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Tuchman Barbara (2017 Most Popular Book Lists)

$8.32
1. The March of Folly: From Troy
$7.99
2. Bible and Sword: England and Palestine
$6.99
3. The Zimmermann Telegram
$10.95
4. A Distant Mirror:The Calamitous
$7.32
5. Practicing History:Selected Essays
$5.98
6. The First Salute
$11.99
7. Stilwell and the American Experience
$4.23
8. The Guns of August
$9.95
9. The Proud Tower: A Portrait of
 
$58.21
10. Notes from China,
 
11. Book: A Lecture Sponsored by the
$10.00
12. The Proud Tower:A Portrait of
$11.50
13. Stilwell and the American Experience
 
$18.98
14. A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous
 
$69.50
15. stillwell and the american Experience
 
$27.95
16. Distant Mirror: The Calamitous
 
17. The March of Folly: From Troy
 
18. Practising History
19. STILLWELL and the americanexperience
$89.62
20. Stilwell and the American Experience

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1. The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam
by Barbara W. Tuchman
Paperback: 447 Pages (1985-02-12)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$8.32
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0345308239
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
Twice a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, author Barbara Tuchman now tackles the pervasive presence of folly in governments through the ages. Defining folly as the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interersts, despite the availability of feasible alternatives, Tuchman details four decisive turning points in history that illustrate the very heights of folly in government: 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' persistent folly in Vietnam. THE MARCH OF FOLLY brings the people, places, and events of history magnificently alive for today's reader.
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Customer Reviews (56)

5-0 out of 5 stars Top Tuchman
Some of the best writing I've seen on how we got into the debacle of Vietnam; most interesting and readable essay on the American Revolution.

5-0 out of 5 stars Part of Personal Library
Barbara Tuchman is a master of both narrative and analytical history without boring the reader.She tells her stories with color and with interest, offering the reader a perspective that provides a new viewpoint. She pulls the reader out of the 21st century and puts them square in the middle of the century and time about which she is writing. She gives you an understanding of the times that made men and the men that made the times. She offers you portraits of the major and minor personalities that make you feel as if you know them and lived around them. Her "March of Folly" brings to front stage the stupidity of man's actions in creating history: past, present and unfortunately our potential future.

4-0 out of 5 stars Barbara Tuchman's Viet Nam book
About the book:
This is Barbara Tuchman's book on the Viet Nam book, although this is only hinted at in the title.The book begins with an interesting chapter that defines folly, as a policy in that is contrary to self-interest.The next chapter is on the wooden horse of the Trojan War, and why the Trojan's, contrary to their self- interest and with many warnings, took it into the city and precipitated their doom.This chapter is meant to focus on the idea that to be truly folly there must be a rational different choice (in this case not to take the horse into the city or at least to see what was inside of it).It also focuses on another idea that true folly is something that is clearly warned against, but that these warnings are unheeded.

The book then has two multi-chapter sections; one on the Renaissance Popes and the other on the British loss of America.The Renaissance chapter shows the papacy as an organization that was not focused on Christianity; rather these Popes were more focused on gaining power, personal aggrandizement and the use of the papacy to promote family interests.There was a sense that the church was too strong to fail so no changes were made in spite if many calls for change. The American Revolution section focused on the folly of British policy towards America.Again many voices were raised in opposition to these policies, but they were not heeded because of a complete lack of understanding of the colonists and the situation existing in the colonies, the feeling that victory was inevitable, and finally a complete lack of understanding that it was impossible to sustain what were shown to be misguided policies.

The preceding is, in my opinion, mostly supporting material for the last section (occupying about 40% of the book), which deals with the American involvement in Viet Nam.(I am using involvement instead of war because the section starts before America started fighting and ended after almost all the American troops had left.)Being written in 1985, only 12 years after the end of this involvement, it is largely colored by the passion that this conflict generated. History has become somewhat more nuanced since then, but the overwhelming opinion still supports her contention that American policy was one of folly, as defined by the preceding chapters of the book.

