Best Selling Books by Barbara W Tuchman

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release date: Aug 03, 2004
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The Guns of August
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time

The Proud Tower, the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Guns of August, and The Zimmerman Telegram comprise Barbara W. Tuchman’s classic histories of the First World War era

In this landmark, Pulitzer Prize–winning account, renowned historian Barbara W. Tuchman re-creates the first month of World War I: thirty days in the summer of 1914 that determined the course of the conflict, the century, and ultimately our present world. Beginning with the funeral of Edward VII, Tuchman traces each step that led to the inevitable clash. And inevitable it was, with all sides plotting their war for a generation. Dizzyingly comprehensive and spectacularly portrayed with her famous talent for evoking the characters of the war’s key players, Tuchman’s magnum opus is a classic for the ages.
 
Praise for The Guns of August
 
“A brilliant piece of military history which proves up to the hilt the force of Winston Churchill’s statement that the first month of World War I was ‘a drama never surpassed.’”Newsweek
 
“More dramatic than fiction . . . a magnificent narrative—beautifully organized, elegantly phrased, skillfully paced and sustained.”Chicago Tribune
 
“A fine demonstration that with sufficient art rather specialized history can be raised to the level of literature.”The New York Times
 
“[The Guns of August] has a vitality that transcends its narrative virtues, which are considerable, and its feel for characterizations, which is excellent.”The Wall Street Journal


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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release date: Aug 27, 1996
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The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914

The Proud Tower, the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Guns of August, and The Zimmerman Telegram comprise Barbara W. Tuchman’s classic histories of the First World War era

During the fateful quarter century leading up to World War I, the climax of a century of rapid, unprecedented change, a privileged few enjoyed Olympian luxury as the underclass was “heaving in its pain, its power, and its hate.” In The Proud Tower, Barbara W. Tuchman brings the era to vivid life: the decline of the Edwardian aristocracy; the Anarchists of Europe and America; Germany and its self-depicted hero, Richard Strauss; Diaghilev’s Russian ballet and Stravinsky’s music; the Dreyfus Affair; the Peace Conferences in The Hague; and the enthusiasm and tragedy of Socialism, epitomized by the assassination of Jean Jaurès on the night the Great War began and an epoch came to a close.
 
Praise for The Proud Tower
 
“[Barbara W. Tuchman’s] Pulitzer Prize–winning The Guns of August was an expert evocation of the first spasm of the 1914–1918 war. She brings the same narrative gifts and panoramic camera eye to her portrait of the antebellum world.”Newsweek
 
“A rare combination of impeccable scholarship and literary polish . . . It would be impossible to read The Proud Tower without pleasure and admiration.”The New York Times
 
“An exquisitely written and thoroughly engrossing work . . . The author’s knowledge and skill are so impressive that they whet the appetite for more.”Chicago Tribune
 
“[Tuchman] tells her story with cool wit and warm understanding.”Time

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release date: Jul 12, 1987
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A Distant Mirror:  The Calamitous 14th Century
Barbara W. Tuchman—the acclaimed author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning classic The Guns of August—once again marshals her gift for character, history, and sparkling prose to compose an astonishing portrait of medieval Europe.
 
The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering age of crusades, cathedrals, and chivalry; on the other, a world plunged into chaos and spiritual agony. In this revelatory work, Barbara W. Tuchman examines not only the great rhythms of history but the grain and texture of domestic life: what childhood was like; what marriage meant; how money, taxes, and war dominated the lives of serf, noble, and clergy alike. Granting her subjects their loyalties, treacheries, and guilty passions, Tuchman re-creates the lives of proud cardinals, university scholars, grocers and clerks, saints and mystics, lawyers and mercenaries, and, dominating all, the knight—in all his valor and “furious follies,” a “terrible worm in an iron cocoon.”
 
