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The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914 by [Tuchman, Barbara]
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The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914 Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Length: 566 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Tuchman has a gift of recreating a period and a mood by an inspired selection of detail and sheer narrative sweep. A volcano of a book (Evening Standard)

Impeccable scholarship and literary polish. Impossible to read without pleasure and admiration (New York Times)

Tuchman tells her story with cool wit and warm understanding (Time)

Synopsis

A work of history which covers the period before the First World War. In it, the author looks at the world from the patrician society of Britain in the 1890s and early twentieth century to the worldwide anarchist movement.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 15995 KB
  • Print Length: 566 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00CNKQ0NG
  • Publisher: Penguin (5 Jun. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IB43Q62
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #267,929 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
& the ' new winds blowing hard through society'. Nothing is left out! Powerful & strong stuff although I quite enjoyed a WW1 book written by a woman. I think she must have lived in London at some point to give such good detail. I've also read The Guns of August but I preferred this because it was "far back".
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is, of course, one of the seminal works of history, and one that laid the foundations for much modern treatment of the conflict whose centenary we are interminably marking this year.

It stands, in my view, as one of the most accessible treatments of a complex subject and, even though all of us in some sense know 'what happened next', it manages nevertheless to be a page-turner.

Tuchman skewers the principal players with a telling phrase and is, as other reviewers have noted, understanding of human failures (von Moltke the Younger, Sir John French) as, formed in the latter case by a Victorian background, they tried to grapple with the unprecedented potential of early twentieth-century warfare.

I suppose that the causes of WW1 will always be a matter for debate, complex as they undoubtedly are, and it may be difficult to arrive at a neutral view of the extent to which Tuchman gets it right. But, right or wrong, this is a tremendous and moving read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read The Guns of August: The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Classic about the Outbreak of World War I a couple of years after its publication in 1962, and it was sufficient to "hook" me on Barbara Tuchman. I went on to read "The Proud Tower", likewise, a couple of years after publication in 1966, and have read (and reviewed at Amazon) STILLWELL and the american experience in china. I decided to re-read both of her `60's classics, agonizing which one should be first, ultimately settling on this one. I found her erudition and analysis just as dazzling, but a bit smoother the second time around, since I've had more than four decades of reading and experience "catching up" to her, who wrote "Guns" when she was 50, and the "Tower," when she was 54.

Tuckman makes some key points in her forward: This period was NOT a "Golden Era" or "Belle Epoque" for those who lived through it. Only after the horrors of the mindless slaughter of the "Great" War was it viewed through rosy-colored glasses, nostalgically, in part since there was that belief that with the tremendous technological improvements in the 19th Century that the life of the average human would continue to improve, and evolve so that wars would be obsolete. Hum. Also, as she says, she couldn't "find" a middle class (or lower class) to place in her account, so this is very much the history of the Big Men of the era (and it was men, with only a nod towards Emma Goldman or Rosa Luxemburg.
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By Mike Watkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 July 2015
Format: Paperback
I first read this about 30 years ago. Tuchman's style is hardly that of a historian. Very readable, she falls somewhere between the journalist & the novelist in style. Few historians would come up with such a lovely juxtaposition as "strenuous lethargy"! Thirty years the wiser, thirty years more widely read, I can see faults now that passed me by then. There is also the internet. A brief search will suggest that she is not regarded as the most rigorous & unbiased historian ever. Nevertheless, one should never read a history and imagine that it carries the whole story.

The author's biggest fault in this is her presumption - she'll refer to an incident of the time in a sentence without giving any further detail. You're supposed to know what she is talking about (if you're American, perhaps you might; but I doubt it!). With the 'net at our fingertips these days, it's easy to do a quick bit of research. Then or now, it remains presumption, and something of an irritation. But she sets out her intention in her introduction, and she fulfills that very well. This may be an incomplete view of the period before the Great War. Still, it is an interesting & entertaining one. Don't take it as gospel, but it's well worth reading, as well as being very readable. In absolute accuracy, it might be wanting. As something to round out your knowledge of the period that it covers, it is very valuable.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another book from this excellent author. "The Proud Tower" is a series of unconnected subjects that al happen between 1890 and 1910, some are vignettes of people, others of events. As always with Barbara Tuchmann, each chapter is full of information and yet told in a way that is compulsive reading. She is one of the pre-eminent historians of America and the reader should bear in mind that "The Guns of August" and "A Distant Mirror" are also published by Kindle.
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