The Guns of August
PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • “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
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all…
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Why read it?
5 authors picked The Guns of August as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
If you want one book to understand how the first month or so of World War 1 played out, there is only one place to turn. Tuchman’s book is beautifully written, with a rich tapestry of characters and events, it covers the major events in Europe in August and early September 1914. It is largely seen through the eyes of ‘great men’—the military and political leaders of the day—which makes it slightly dated by today’s standards, but the skill and humanity of the reader and the sheer scope of the narrative will keep you in their…
From Richard's list on page-turning narrative history.
The Great War was preceded by one hundred years of relative peace in Europe, during which other events, especially the industrial revolution and the waning of continental empires, were setting the stage for the shattering of that peace and the end of the world in which it existed.
The war began during the twilight of an age in which men had come to believe that technology and “progress” might be harnessed to a perfect life. The war took a sledgehammer to that notion as it did so many other cherished ideas and beliefs.
Tuchman delivers a fascinating examination of the…
From Stephen's list on why World War I changed everything forever.
The Guns of August is a historical volume by Barbara W. Tuchman. It is centered on the first month of World War I, and the events that led up to it. This was the last kick of the Gilded Age, of Kings and Kaisers and Czars, many who sported pointed or plumed hats, colored uniforms. Pomp and romance accompanied the beastly war. After introductory chapters, Tuchman describes in great detail the opening events of the conflict.
The war becomes a military history of the chief contestants, the great powers. Tuchman masterfully portrays this transition from the 19th to 20th Century,…
From Jaime's list on military books that you can't put down.
Tuchman’s book came out in 1962, but I didn’t get around to reading it until the 1970s. Once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down. Along with Thomas Fleming, she drove my interest in World War I. I was especially interested in the opening days of the war, and she handles it masterfully and in great detail, covering the first month of the war. I can still envision her description of the German army invading Belgium. This book is a must-read for those wanting to learn about how the war started and what transpired during those turbulent days…
From Stephen's list on World War I and America's role in it.
The classic Pulitzer Prize book about the outbreak of World War I. This book weaves detail that pulls the reader in, without distraction. A groundbreaking distillation of historical research into a storytelling style that captivates both readers and authors.
From Scott's list on human struggle and achievement in war.
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