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The Guns of August Audiobook

The Guns of August

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Publisher's Summary

In this Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, historian Barbara Tuchman brings to life the people and events that led up to World War I. This was the last gasp of the Gilded Age, of Kings and Kaisers and Czars, of pointed or plumed hats, colored uniforms, and all the pomp and romance that went along with war. How quickly it all changed...and how horrible it became.

Tuchman masterfully portrays this transition from 19th to 20th Century, focusing on the turning point in the year 1914: the month leading up to the war and the first month of the war. With fine attention to detail, she reveals how and why the war started, and why it could have been stopped but wasn't, managing to make the story utterly suspenseful even when we already know the outcome.

©1990 Dr. Lester Tuchman; (P)2005 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"More dramatic than fiction...a magnificent narrative¿beautifully organized, elegantly phrased, skillfully paced...The product of painstaking and sophisticated research." (Chicago Tribune)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (2657 )
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4.3 (1938 )
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4.3 (1955 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Joel 01-12-17
    Joel 01-12-17 Member Since 2016
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    8
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    "Excellent and fascinating world war one history"

    The narrator does an excellent job of putting the listener in the middle of the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy Ryan Phoenix. AZ 12-21-16
    Tammy Ryan Phoenix. AZ 12-21-16 Member Since 2006
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    235
    2
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    Story
    "So Slooooow"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    More narrative non-fiction


    Would you ever listen to anything by Barbara W. Tuchman again?

    No


    What didn’t you like about Nadia May’s performance?

    Didn't like the voice or tempo


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It was an award winner so this dislike may just be on me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    az-joe 12-03-16
    az-joe 12-03-16 Member Since 2015
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    "sorry didn't like it"

    struggled with it. expected more because of the Pulitzer. I have wanted to read this book for a long time, maybe I'm missing something but my interest just couldn't be maintained.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Rodman 11-09-16
    C. Rodman 11-09-16 Member Since 2017
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    62
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    "Not one to audiobook"

    While the reader did an admirable job, this was not an enjoyable audiobook for me. it was highly tactical with descriptions of organizations, chains of command, and troop movements. It's a book you would want to accompany with a map, a list of names and their roles, and a reference. It seems more a textbook account than a narrative which for my liking is better suited for print.

    That being said, The Guns of August provides an exceptional account and immense detail into the lead into and first 30 days of WWI

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    scwaldo 10-04-16
    scwaldo 10-04-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Reasons for the start of The Great War--and why it lasted so long"

    Seemingly painstaking research and careful examination of historical documents imparts to the listener the reasons for the start of this yet-another move by Germany to expand its territory. Mistakes made by the Germans during this month of August laid the ground for the prolonged battles that became known as World War I and paved the path to World War II.

    To me the narration by Nadia May would be ever so much more acceptable had she not intoned accented English for quotations of German, French, Russian, and Belgian speakers. And any other non-English speaker from any country I may have omitted. I cringed with embarrassment and great discomfort during passages of so-called translated speech. There are numerous sections which sound as though Marlene Dietrich is speaking them while portraying some of her movie characters. With this in mind, the affectations in reading the quotations might conjure the pleasure of Dietrich and the old movie palaces were the words not such brutal, dismal, and forboding material.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy M. Stark 10-02-16
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    "Ingenious Writer; Phenomenal Narrator"
    Would you listen to The Guns of August again? Why?

    Ms. Tuchman's insights, scholarship, and incisive turns of phrase are perfectly (PERFECTLY) matched and complemented with Ms. May's energetic and engaging narration. The text is alive with the writer's interpretive skills (and wit), and it is put on vivid display with the narrator's profound gifts (and enthusiasm).

    Since listening to this book, I have either bought or plan to buy every one of their "team-ups" and most things they've done separately.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    V. Davis Chattanooga, TN 09-22-16
    V. Davis Chattanooga, TN 09-22-16 Member Since 2016
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    "must read... I just wish there was more about the"

    war itself. but insofar as how the mother scratching thing got started in the first place....this is THE book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Pope 09-10-16
    John Pope 09-10-16
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    3
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    "Interesting and informative"

    Have a map of Belgium and France handy - you're gonna need it.

    An excellent read for history buffs.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matty B 09-01-16
    Matty B 09-01-16 Member Since 2016
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    6
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    "great and timeless"

    terrific read (listen). the narrative offer great insight into the first calamity of the 20th century whose after shocks are still being felt today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 08-31-16
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 08-31-16 Member Since 2011
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    "The Chess Moves But Not the Depth"
    Any additional comments?

    Barbara Tuchman’s favorite military philosopher, here at least, is Clausewitz. Through that Germanic perspective, she wants us to see the battles of the early months of World War I, the ones that led to the awful trench-war stalemate of All’s Quiet on the Western Front and the despairing backdrop of Hemingway’s work, as a game of chess. To that end, she resurrects all sorts of individuals responsible for the strategies and counter-strategies. We open with a roster of the kings of Europe, and throughout we get skillful, capsule biographies of one commander after another, someone whose quirk of personality contributed to the failure or success of his country’s troops. She imagines, in other words, the minds purportedly responsible for driving the outcome of the war.

    Leo Tolstoy’s favorite commander, at least in War and Peace, is Kutuzov, the aging general who blunts Napoleon’s march into Russia. As Tolstoy paints him, Kutuzov understands that planning can go only so far in battle. After that, you have to trust to a kind of spirit of the moment; you have to understand that war is not chess but rather a conflict of passions and preparations. Some select few may set events in motion, but war is ultimately an experience larger than any particular minds.

    Tuchman’s history is a history of would-be chess master generals, of men who live up to their training and conceptualization or men who fall short of theirs. It’s a striking history at times – it answers why one battle went one way and another the opposite – but it’s rarely compelling. She never looks to larger matters of warfare, to the enduring question of what makes an ordinary man carry a rifle into conflict with other men. She takes the “rules of war” as a given, and shows us how they play out.

    In the end, this becomes a succession of more of the same. As skillfully as she can turn a phrase, as concisely as she can boil down a clever sketch of someone or other, each battle begins to echo the last. One side wins on a front to put the other on its heels. The Germans move forward only to get bogged down.

    As I read this, I can’t help missing the grander vision of, say Michael Shaara in The Killer Angels, a writer who gets something of the Kutuzov understanding of war, or the larger human experience and tragedy of real conflict. In that much more gripping history, we see the stakes of the battle, and we’re called on to understand both the human character of each commander’s decisions as well as the human toll each loss entails. Shaara’s is a story told at a human eye-level that, piling scene upon scene, becomes epic.

    Tuchman’s, disappointingly, is an effort to show the technical aspects of an epic struggle that, excellent prose aside, never touches the deeper tragedy of its horrific topic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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