My opinion:
This is not Barbara Tuchman's best book.I do not think that it is on the same level as "The Guns of August", but few book are.In my opinion, while interesting, the Renaissance and American Revolution sections suffer because they provide a lot of detail, but do not provide a complete picture of these events.They were not meant to be comprehensive, but were only to highlight aspects of folly. Unfortunately, in my opinion, much more detail was provided than was necessary.I feel that this was a case where more was definitely less in that the concentration on details, some of which I felt were extraneous and detracted from the overall thesis of the book.Instead of being about 100 pages each, I think that these sections would have been better, more focused, if they were only about 20 pages.As it is, I felt that things were a bit repetitive and after a while I found myself racing through these sections, and this caused me to give the book four stars instead of five.I would have preferred more examples relating to different events.More importantly, the detail provided in these sections tended to focus me onto the specifics of events, rather than on the general question of folly.The same is true, only more so, of the Viet Nam chapters.

This book has a lot to teach us about folly and why governments and people support folly, but I would have liked more examples and more general discussion.I fear that focusing on only a few examples and mostly on one in particular, gives one the false impression that folly is limited and can be avoided.Folly did not end with Viet Nam, nor is it limited to the policies of any one nation; it is endemic to all and must be guarded against by all.Unfortunately, as noted in the Epilogue this plea has never been headed, so nations are condemned to fall in step with the march of folly.

4-0 out of 5 stars a review by a former Navy officer
Though written before 1989, what this book, by a recognised and outstanding author, shows by its description of the facts leading to America's war in Vietnam is far more relevant today to the major issues of our Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It should be read by every American over 17 years old, if America is going to stop its suicidal march towards folly.

4-0 out of 5 stars "when incapacity is joined by complacency, the result is the worst possible combination."
Before I even opened the book, I agreed with Tuchman's major thesis about folly. "Don't ascribe to conspiracy what can be explained by incompetence" is a motto that I frequently find myself repeating as I consider either business or politics. I also like Tuchman quite a bit as a writer, would probably describe her as one of my favorite historians.

Unfortunately, I found this book less satisfying than the other books that I have read by her. This may, in part, be because it is a book that she wrote much later in her life than, say, The Guns of August (my personal favorite so far of her works). It may just be that working with this kind of approach was more difficult than she thought before she began the project. It seems to me that the other books that I have read by her focused more on an event or period, and drew ideas and themes from her reflections on the same. This book begins with the idea, and draws from historical examples to support the thought. Harder, I think. And unfortunately less satisfying for this particular reader.

Which is not to say that the book fails to be worth reading. It breaks down into chapters on the Trojan War, the Renaissance Popes, The British loss of America, and US participation in Vietnam. Of these, I found the Renaissance Popes the most interesting. By this I mean that I learned the most from the chapter. The section on the British in North America would make an interesting counterpoint to Gordon Wood, but seemed at times to lose itself in detail. I had the feeling that the point of the book was to culminate with the chapter on Vietnam and it probably most hurt my experience that this section was the least compelling for me-- both in terms of its ideas and its prose.

If you haven't read any Tuchman before this, and are primarily interested in her as a writer, then I would start with The Guns of August before picking this up. If you're interested in the thesis, then this is probably a good acquisition, even if it is not the strongest of her works. ... Read more


2. Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour
by Barbara W. Tuchman
Paperback: 432 Pages (1984-02-12)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$7.99
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0345314271
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
With the lucidity and vividness that characterize all her work, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning historian, Barbara Tuchman, explores the complex relationship of Britain to Palestine that led to the founding of the modern Jewish state--and to many of the problems that plague the Middle East today.
"Barbara Tuchman is a wise and witty writer, a shrewd observer with a lively command of high drama."
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars A most excellent insight into history of impacts from the Bible...
This book was a really great read.This starts with the history of who could read the bible (priests mainly) up to the translation of the bible so that common man could read it (under King James and Henry VIII).With such an empowerment, the people of England broke from Roman Catholicism (and the influence of Puritism and Lutherism started), and the English people took up the cause for Israel, and in the long run, it lead to the twentieth century push for Israel to become a state. The book also covers Britains strategic move to keep conflict amongst the Turks, Arabs and Jews by establishing Israel amongst them.This book was really good with so many facts of history and presented neutrally.This is not Barbara Tuchman's best writing but it a very good book to understand the political control that the Bible had over the shaping of the countries today.Very good book!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Explains the historical roots of today's conflict in the Middle East
Do you know someone who wants to understand the roots of today's conflict in the Middle East? There's no better introduction than Barbara Tuchman's Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour.

