The Guns of August

The Guns of August is a Book On the night of the th of August the Government of East Germany began to build the Wall that divided Berlin isolating its Western part within the Communist E

The Guns of August is a Book 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 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 questioning and possibly a more 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 culpabilities.Tuchman 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 1914.In 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 quirks 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 war.She 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 quickly weakened.She 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 front.The 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 exports/imports dropped by 98/95% respectively paving the way for the continuing growth of domestic troubles until three years later their revolution exploded.This 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 Tuchman).Apart 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 more 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 book.Tuchman’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. . 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 sHistorian 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 about, THE GUNS OF AUGUST will not be forgotten.. Popular Books The Guns of August 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. Even today, if you do a general search for “World War I” on Amazon, this is the first thing to pop up, even though it was originally published in 1962. This actually isn’t my first time reading this. Ten years ago, I tore through it during the weekend I was waiting for my bar exam results. A weekend, I hasten to add, with not a little anxiety and cocktail consumption. I’m pretty sure I loved it; I’m also pretty sure it didn't penetrate very far. I decided to read it again as part of my WWI centenary reading project to gauge if my vague, decade-ago recollections were correct. They were. This is an awesome book. The Guns of August covers the first month of World War I as fighting erupts on both the Western and Eastern Fronts. Famously, however, Tuchman begins in May 1910 with the sight of nine kings riding in the funeral of King Edward VII of England. [T]he 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 gates, with plumed helmets, gold braids, crimson sashes, and jeweled orders flashing in the sun. After them came five heirs apparent, forty more imperial or royal high-nesses, seven queens – four dowager and three regent – and a scattering of special ambassadors from uncrowned countries. Together they represented seventy nations in the greatest assemblage of royalty and rank ever gathered in one place and, of its kind, the last.Tuchman uses the chapter on King Edward’s funeral to give a brisk overview of the troublesome context that brought Europe to cataclysm in 1914. The next section covers the operational plans and purposes of the four main belligerents: Germany, wedded to the grand sweeping offensive devised by Schlieffen; France, haunted by defeat in the Franco-Prussian War; Great Britain, blessed with a mighty navy and small Regular Army; and Russia, the feared steamroller with legions in numbers like the stars. Each of these nations had engaged a delicate balancing act in which old friends became enemies, old enemies became friends, and all sides seemed simultaneously convinced that war would never come and war had to come. Tuchman’s setup is relatively quick. In well less than 100 pages, she broadly sketches the strategic situation at the time of Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination in Sarajevo. The July Crisis is handled even faster. In a page in a half, Tuchman dispenses with a fraught month over which thousands of gallons of ink have been expended. This brings us to the heart of the book – the events of August 1914. The early days of the month are spent on Great Britain’s decision to uphold both Belgium neutrality and their tacit wink-wink-nudge-nudge “understanding” with France. Once Great Britain made it clear she would not sit on the sidelines, German troops began crossing the border into Belgium, beginning what Moltke called “the struggle that will decide the course of history for the next hundred years.” (Moltke, otherwise a failure, certainly pegged this right). Thus begins the battle section of The Guns of August, which comprises the bulk of the narrative. Tuchman covers the siege of Liege, the French thrust into Alsace, the Battle of the Frontiers, the arrival of the British Expeditionary Force, the invasion of East Prussia by Russia, and the Battle of Tannenberg. When the book ends, the pieces are all in place for the Battle of the Marne, which transformed the conflict from a war of maneuver into a war of trenches, barbed wire, and mechanized slaughter. (You might have noticed the absence of events involving Austria-Hungary or Serbia in that list. For some reason, they are almost entirely left out of the book). Belgian troops fighting outside LiegeWorld War I battles are overwhelming. I’ve found that it’s a rare author who can make them even partly imaginable. Earlier battles – like Waterloo or Gettysburg – took place on comprehendible fields that you can walk to this day. Not so with these titanic clashes. Here, you have fronts of 40 to 80 miles, with armies of upwards of a million men. Often times the recounting of these fights devolve into a confusing Roman numeral soup of Armies, Corps, and Divisions moving hither and yon, crossing rivers and capturing intersections and moving through quaint little villages. Unless you have a very good map sitting next to you, it’s nearly impossible for any but the most devoted to fully grasp all the troop movements. Here, Tuchman makes the wise choice to take a pretty macro view of the battles, usually at the Corps level. Even so, it can be a lot to absorb. Moreover, her choice to look at things with a wide-angle lens means that the proceedings are filtered through the eyes of God and the generals, rather than the more tactile experiences of soldiers.As military history, this might come up a bit short. But in other areas, Tuchman excels. She is excellent at the personalities, bringing a dry, sardonic wit to the characters populating this crowded stage. Take, for instance, her brilliant evocation of General Joseph Joffre, the French Commander-in-Chief: Every morning at eight o’clock Joffree presided at meetings of the section chiefs, a majestic and immobile arbiter but never the puppet of his entourage as outsiders, misled by his silence and his bare desk, supposed. He kept no papers on his desk and no map on his wall; he wrote nothing and said little. Plans were prepared for him, said Foch; “he weighs them and decides.” There were few who did not tremble in his presence. Anyone who was five minutes late at his mess was treated to a thunderous frown and remained an outcast for the remainder of the meal. Joffre ate in silence with a gourmet’s entire devotion to the food. He complained continuously of being kept in the dark by his staff…He used to rub his forehead, murmuring “Poor Joffre!” which his staff came to recognize as his way of refusing to do something that was being urged upon him. He was angered by anyone who tried too openly to make him change his mind. Like Talleyrand he disapproved of too much zeal.Joffre: Lover of good food and rest. Not to be confused with the evil boy-king of the Seven KingdomsTuchman can be pretty sharp, noting continuously how Joffre never missed a meal or an hour’s sleep. But at the same time, she is sympathetic to the humanity of all involved. She presents a very mechanistic view of the outbreak of war, how dogmas like “the cult of the offensive” and master plans such as Schlieffen’s right wing dictated the early stages. At the same time, she recognizes that these were only plans, and that at any point, someone could have changed them. She also recognizes that many of these men were not capable of that.Tuchman is also the master of the literary set piece. Her opening paragraph, quoted partially above, is Exhibit A in how to hook a reader and deliver a scene. Her handling of the escape of the German battle cruiser Goeben (an incident Tuchman initially wanted to devote an entire book to) is masterful, and shows how individual decisions can greatly affect the outcome grand events. (The Goeben and the Breslau both escaped the Germans by entering the Dardanelles and presenting themselves to the Ottomans as a gift. This helped pull the Ottoman Empire into the war on Germany’s side. What followed – Gallipoli, Sykes-Picot – has ramifications that are still felt today). The Goeben sails off into historyFor whatever reason, I had it in mind that this was a good WWI starter book. Upon rereading, I don’t think that’s the case. It’s fantastic, but complex enough to require a bit of background reading in order to fully engage it. I could go on, but I’ve already gone on longer than necessary. It’s all been said before. The critics are right. The Guns of August lives up to its lofty reputation.
The Guns of Navarone Apr , The Guns of Navarone The Guns of Navarone A British team is sent to cross occupied Greek territory and destroy the massive German gun emplacement that commands a key The Guns of November RealClearPolitics Sep , The Guns of November COMMENTARY Wade Vandervort Las Vegas Sun via AP Wade Vandervort Las Vegas Sun via AP X Story Stream recent articles Video Global Warming The Guns of August Aug , The Guns of August h min Documentary , History , War August West Germany Traces the origins and actions of World War I, from the funeral of Britain s King Edward VII The Guns of Navarone Rotten Tomatoes The Guns of Navarone Critics Consensus Bolstered by a cast of memorable stars and an impressive sense of scale, The Guns of the Navarone fires with vivid characterization and entertaining spectacle. GUNS Magazine The Guns Of John Dillinger GUNS Magazine Jun , guns like this can be found cheap online Will s example cost him via GunBroker Remington Model The Browning Auto shotgun, a personal favorite of its prodigious designer, The Guns of Navarone Full Movie YouTube Let s join, fullHD episode here Discover the latest TV show in that always make you fascin

