Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman here 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 why it could have been stopped but wasn't. A classic historical survey of a time and a people we all need to know more about, The Guns of August will not be forgotten.
©1962 Barbara Tuchman, Renewed 1990 by Lester Tuchman (P)2011 Tantor
"Fascinating.... One of the finest works of history written.... A splendid and glittering performance." (The New York Times)
In reading The Guns of August one must ask questions about the world past and present. The fact that the Allies let Germany rise again so soon after "The Great War" is amazing. The Germans were horrendously aggressive in the first WW and every one knew it.
As incomprehensible as the outcome of this history seems it should give us pause about the current situation today and the parallels developing in the 21st century.
I read a lot of history, but I can't think of another book - academic or "popular" that's so engaging.
For years, History of the Peloponnesian War, Crime and Punishment, and The Distant Mirror sat by my bed. I couldn't read them and I couldn't give up on them. Eventually I finished Thucydides and Dostoevsky. The Tuchman book is gone too. I never read it, but eventually I had to get rid of it.
I "finished Thucydides but gave up on Tuchman's Distant Mirror." In light of what follows that's quite a statement.
I selected this audiobook because it was long - a big bang for the buck. After an hour or two I was so engaged that bought The Book to read with, in front of, and catching up to the audio. The compelling way she selects and assembles the zillions of available factual reports from the opening days of WWI is brilliant.
I don't know how she did it, but if I wanted to pursue history as a career - even as an academic - I wouldn't start until I had was convinced that I had figured it out and could emulate her methodology - even if I couldn't compete with her style.
John Lee is superb in this as in all of his performances.
Yes. Very interesting.
I was a little disappointed in the narration. The narrator's practice of adopting accents when quoting various figures became a little annoying by the end of the book. This is a history, not a novel or dramatic reading, so i felt that touch was unnecessary and detracted from the overall experience.
The author's premise is that the battle at the Marne, during 1914, set the course of history for the 20th century. German defeat and subsequent devolution into trench war with attendant involvement by many nations of the world meant that victory was only a temporary thing...that WWII resulted with the subsequent Cold War....all because of some commanders made bad decisions in August 1914. As Tuchman's pace setting work, it's very detailed and refers to places and things too intricate for the average reader. Perhaps, a student of WWI might enjoy it more.
As said in the foreword, this book reads like a suspense novel. The question of who would engage in war with whom is surprisingly interesting, thanks to Barbara Tuchman's ability to tell the tale. However, as things get more complex, it gets hard to follow the various names and places without a firm grip of history and geography already in hand. So many generals, so many skirmishes! Another problem with the audio version is the absence of footnotes. Surely I'd be able to make more sense of quotes and attributions if there were footnotes. Nevertheless, despite these issues, I found that I learned a great deal, and I gained a greater perspective on the root causes of the terrible "Great War" than I'd had previously. (Though I wonder if perhaps her view of the Germans was overly- tainted by the horrors of WWII? Hard to say, but all in all, she really portrays them as irredeemable.)
The book itself was very interesting. It covers the events and circumstances leading up to the war, along with the first month of the war, prior to the stalemate trench warfare on the Western front. It was a bit more difficult than other audiobooks, in that there were so many names and details to keep track of. I really had to focus at times, and used the "skip back" feature quite a lot.
The narration was excellent. I couldn't quite place the narrator's native accent, but he would seamlessly go between British, French, German, Russian, and American accents when quoting people. In the back of my mind, I know that the real persons would have been speaking their own languages, but it added a subtle cue that helped me to keep track of the many persons and their respective nationalities.
If you are deciding between this audiobook and the other version on Audible, definitely go with this one.
I'm interested in WW1 and the factors that caused the war to happen, but this is very complex and over the head of most casual readers. I found it very boring and way to complex to what I was looking for. I did not finish the book, did not keep my interest.
Absolutely. I have done. In the year that's in it, I think everyone should listen to it. It's a stark reminder of what went before ... and an education in the frailty of man. History can sometimes glorify war. Not this time. Superbly researched and brilliantly narrated.
Endurance by Alfred Lansing. Incredibly, they were contemporaneous. They have everything - and nothing - in common.
No. I found it draining. I re-listened to bits of it - it was so hard to believe. I tried to pace it so as to make it last. In fact, I wanted to time the end so that I could listen to it on the train on my way into Sarajevo ... but the recent floods (as opposed to “some damned foolish thing in the Balkans”, as Bismarck put it) meant the train from Zagreb wasn't operating last weekend.
Listen to it in 2014. Note that it only covers the first month of the war ... Read Birdsong, a novel by Sebastian Faulks, if you want to imagine how the rest of it was like!
No B.S. reviews. I will never soft-pedal bad writing or inept narration.
This is a great book—a great read for history buffs, and essential for students of military history. The writing is crisp, intelligent, and insightful. This book is everything you could want in a telling of the events and politics leading up to the Great War, and of its first two years—inclusive of the battles that made Germany's defeat inevitable.
Barbara Tuchman's research is flawless. Every aspect of the military planning—on all sides—leading up to the conflict and into the fray, are covered in spendid detail. And the philosophies and motives that drove the major players are brilliantly brought to life in her clear and wonderful telling.
This is a tragic tale. History is gifted with this concise recounting of the madness, the chaos, and the ignorance that brought it about. Thank you, Ms. Tuchman, for your insights—hopefully, we will all benefit from it.
As a companion piece to this masterwork, consider "Catastrophe 1914" by Max Hastings. It brings a different—yet equally valid—perspective to the beginnings of WWI, one I would characterize as deeply human, with nuanced insights into the characters and politics of the time.
As to the narration, John Lee is a competent narrator, yet I must protest the silliness of his portrayal of French, German, and Russian protagonists. When he quotes historical figures, he affects accented English to represent them. I found this strange, comical, and after a while, annoying.
What—are we to believe that Germans and Russians would speak to one another, not in their native language, but in some weird approximation of English? For me, it would have strained the limits of credibility far less, and been much less distracting had he stuck to un-affected English.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content