Russia and Germany[ edit ] Only chapters 15 and 16 are devoted to the Eastern Frontand center on the Russian invasion of East Prussia and the German reaction to it, culminating in the Battle of Tannenbergwhere the Russian advance was stopped, decisively. In the chapters, Tuchman covers the series of errors, faulty plans, poor communications, and poor logistics, which, among other things, decidedly helped the French in the west.
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. 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 decided to read it again as part of my WWI centenary reading project to gauge if my vague, decade-ago recollections were correct.
This is an awesome book. 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.
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. 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 Thus begins the battle section of The Guns of August, which comprises the bulk of the narrative. 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 Liege World War I battles are overwhelming.
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.
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.
He kept no papers on his desk and no map on his wall; he wrote nothing and said little. 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.
He was angered by anyone who tried too openly to make him change his mind. Like Talleyrand he disapproved of too much zeal. Lover of good food and rest. But at the same time, she is sympathetic to the humanity of all involved. 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.Selected by the Modern Library as one of the best nonfiction books of all timeThe 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 eraIn this landmark, Pulitzer Prize–winning account, renowned historian Barbara W.
Tuchman re-creates the first month of World War 4/5(K). Similar books to The Guns of August: The Outbreak of World War I; Barbara W. Tuchman's Great War Series (Modern Library Best Nonfiction Books) Due to its large file size, this book Reviews: Barbara W.
Tuchman (–) 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/5(). "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 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/5.
Essay on The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman Words | 2 Pages. The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman Barbara Tuchman's "Guns of August" is about World War 1. Her book has a unique way of telling this story. Her books gives explanations for each country's involvement in the war.
Mar 08, · 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 /5.