the Eastern front the Western was too uickly weakenedShe closes in with the Battle of Marne and she again proves to be an engaging narrator Building up tension with the approach to Paris she provides a felicitous ending to that episode with the striking story of the heroic taxi drivers transferring the men to the frontThe section I found most instructive was the one devoted to the Mediterranean She creates great suspense in the way she narrates the persecution of the German battle cruiser Goeben by the various ships of the Allies The British blundered; they did not realize the direction the Goeben was pursuing until it was too late When the German cruiser succeeded in its race and reached the Dardanelles this prompted the Ottoman Empire until then neutral to side with the Central Powers The result was that Russia was cut off from her access to the Mediterranean ports and her trade was blocked Her exportsimports dropped by 9895% respectively paving the way for the continuing growth of domestic troubles until three years later their revolution explodedThis episode has an additional interest In its chapter one can read That morning there arrived at Constantinople the small Italian passenger steamer which had witnessed the Gloucester’s action against the Goeben and Breslau Among its passengers were the daughter son in law and three grandchildren of the American ambassador Mr Henry Morgenthau One of those three children was Barbara Wertheim later TuchmanApart from the Pulitzer this book is exceptional because it played a determinant role Margaret MacMillan has underlined in one of her recent interviews that John F Kennedy read it during the time when he had to deal with the Cuban missile crisis and it made him much aware of the difficulty of controlling when the unexpected happens so that he made everyone else in his Cabinet and his top military leaders read the bookTuchman’s tendency to rely too much on national stereotypes which detracts from the credibility of her research and interpretation is thereby compensated by the role her analysis played in later events And to use another cliché books that do change people’s lives have to have their own special place in our libraries