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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 (2616 )
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4.3 (1917 )
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  •  
    Dustin 06-07-17
    Dustin 06-07-17
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    "wonderful"

    i really enjoyed it. very dense, but it changed my overal perspective on the events of ww1. it also gave me a new perspective on how easy it is to get in the mind set of rules of engagement, and how the rules can change the world in less then a month.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-01-17 Member Since 2017
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    "This is a WW1 staple..."

    It's a staple, but starts to drag on through the battle detail. Overall, very good though and you have listen/read it if you have an interest in WW1.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Park USA 09-12-17
    C. Park USA 09-12-17 Member Since 2016
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    5
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    "Does not flow"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    This is a very detailed technical book about the start of WWI. This was not a good book for me to listen via audio only. I may have had a better feel for the book if I had read it.


    Could you see The Guns of August being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    no


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 09-06-17 Member Since 2010
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    "outstanding"

    excellent analysis of missed opportunity, personality issues and assumptions. well narrated. I recommend this to anyone interested in history or in how we repeat the errors of yesterday today

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cbspock Holbrook, NY United States 07-18-17
    cbspock Holbrook, NY United States 07-18-17 Member Since 2007
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    "Not my favorite World War One book"

    The book concentrates on the opening of the war. If you are looking for a comprehensive book that covers the lead up to and the war itself this isn't h book to read. I would read this after reading a book that lays out the entire conflict

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Judith Pelham 07-14-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Excellent history!"

    This book gives an engaging account of the people and strategies involved in the beginning of WWII. It also draws a pictures of the places where momentous events took place. The narrator helps keep it straight through the use of accents and tone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ali 07-03-17
    ali 07-03-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Great book but missing something in audiob format "

    I have always wanted to read to Guns of August, based on how often Dan Carlin talked about it on his podcast, and also reading that JFK was a big fan and it contributed to his thinking and actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    As a book describing WW1 outbreak and the causes for it, I find it slightly not as thorough and engrossing. It is fantastically written (and read on audible) but I just didn't feel the details were there. As the main title describes though, the book is concentrated solely on the first month of the war, and for that it goes into great depth of detail and analysis on the actions of the commanders and different figures involved. It was more like a "play-by-play" of each commanders action (or inaction in John French's case) in the war, which I felt missed big part of its appeal on an audiobook form.

    I still enjoyed the book and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in WW1 but not in audiobook format (hence 3 stars). I found "The World Undone" to be a much much better and encompassing book, covering the outbreak and all phases of the war in a way that always highlighted the big picture (but then again, I read the physical in that case rather than listened to it on audible!)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Dapper 06-17-17 Member Since 2016
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    "A National War College Grad review...."

    Ms. Tuchman lays it all out. The origins and details of strategies, their execution, and the implications for the future are telling and when considered in light of subsequent history and works last JE The Revenge of Geography give us all an enlightenment that bears many lessons. Thank you to the reader, Ms Nadia May for making it all come to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terence H. 06-09-17
    Terence H. 06-09-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Teach it to your kids"

    What an amazing book that, after finally having listen to, I regret not reading much earlier on in life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    charles mueller 05-31-17 Member Since 2017
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    "A BRITISH narrator?"

    WHY?

    Barbara Tuchman was born in New York City, Jewish, daughter of a father who was a banker and art collector, and a mother who was the daughter of Henry Morgenthau, Sr., Woodrow Wilson's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.

    Why on EARTH would you choose an English voice???

    Incomprehensible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Tom
    West Wickham, United Kingdom
    11/10/11
    Overall
    "A fine and interesting book"

    Barbara Tuchman won a Pulitzer Prize for this book and it is easy to understand why. She deals with a massively important turning point in history and writes in such an uncluttered and interesting style, and strikes a nicely judged balance between the historical narrative and comment. But you do need to concentrate to keep a grip of the huge cast of characters and the foreign names!

    Superbly well narrated.

    The only problem with listening to audio history books with a military them is that unless your grasp of of the geography is very good, you occasionly need to resort to a map to keep track of what's going on. But this does not detract from the enjoyment of the book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Jim
    London
    10/25/11
    Overall
    "Completely gripping"

    The reviews for this book tempted me to get it despite a feeling that there surely couldn't be anything new to say about the first world war. However; it grips from the start to create a clear picture of what was driving the seemingly non-sensical start of world war one and how the first few months of the war unfolded. If all of that sounds a bit dry there are a sequence of gloriously bonkers characters amongst the ranks of Europe's nobility and military class which add fascinating human colour to the epic historical sweep

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Kirstine
    Bonnyrigg, United Kingdom
    5/22/14
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    "Not a good choice for an audio version"

    This is a book of highly detailed scholarship that lays out all the factors and players that led to the start of the First World War. However, I found it too densely packed with facts, lists and characters to work well as an audio-book.