Praise for A Distant Mirror
 
“Beautifully written, careful and thorough in its scholarship . . . What Ms. Tuchman does superbly is to tell how it was. . . . No one has ever done this better.”The New York Review of Books
 
“A beautiful, extraordinary book . . . Tuchman at the top of her powers . . . She has done nothing finer.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“Wise, witty, and wonderful . . . a great book, in a great historical tradition.”—Commentary
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release date: Mar 12, 1985
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The Zimmermann Telegram
The Proud Tower, the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Guns of August, and The Zimmermann Telegram comprise Barbara W. Tuchman’s classic histories of the First World War era
 
In January 1917, the war in Europe was, at best, a tragic standoff. Britain knew that all was lost unless the United States joined the war, but President Wilson was unshakable in his neutrality. At just this moment, a crack team of British decoders in a quiet office known as Room 40 intercepted a document that would change history. The Zimmermann telegram was a top-secret message to the president of Mexico, inviting him to join Germany and Japan in an invasion of the United States. How Britain managed to inform the American government without revealing that the German codes had been broken makes for an incredible story of espionage and intrigue as only Barbara W. Tuchman could tell it.
 
Praise for The Zimmermann Telegram
 
“A true, lucid thriller . . . a tremendous tale of hushed and unhushed uproars in the linked fields of war and diplomacy . . . Tuchman makes the most of it with a creative writer’s sense of drama and a scholar’s obeisance to the evidence.”The New York Times
 
“The tale has most of the ingredients of an Eric Ambler spy thriller.”Saturday Review
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release date: Feb 12, 1985
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The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam
Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Barbara W. Tuchman, author of the World War I masterpiece The Guns of August, grapples with her boldest subject: the pervasive presence, through the ages, of failure, mismanagement, and delusion in government.
 
Drawing on a comprehensive array of examples, from Montezuma’s senseless surrender of his empire in 1520 to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Barbara W. Tuchman defines folly as the pursuit by government of policies contrary to their own interests, despite the availability of feasible alternatives. In brilliant detail, Tuchman illuminates four decisive turning points in history that illustrate the very heights of folly: the Trojan War, the breakup of the Holy See provoked by the Renaissance popes, the loss of the American colonies by Britain’s George III, and the United States’ own persistent mistakes in Vietnam. Throughout The March of Folly, Tuchman’s incomparable talent for animating the people, places, and events of history is on spectacular display.
 
Praise for The March of Folly
 
“A glittering narrative . . . a moral [book] on the crimes and follies of governments and the misfortunes the governed suffer in consequence.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“An admirable survey . . . I haven’t read a more relevant book in years.”—John Kenneth Galbraith, The Boston Sunday Globe
 
“A superb chronicle . . . a masterly examination.”—Chicago Sun-Times
release date: Mar 01, 2012
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Barbara W. Tuchman: The Guns of August & The Proud Tower (Library of America)
Writing with a clarity, grace, and novelistic sweep rare among historians, Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989) distilled the complex interplay of personalities and events into gripping narratives that fuse rigorous scholarship with elegant literary art. An astute portraitist, she brilliantly laid bare the all-too-human failures of leaders subject to the pull of historical currents and prone, often tragically, to the ingrained biases of culture and temperament. Her Pulitzer Prize-winning best seller The Guns of August (1962) offers a majestic orchestration of the diplomatic and military history of the crucial first weeks of World War I. Tuchman's observations about the irrational escalation of conflict made a deep impression on President John F. Kennedy and influenced his actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis; fifty years later, The Guns of August remains an exemplary study of events propelled headlong by their own internal logic and momentum. Some of Tuchman's finest writing is contained in her following book, The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World before the War, 1890-1914 (1966), a fascinating kaleidoscope of eight precisely drawn essays on subjects ranging from international socialism and anarchism to the Dreyfus Affair in France and the birth of American imperialism that collectively set the stage for the cataclysm of 1914. Presented in one volume for the first time and released to mark Tuchman's centennial year and the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Guns of August, here is a vivid, indelible panorama of an epoch in transition.
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release date: Feb 12, 1984
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Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour
From Barbara W. Tuchman, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Guns of August, comes history through a wide-angle lens: a fascinating chronicle of Britain’s long relationship with Palestine and the Middle East, from the ancient world to the twentieth century.
 