Tuchman published this book--her first--with NYU Press in 1956, dedicated to the memory of her parents Alma Morgenthau and Maurice Wertheim. I had not heard of it before it turned up in my Amazon search for a copy of her classic, The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam, which I had wanted to read again for perspective on the current Iraq crisis.

I can't say enough good things about this study, which is a careful examination of the role of Britain in the Middle East over the centuries, with special attention to the origins of the Balfour declaration. Tuchman writes with verve and gusto, bringing to life characters from Richard the Lion Hearted to Mark Sykes, T. E. Lawrence, Lord Balfour, and Chaim Weizmann. She's particularly good at describing the conflict in British Jewry between anti-Zionists like Montagu and Montefiore and Zionists like Nathaniel Rothschild. The Manchester Guardian and Winston Churchill come out looking good. Lloyd George is the villain of the piece (she basically calls him a liar).

For Anglophiles, as well as those interested in Zionism, Evangelical Christianity, or the Middle East--or those just wanting to read a brilliant history book...

5-0 out of 5 stars bibliographic data provided by EarthTomes:
Author: Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim.
Title: Bible and sword; England and Palestine from the bronze age to Balfour [by] Barbara W. Tuchman.
Publisher: New York, Funk & Wagnalls [1968, c1956]
Edition Date: 1968
Language: English
Notes: "Reprinted without alteration from the original edition of 1956."
Includes index.
Physical Details: xiii, 412 p. illus. 21 cm.
Subjects: Zionism--History.
Great Britain--Relations--Palestine.
Palestine--Relations--Great Britain.

4-0 out of 5 stars Educational, but not her best work.
This is an interesting and educational read, although not as riveting or effective as Guns of August or First Salute. Of course, the topic is not as riveting. To describe the relationship between Britain and Palestine through the ages is a great challenge, given the rather unexciting nature of that relationship through most of the time at issue. The story necessarily includes a great deal of behind-the-scenes material that pales in comparison to the monumental affairs of war and revolution.

That being said, the topic is interesting and her treatment is detailed and very helpful. One reviewer complained that she discounted the effectiveness of evangelism toward the Jews, but her description is accurate, historically, in that there was no mass conversion such as the evangelists sought and hoped for. The book certainly focuses on British and not Arab sources, but that is perfectly correct because the book is not about the Arabs, but about Britain and its relation to Palestine, which was never a major player in the Arab world.

The book is worth reading if only for the detailed description of British attitudes in the 1800's and the astonishing fascination for restoring the Jews which gripped Britain in that time.

3-0 out of 5 stars Personal Opinions Impede Objectivity
The review by "hopefulskeptic" is an accurate summary and interpretation of "Bible and Sword."I would like to add my opinion regarding Barbara Tuchman's approach to writing this book.

During my reading of "Bible and Sword" I developed the impression that Barbara Tuchman wasn't objective about its subject matter.To be fair, she admits this in the foreword.However, I was surprised at the extent of her bias regarding one topic.This was evident when she made observations about the apparent lack of success Christians experienced in sharing their faith with Jews over a nineteen hundred year period.I've read a collection of books which draws a different conclusion.The collection is called "A History of Christianity" and was written by Kenneth Latourette.Latourette's research indicates that Christians experienced a modicum of success in witnessing to Jews during this period, excluding the Inquisition.Tuchman indicates in "Bible and Sword" that Christians had virtually no success.In fact, she states she cannot find any evidence of Jews converting to Christianity beyond a small number.This defies common sense.Given human nature there will always be people who voluntarily renounce their religion for another; Jews for Christianity, Catholics for Protestantism, Protestants for Judaism, etc.

