In the dark winter of 1917, as World War I was deadlocked, Britain knew that Europe could be saved only if the United States joined the war. But President Wilson remained unshakable in his neutrality. Then, with a single stroke, the tool to propel America into the war came into a quiet British office. One of countless messages intercepted by the crack team of British decoders, the Zimmermann telegram was a top-secret message from Berlin inviting Mexico to join Japan in an invasion of the United States. Mexico would recover her lost American territories while keeping the U.S. occupied on her side of the Atlantic.
How Britain managed to inform America of Germany's plan without revealing that the German codes had been broken makes for an incredible, true story of espionage, intrigue, and international politics, as only Barbara W. Tuchman could tell it.
©1958 Barbara W. Tuchman (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“A true, lucid thriller…. Mrs. Tuchman makes the most of it with a creative writer’s sense of drama and a scholar’s obeisance to the evidence.” (New York Times)
“The tale has most of the ingredients of an Eric Ambler spy thriller.” (Saturday Review)
The sound is fair, takes some getting used to. Most people are aware of how the first world war got started, monarch is killed by a nationalist. Few know how the US got drawn into the war, was it the sinking of merchant ships, black operations in part of Germany, or a telegram... like most serious problems in the world it was most likely due to several reasons rather than just one. This book deals mainly with mainly one yet still shows the relevance of the others...
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a different perspective on what led to the US getting involved in WW1. The subject matter is a bit thin for an entire book and the author (while being rather accomplished for Guns of August) was a bit redundant and disorganized in laying out the details.
This history is packed with characters and twists and turns, being an ignorant geek I had never heard of this episode of history, the incompetence of the diplomats and the poor strategy of both the German military and the American president offset against the surprising competence and efficiency of the codebreakers in room 40.
It is a hard listen as it needed to be read a little more slowly to allow the dense information in the story to be absorbed. Still worth the effort as it explained a lot to this ignoramus.
Well done... good review of the events leading to and resulting from another intelligence coup. Strongly recommend!
Not to give too much away, suffice it to say this story is probably going to expose some interesting facts about US and international history and politics surrounding WWI not often heard in the US history books.
The book is pretty fast paced and there are many, many characters to follow and keep track of in this tale of espionage and intrigue. I had to stop and replay more than a few times when my attention strayed.
Non Fiction Reader
If you wanted to know every bit if minute of an event this is your book. Obviously, the telegram was important in bringing the U.S. into WWI. Somewhere that concept is lost in all of the needless detail. (Or I think it's lost; I couldn't finish the book having been down countless alleys and, after a while, not caring.) It's like someone assigned the author a set number of words and having to meet the quota just filled space (In acamedia it's called research, or trying to impress the teacher.) The story is so circuitous that it's hard following the people, the importance of events and where it's all leading. The narration is horrible! The lady reminds me of the English romance novels my wife listens to. Their diction is so perfect that after a while it sounds like cats fighting in a bag. The narration was so distracting that I found myself purposely tuning it out and missing the gist of the book. Finally, said "enough" and deleted it.
Interesting story. Especially the parts that involved taking over the SW again. Narrator did a wonderful job.
Professor of American and World History at a community college. Enjoys hard science fiction, space fantasy and space opera, fantasy, and historical narratives. Heck, I'll read anything once!
Concise, clear, and understandable.
As a work of non-fiction, there really aren't characters per se. However, Tuchman's ability to convey the individual habits and traits of the many, MANY historical figures she introduces us to is wonderful. I am a historian myself and I found her portrayals and insights into the various movers and shakers (as it were) of the Zimmerman Telegram incident and the whole run up to it to be quite useful and informative.
She is able to convey the subtle wit, humor, and irony the author clearly intends in several passages. History is often dry--Tuchman's work is far from it and McCaddon's performance brings it even further to life.
While it didn't make me laugh or cry, there were several times where I had a "whoa!" moment. I've studied this period and even taught it and this book revealed to me many things I had not known before.
For the lay fan of history, this is an excellent introduction to a period of World War I that most people overlook or simply gloss over. America's involvement in the war was strictly secondary, yet its potential involvement was HUGE for both sides. Tuchman portrays the myriad schemes, plots, and intrigues in a concise, clear manner that is both easily followed and complete. For the historian, she provides a wealth of detail so rarely discussed in other works. An excellent "read" for either group.
No, but only because the explanation is so lucid, a rereading would be unnecessary, it covers all the politics relevant to the American entry in the First World War
"The Guns of August" also by Barbara W Tuchman, which covers the events of August 1914 prior to and during WW1
Beautiful clear diction.
No,as it was not that kind of book
I would read all the historic works by Barbara W Tuchman both for her detailed research and clarity of explanation
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