Historically, the British were drawn to the Holy Land for two major reasons: first, to translate the Bible into English and, later, to control the road to India and access to the oil of the Middle East. With the lucidity and vividness that characterize all her work, Barbara W. Tuchman follows these twin spiritual and imperial motives—the Bible and the sword—to their seemingly inevitable endpoint, when Britain conquered Palestine at the conclusion of World War I. At that moment, in a gesture of significance and solemnity, the Balfour Declaration of 1917 established a British-sponsored mandate for a national home for the Jewish people. Throughout this characteristically vivid account, Tuchman demonstrates that the seeds of conflict were planted in the Middle East long before the official founding of the modern state of Israel.
 
Praise for Bible and Sword
 
“Tuchman is a wise and witty writer, a shrewd observer with a lively command of high drama.”The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“In her métier as a narrative popular historical writer, Barbara Tuchman is supreme.”Chicago Sun-Times
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release date: Jan 24, 2017
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Stilwell and the American Experience in China: 1911-1945
Barbara W. Tuchman won her second Pulitzer Prize for this nonfiction masterpiece—an authoritative work of history that recounts the birth of modern China through the eyes of one extraordinary American.
 
General Joseph W. Stilwell was a man who loved China deeply and knew its people as few Americans ever have. Barbara W. Tuchman’s groundbreaking narrative follows Stilwell from the time he arrived in China during the Revolution of 1911, through his tours of duty in Peking and Tientsin in the 1920s and ’30s, to his return as theater commander in World War II, when the Nationalist government faced attack from both Japanese invaders and Communist insurgents. Peopled by warlords, ambassadors, and missionaries, this classic biography of the cantankerous but level-headed “Vinegar Joe” sparkles with Tuchman’s genius for animating the people who shaped history.
 
Praise for Stilwell and the American Experience in China
 
“Tuchman’s best book . . . so large in scope, so crammed with information, so clear in exposition, so assured in tone that one is tempted to say it is not a book but an education.”The New Yorker
 
“The most interesting and informative book on U.S.–China relations . . . a brilliant, lucid and authentic account.”The Nation
 
“A fantastic and complex story finely told.”The New York Times Book Review
release date: Aug 12, 1982
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Practicing History: Selected Essays
Celebrated for bringing a personal touch to history in her Pulitzer Prize–winning epic The Guns of August and other classic books, Barbara W. Tuchman reflects on world events and the historian’s craft in these perceptive, essential essays.
 
From thoughtful pieces on the historian’s role to striking insights into America’s past and present to trenchant observations on the international scene, Barbara W. Tuchman looks at history in a unique way and draws lessons from what she sees. Spanning more than four decades of writing in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, Harper’s, The Nation, and The Saturday Evening Post, Tuchman weighs in on a range of eclectic topics, from Israel and Mao Tse-tung to a Freudian reading of Woodrow Wilson. This is a splendid body of work, the story of a lifetime spent “practicing history.”
 
Praise for Practicing History
 
“Persuades and enthralls . . . I can think of no better primer for the nonexpert who wishes to learn history.”Chicago Sun-Times
 
“Provocative, consistent, and beautifully readable, an event not to be missed by history buffs.”—Baltimore Sun
 
“A delight to read.”—The New York Times Book Review
release date: Jan 24, 2017
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Notes from China
A journalistic tour de force, this wide-ranging collection by the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning biography Stilwell and the American Experience in China is a classic in its own right.
 
During the summer of 1972—a few short months after Nixon’s legendary visit to China—master historian Barbara W. Tuchman made her own trip to that country, spending six weeks in eleven cities and a variety of rural settlements. The resulting reportage was one of the first evenhanded portrayals of Chinese culture that Americans had ever read.
 
Tuchman’s observations capture the people as they lived, from workers in the city and provincial party bosses to farmers, scientists, and educators. She demonstrates the breadth and scope of her expertise in discussing the alleviation of famine, misery, and exploitation; the distortion of cultural and historical inheritances into ubiquitous slogans; news media, schools, housing, and transportation; and Chairman Mao’s techniques for reasserting the Revolution. This edition also includes Tuchman’s “fascinating” (The New York Review of Books) essay, “If Mao Had Come to Washington in 1945”—a tantalizing piece of speculation on a proposed meeting between Mao and Roosevelt that would have changed the course of postwar history.
 
“Shrewdly observed . . . Tuchman enters another plea for coolness, intelligence and rationality in American Asian policies. One can hardly disagree.”—The New York Times Book Review
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