    This audio version is an anniversary edition 25 years after the first publication and opens with a self-congratulatory introduction by the author who also felt no changes were necessary, which I found ironic as the first sentence of the book refers to Edward the Seventh as the King of England. Time and time again she refers to England and the English when it should have been Britain/United Kingdom and British. Particularly ironic, for example, when in one instance the Gordon Highlander Regiment is referred to within a few sentences. I acknowledge that many foreigners refer to the England when meaning the UK but an historian should know better.

    I enjoy history books but gave up on this one after a few hours. I have been listening to a series of war novels recently and found part one of Ken Follett's Century Trilogy "Fall of Giants" a moving account of World War One that was also informative about the factors that led to the start of that war but in a more digestible form.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • waynenigelsenior
    3/10/17
    Overall
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    "The Battles Between Empires and Behind the Scenes"

    Although there are chapters which cover events on the Eastern Front and the seas, the main focus of “The Guns of August” is the Western Front. The book firstly outlines the military thinking before the Great War began, and then explains the impact of the Great War on the military strategies of France and Germany.

    Barbara W. Tuchman brings to life the leading political and military figures, as she examines the conflicts behind the scenes between allies, and between actors of the same country.

    So “The Guns of August” isn’t just a book about the war between empires; it is a book about disagreements between allies, and between generals of the same country. It is France versus Belgium and Britain. It is John French versus Lord Kitchener.

    The final chapters build up to the Battle of the Marne, which rather than being covered in detail, is summarised as part of the afterword. The ending is therefore premature.

    The foreign accents may make it slightly more difficult to understand the quotes. Listen long enough, and you can hear the narrator sing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • debbie
    11/1/15
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    "A comprehensive and compelling introduction to WW1"

    This book considers the events of 1914 which led the various fractions within Europe to believe they had no alternative to war. In addition ‘The Guns of August’ continues past the causes of the war and continues to assess the various initial battles which had commenced in the West and the East and the various winners and losers.

    I found this book to be very easy to read and comprehend, some history books can be very dry and analytical. However within ‘The Guns of August” I found myself becoming quickly caught up in all the action and events. The writer uses a lot of detail about the events and the various protagonists which paints a vivid picture of their various appearances and characteristics. I found this extra details enabled me to be able to picture the events taking place over a hundred years ago and to feel present within the moment.

    A must read for anyone with an interest in history and World War One.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Linden
    BROMLEY, United Kingdom
    4/27/15
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    Performance
    Story
    "Not for me"

    I'm sure this is a book that I should have read hard-copy, rather than tried to listen to. I found it difficult to concentrate and remember what was happening, and the narration didn't help me. Shame, as I was very interested to hear the tales and explanations about this period.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Farniboy
    Wirral, UK
    2/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "World War I: The First Month"
    What did you like most about The Guns of August?

    Its just a great history book. In the centenary year of the start of the war I've decided to listen/read a few books about the war. I don't think I could have chosen a better place to start. Tuchman brings the war to life with her well researched book. bringing the characters of Moltke, Joffre and French to life. It deals with the events of the first month of WWI with the countries affected by the Schlieffen Plan.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was an easy listen! There are a lot of people and events to memorise, but Tuchman does it so well. I got a little confused with the Russian names involved in the Battle of Tannenburg in East Prussia but this was only one chapter. The battle scenes and events were described really well and you got to feel the exhaustion and confusion of the soldier as well as the plans, frustrations and organistion the generals had to do.


    Have you listened to any of Nadia May’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Nadia May's performance was superb. Considering it was a history of a war and all the voices baring a handful were male, she bought the people to life. Definitely someone I'd listen to again.


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

    You couldn't help but feel sorry for the brave Belgium people. The first European people to get a taste of total war.


    Any additional comments?

    A great listen. It does help if you know a little of the causes of WWI as the book doesn't deal very much with the Balkans, or the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Manish
    1/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant"

    loved this. great characterisations. beautifully read with the right amount of panache and gravity as required

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John
    Leeds, United Kingdom
    12/6/14
    Overall
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    Story
    "A Classic Account"
    Any additional comments?

    Tuchman's book has been around for a while, but it remains a very good account of the first month of the war. Some understanding of the basic geography of Europe is helpful to understand the movement of armies across territory, but listeners can always check a map between chapters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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