Further, Tuchman displays thinly veiled contempt toward Christians who share their faith with Jews.Her tone is smug and is based in her belief that Judaism is a superior religion that no intelligent Jew would forswear for an inferior belief system, i.e. in her words, Christianity.She exposes her contempt at several points in the book.She gives no basis for her claim that Judaism is superior to Christianity.You as the reader are just required to accept her view as fact.My opinion is that once she ventured down this path she obligated herself to making her case.Actually, she could easily have told her account of history without offering her opinion on this topic.It didn't add anything to my understanding of the salient issues.

On these occasions she diverges from rational, objective analysis to an emotional defense of her religion.She is no longer an historian, but an apologist. This may be the outgrowth of a sense of persecution, which is understandable, but not fitting for a historian.

Her unrestrained attempt to coerce you into drawing a conclusion about an irrelevant issue, without providing adequate substantiation for her claims made me question her veracity on other topics she covered in subsequent books.Prior to reading "Bible and Sword" I had read "A Distant Mirror", "The March of Folly", "The Guns of August", and "Stilwell and the American Experience in China."

I qualify my criticism by noting that "Bible and Sword" was one of Barbara's Tuchman's earliest attempts at writing history, and that her style improved in succeeding works.However, better style should not imply more thorough research or honest exposition.

Let the reader beware: read more than one person's account of history before drawing any conclusions.Each historical account I've read (including Latourette's books) contains analyses that are influenced by the author's preconceptions. ... Read more


3. The Zimmermann Telegram
by Barbara W. Tuchman
Paperback: 256 Pages (1985-03-12)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$6.99
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0345324250
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
In the dark winter of 1917, as World War I was deadlocked, Britain knew that Europe could be saved only if the United States joined the war. But President Wilson remained unshakable in his neutrality. Then, with a single stroke, the tool to propel America into the war came into a quiet British office. One of countless messages intercepted by the crack team of British decoders, the Zimmermann telegram was a top-secret message from Berlin inviting Mexico to join Japan in an invasion of the United States: Mexico would recover her lost American territories while keeping the U.S. occupied on her side of the Atlantic. How Britain managed to inform America of Germany's plan without revealing that the German codes had been broken makes for an incredible, true story of espionage, intrigue, and international politics as only Barbara W. Tuchman could tell it. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (40)

4-0 out of 5 stars Second tier Tuchman
Not up to Barbara Tuchman's usual standard, but still worth reading.I found the section on Mexico very interesting and full of new information, more than the telegram itself. I thought the buildup to the telegram's release went on too long and was hyped, and lost interest in it by that time.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good but not Tuchman's best
I have to say, this is not near Tuchman's best work. It is filled with her par-for-the-course anti-German rhetoric, but is missing her usual colorful flair for storytelling. Despite what other reviewers have wrote, it's not great storytelling. It's decent storytelling, but not her best.

Read it with a grain of salt also. It is possible if not probable that the Zimmerman Telegram was fabricated, or in the very least, mistranslated for political purposes. Tuchman herself could not have known this when she wrote the book but she gives some clues unknowlingly in it that support that theory.

I gave it three stars because it does have some redeeming qualities, the description of the situation on the ground in Mexico in the years leading up to and during WWI is fascinating to say the least. But The rest of the book is a bit bland.