  1. Barbara Wertheim Tuchman was an American self trained historian and author and double Pulitzer Prize winner She became best known for The Guns of August 1962 , a history of the prelude and first month of World War I.As an author, Tuchman focused on producing popular history Her clear, dramatic storytelling covered topics as diverse as the 14th century and World War I, and sold millions of copies.

644 Reply to “The Guns of August”

  1. 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 five decades each may explain two different reactions [...]

  2. 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 Even today, if you do a general search for World War I on , this [...]

  3. 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 as all other supplies were scarce, and we were surrounded by Nazis, [...]

  4. 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 been slow and obscene Let s not think of that And did you leave a [...]

  5. 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 Guns of August on audio, and I enjoyed the narration [...]

  6. 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 least some of the characters to develop during it and the ho [...]

  7. 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 , slid into an horrific spilling of blood, the ease with which several leaders gave orders which condemned millions of people to death cities, towns, even small nations to [...]

  8. 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 the two world wars should be understood as one extended c [...]

  9. 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 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 addresses in great detail the causes for the conflict, the pre [...]

  10. 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 You do not have time to stop and think and recall what was told to you minutes pages or even hours chapters before You need than a detailed map because you don t have much tim [...]

  11. This is an excellent but somewhat odd book odd because the emphasis is so much 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 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 in 1905 06 and seemed to be restlessly waiting for enactment P [...]

  12. 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 inadvertent acts by disgraced Generals might have saved France, how t [...]

  13. 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 read about how this book brings life to the first mont [...]

  14. 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 VII s funeral in 1910, attended by all the kings and prin [...]

  15. 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 extraordinaire lacked a PhD but proved to critics that her well f [...]

  16. 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 ago and it was very interesting to see the French and [...]

  17. 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 1426r the Germans burned Louvain not as a punishment for alleged Belgian misdeeds defending [...]

  18. 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 burrow into the causes and the intrigue involved It seems a [...]

  19. 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 me reading this far and includes a lot of detail of the [...]

  20. 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 t wrap their heads around the idea that elan just wasn [...]

  21. 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 yawnWelcome 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 later, the even worse agony known as WW II She is such a [...]

  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 prominent New York physician More succinctly, how could she have [...]

  23. 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 storyteller, looking at many of the politicians and generals [...]

  24. 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 Battles, maneuvers, and actions in the field plus debates internal [...]

  25. 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 deliver facts she gives razor sharp insights into the re [...]

  26. 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 two major strengths.First is Tuchman s decision to focus [...]

  27. 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 three emmy s.Barbara Tuchman does have a very nice and gentle [...]

  28. No voy a valorar este libro con estrellitas, y voy a explicar el porqu porque desde el punto de vista de su calidad intr nseca, la ingente documentaci n que tiene detr s, el elevad simo nivel de detalle y el grado de an lisis de todas y cada una de las acciones que tuvieron lugar en los distintos pa ses durante ese primer mes de la Primera Guerra Mundial, merece no 5 estrellas, sino 6 7 Para descubrirse Pero esto mismo que le da tanta calidad, para un lector meramente interesado en un conocimien [...]

  29. 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 gates, with plumed helmets, gold braid, crimson sashe [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *