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The Zimmermann Telegram | [Barbara W. Tuchman]

The Zimmermann Telegram

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (304 )
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4.2 (219 )
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-10-10 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Back story to the infamos telegram..."

    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...

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ari New York, NY, United States 08-16-11
    Ari New York, NY, United States 08-16-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting Topic - poorly written"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carroll Alexandria, VA, United States 12-05-13
    Carroll Alexandria, VA, United States 12-05-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Great narrative of this surprise event!!"

    Well done... good review of the events leading to and resulting from another intelligence coup. Strongly recommend!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug Frisco, TX 05-28-13
    Doug Frisco, TX 05-28-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Enlightening Story"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Max Hollmann Florida 05-15-13
    W. Max Hollmann Florida 05-15-13 Member Since 2008

    Non Fiction Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Horrible Narration"

    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.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Plaisance Buffalo Gap, TX United States 04-23-13
    K. Plaisance Buffalo Gap, TX United States 04-23-13 Member Since 2015

    Hippie Gal

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Zimmerman Telegram"

    Interesting story. Especially the parts that involved taking over the SW again. Narrator did a wonderful job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Penfield, NY, United States 04-08-13
    David Penfield, NY, United States 04-08-13 Member Since 2013

    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!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "History for the Non-Historian"
    If you could sum up The Zimmermann Telegram in three words, what would they be?

    Concise, clear, and understandable.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    What does Wanda McCaddon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Toowoon Bay, Australia 03-12-13
    Robert Toowoon Bay, Australia 03-12-13 Member Since 2014
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    "A clear explanation of a very involved plot"
    Would you listen to The Zimmermann Telegram again? Why?

    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


    What other book might you compare The Zimmermann Telegram to and why?

    "The Guns of August" also by Barbara W Tuchman, which covers the events of August 1914 prior to and during WW1


    What does Wanda McCaddon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Beautiful clear diction.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No,as it was not that kind of book


    Any additional comments?

    I would read all the historic works by Barbara W Tuchman both for her detailed research and clarity of explanation

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 03-08-13
    Mary 03-08-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Disappointed by this audio...Narrator too fast."

    I was disappointed in this listening experience. As this is an historical account of actual events during WWI, the narrator read it much too fast for my preference. It made it difficult to absorb many of the details of the information and difficult to understand some of her words at times. I felt like the reading was taking place under time constraints or as a contest in speed-reading the book. Additionally, the narrator added more characterization and dramatization than I found preferable for an historical account. I was relieved to finish the book (which seemed to take 3 times longer than actual time). The book itself provided a lot of information regarding this particular event and multiple events and scenarios prior to the telegram. It included many years prior to the telegram and, for me, it seemed more than necessary. Or perhaps if the narration was better for this type of book, it would have proved more interesting.
    I recently finished "A World Undone" written by G.J. Meyer and narrated by Robin Sachs. It is a complete account of WWI and though it is lengthy, both the book and narration were very well done and held my interest. I thought The Zimmerman Telegram would be a good supplement to it, but I could have skipped it...this version at least. Perhaps if the book was shorter and/or had more effective narration, I would have enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lloyd mollymook, Australia 03-06-13
    lloyd mollymook, Australia 03-06-13
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    "alonzo"

    I gave up on this book one of those books that you should enjoy, a competent author reaosnably narrated but doesn't entertain, inform, or hold ones interest.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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