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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"Fascinating.... One of the finest works of history written.... A splendid and glittering performance." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    492
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    248
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    110
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    40
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    19

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
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August Illumination

Their is an old Military axiom that goes something like......No military plan survives the first few minutes of Battle.........Wow !! If you listen to The Guns Of August you just have to say.........You Got That Right.......There is no point in repeating the many positive things and reviews.It's a great meticulously researched book,compelling because it's both true and Tuchman makes you feel like it's happening right now.If there ever was a book deserving of the Pulitzer prize......This is it.
Two observations from among 100's
[1]The casual but efficient systematic German brutality is chilling not because they are evil people but because they are not.They fought the old way.The way Napolean,El Cid,Alfred the Great,Alexander might have fought.
[2]Unfortunately Kaiser Wilhelm was an insecure arrogant King who inherited rather than earned the respect of his people and Generals.Tuchman points out that he is a dinosaur who helped bring about the demise of his way of life.

Great books like this are priceless because in order to find out where you are going you need to know where you've been.

MG

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  • Daniel
  • Marietta, GA, USA
  • 10-30-12

Tuchman......well done

What did you love best about The Guns of August?

Great history.

What did you like best about this story?

Thorough treatment of the subject.

Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely.

Any additional comments?

This book is well-recognized for its thorough treatment of history. Despite the incredible detail, it is an easy and riveting listen. I highly recommend the audio version.

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  • Stephen
  • Whitstable, United Kingdom
  • 10-20-12

Brilliant

A really fascinating view of all the relevant events leading up to the start of the horrors of trench warfare. There are so many people, and the events so complicated, that her ability to make it comprehensible is very impressive.

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  • James
  • Wilton, CA, United States
  • 10-09-12

Great book, well written, odd performance.

Where does The Guns of August rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The book is superb--a classic. There is a reason Barbara Tuchman was a great author of popular (and serious) histories. This is the book that put her on the map.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Guns of August?

The entire book is memorable, as it nicely frames the utter insanity and futility of planned wars. It also highlights the senselessness of the underlying political disagreements that caused the war.

What three words best describe John Lee’s voice?

As a straight reader, he does a very good job. However, his performance goes off the rails when he affects various foreign accents when reading quotations attributed to the various historical characters in the novel. For example, when quoting Kaiser Wilhelm, he affects a very annoying, and not particularly convincing, German accent. He sounds like Artie Johnson lurking behind a potted palm. When he reads a quotation from a French figure, he affects a French accent, making him sound like someone trying to do an impression of Charles Boyer. It doesn't work and it's distracting to the narrative.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

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  • Sandee
  • White Cloud, MI, United States
  • 10-08-12

Slow at first! Give it a chance.

World War I is not my favorite period. It is confusing with the foreign characters but I stuck with it and paid more attention. I like to listen to my books when I am doing mundane chores. I had to do this book during my Dog Walks.

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History comes alive

What did you love best about The Guns of August?

According to Robert K. Massie's excellent foreword, Barbara Tuchman described herself as a writer whose subject was history. Although she was certainly scholarly in her approach, and very well educated, she was not a professional historian. She was an outstanding writer, with the ability to make historical figures come alive on the page. Her work is very well served by John Lee's outstanding narration.

  • Overall
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GOOD

Where does The Guns of August rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

YES

What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

EVEN

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

THIS REPRESENTS A RETELLING OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ERA IN RECENT HISTORY .... ALL ACTIONS RESOLVED FROM THE PREVIOUS CENTURY AND THE SETUP OF ALL ACTIONS IN THE FOLLOWING<br/>THE ACCENT OF MAN FROM SERF TO INDIDUAL, THE MECHANIZATION OF THE WORLD

Any additional comments?

A LOT OF PEOPLE TO TRY AND KEEP TRACK OF

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Excellent Summary of the War's Beginning

The reader provides a bit more drama to the work than I'd prefer for a work of non-fiction, but overall a good performance. The content, especially the detailed descriptions of the errors, miscommunications, and the way egos confused the war's beginning, is excellent.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • Cedar Rpids, IA, United States
  • 08-06-12

too much information. Good for scholars.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I needed an abridged version.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Excellent research.

Would you listen to another book narrated by John Lee?

Yes. Narrator was good

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Over analysis. It may have been good at the time it was written. But it needs a synopsis now. If the focus was on what happened after, it would have held my attention more. <br/>It was a clear illustration of the need for war to make changes that can't be made otherwise.<br/>The tradgedy of the human condition is that we have a limited view of the consequences of our actions while we are living them. W.C. Jacobson

Any additional comments?

Barbara Tuchman writes well. Her analysis was good. I knew the outcome, which made it tedious to plow through. wCJ

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • robert
  • United States
  • 07-30-12

In a word.... YAWN!!!

What disappointed you about The Guns of August?

This book was read like a junior high text book. It was painful to endure. I cannot believe this book was a best seller.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful