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Publisher's Summary

Master historian Barbara W. Tuchman looks at history in a unique way and draws lessons from what she sees. This accessible introduction to the subject of history offers striking insights into America's past and present, trenchant observations on the international scene, and thoughtful pieces on the historian's role. Here is a splendid body of work, the story of a lifetime spent "practicing history".
©1981 Alma Tuchman, Lucy T. Eisenberg, and Jessica Tuchman Matthews; Introduction copyright 1981 by Barbara Tuchman (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"A book to celebrate...A delight to read." (New York Times Book Review)
"Persuades and enthralls...I can think of no better primer for the nonexpert who wishes to learn history." (Chicago Sun-Times)

What listeners say about Practicing History

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Barbara Tuchman fan faced with reality

Great writers who chose to be a historian are rare. As a result I, and many others, have enjoyed Mrs Tuchman's eloquence in her many wonderful books. This sense that I was in the presence of the greatest historian was first tarnished when I saw a one star review of the Guns of August. I thought only a madman could hate such an accomplished piece. I read it and was further intrigued by the recommendations of 'proper' historians at the end. I bought these, and though less eloquently written, I began to see his point. But it was only with these essays, where Mrs Tuchman strays from her well structured histories into opinion, that the original one star complaint is laid bare. A sentence claiming a strong historians objectivity is swiftly followed by a stronger and arrogant subjectivity. To see a hero laid so bare and so low is probably an important life lesson, but still hurts and disappoints.

18 people found this helpful

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Enjoyed Barbara Tuchman’s Views

Excellent collection of works by a great historian who expounds on what she has learned from family connections (her grandfather was very rich and powerful and became an ambassador) and research. Great analysis on a wide range of subjects, including Israel, China, Vietnam, Woodrow Wilson, and Nixon. Truly she had a great meaningful career as a historian and voice of caution and reason for the present and future.

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Missing Table of Content :(

Such a simple thing as providing a Table of Contents is sadly missing making navigating impossible.

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Put me right to sleep.

I expect many will find these chapters interesting, and the reader is decent, but I just couldn’t get into it.

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A Great Mind Shares a Lifetime of Experience

One of the great historians of the Twentieth Century meditates upon the methods of her craft and the lessons of our history.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent and entertaining, but cut short

Barbara Tuchman’s prose is highly entertaining and the content highly enriching.

Unfortunately, it is cut short (in mid-sentence) at the end. Perhaps the administrators could investigate.

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Excellent essays - superb mind for diplomacy

Like the careful research and incisive analysis. A bit off about rights of women, but that shows how much progress has occurred since 1980. Also a bit off about Israel and how any imperialism or colonization engaged in by or for Zionists is NBD because they are such charming robust and vigorous people. Again, we have the benefit of 50 years of perspective. She gets right her analysis of flailing in Vietnam and China in late 1949s. Too bad she could not have been Secretary of State in those times. Gifted use of language and fearless editing. Does a nice job of skewering Kissinger flabby writing, timid editing, as well as immoral and wasteful policy. Interesting suggestion of cabinet style government. If writing today she might have 4/5 other proposed changes to the Constitution.

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  • Joe Partridge
  • 06-08-16

Understanding history

This was far better than I expected although I am a fan of Ms Tuchman. There was essay after essay explaining events I remember with the incisive eye and mind you get in her pure works of history.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-23-20

Classic Tuchman

Hilarious, insightful, and full of strong ideas about writing and history. Might not be a good place to start for those uninitiated, but for fans of Barbara Tuchman who've read at least a couple of her main books, u guarantee you'll love this.

1 person found this helpful