Tuchman's Proud Tower is both history and literary work of art. Her focus on the the high tide of the 2nd industrial revolution, the cult of progress, the rise of mass politics and the invention of the modern city, suggest an ambition closer to Gibbon recalling his beloved Romans than a world that is only a century past. And in a moral sense, this is the point of her work, the historical rupture of WW1 and all that it swept away. Tuchman's account of the Dreyfus Affair, Speaker of the House Thomas Reed's showdown with Congress and the death of Jaures are like perfect miniatures from Plutarch, each of them models and warnings about the end of a civilization.
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