It was worth the purchase price, worth the time reading, but a little disappointing for me considering I have read most of her works. For some better examples of Tuchman's work, try "The Guns of August", for which she won the Pulitzer, or "The March of Folly"

5-0 out of 5 stars Another fine Tuchman book
"The Zimmerman Telegram" (1958) is another excellently written history by the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning "The Guns Of August" (1962). Writing with the same style and skill, Tuchman provides an important look at the crucial events that dragged the United States, kicking and screaming, into the First World War, even against the strong pacifism of the majority of Americans and the anti-war convictions of her president, Woodrow Wilson. "The Zimmerman Telegram" captures the flavor and atmosphere of a world facing its own worst fears. While many historians attempt to present the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 as the precipitate cause of U.S. entry, Tuchman correctly shows that only a specific and direct threat against the U.S. "forcing the nation to believe that Germany had hostile intentions toward America" would have turned the nation from anti- to pro-war. That threat came in the form of a telegram from Arthur Zimmerman, the German Foreign Secretary, sent to the German ambassador in Mexico suggesting a conspiracy to provoke an attack by Mexico on the United States, with the help of Japan. The goal was to involve the U.S. in a local war and prevent them from becoming involved in the European conflict. The "bait" for Mexico was the recovery of Texas and parts of New Mexico and Arizona taken by the United States in 1848. In her own inimitable style, Tuchman provides a strong understanding of the deep levels of conspiracy that had been going on in American-Mexican relations for years prior to the start of the war in 1914 and which continued even after U.S. entry into the war. She also shows the difficulties involved in revealing knowledge of the threat without jeopardizing cryptographer's ability to continue intercepting and decoding German secret messages. If read together, "The Guns of August" and "The Zimmerman Telegram" present a strong foundation for understanding history during the first half of the 20th Century. I highly recommend this short, but compelling work as supplemental reading for any student of United States history.

4-0 out of 5 stars Telegraphy
Good book.Have had it for years.Enjoyed it and often recommend it to World War II historians.

5-0 out of 5 stars It Might Still Be The War To End All Wars
I read books on war and how they are started with revulsed fascination. The bait is that there might be a key in each story to keep us out of a new war at some point. The lesson of Barbara Tuchmann's World War I histories is that powerful men in love with glory and delusions of destiny, such as the Kaiser and his war planners, are extremely dangerous people at all times.

The Guns of August is a masterwork on the massively insane origins of World War I, as well as the critical events of the first month of hostilities in 1914. Read this book before The Zimmermann Telegram if you need background on World War I.

The Zimmermann Telegram is a smaller work, completed before The Guns of August, which relates events leading up to American entry to the war in 1917, including German attempts at draw Mexico and Japan into the war, England's codebraking successes, and Woodrow Wilson's fierce, but ultimately futile resistance to involvement in the war.

When you've read these books, read All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, who survived years of trench warfare to write "the best anti-war novel of all time." (says the book's jacket, and I believe it.) ... Read more


4. A Distant Mirror:The Calamitous 14th Century
by Barbara W. Tuchman
Paperback: 704 Pages (1987-07-12)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$10.95
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0345349571
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
"Wise, witty, and wonderful . . . A great book, in a great historical tradition." Commentary

The 14th century gives us back two contradictory images: a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry, and a dark time of ferocity and spiritual agony, a world plunged into a chaos of war, fear and the Plague. Barbara Tuchman anatomizes the century, revealing both the great rhythms of history and the grain and texture of domestic life as it was lived.
Amazon.com Review
In this sweeping historical narrative, Barbara Tuchman writes of the cataclysmic 14th century, when the energies of medieval Europe were devoted to fighting internecine wars and warding off the plague. Some medieval thinkers viewed these disasters as divine punishment for mortal wrongs; others, more practically, viewed them as opportunities to accumulate wealth and power. One of the latter, whose life informs much of Tuchman's book, was the French nobleman Enguerrand de Coucy, who enjoyed the opulence and elegance of the courtly tradition while ruthlessly exploiting the peasants under his thrall. Tuchman looks into such events as the Hundred Years War, the collapse of the medieval church, and the rise of various heresies, pogroms, and other events that caused medieval Europeans to wonder what they had done to deserve such horrors. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (121)

5-0 out of 5 stars Makes You Wonder How Humankind Made It!
Barbara Tuchmann is an amazing writer.I have no idea how she immersed herself into the arcane details of all this history (and all the places it came from, in different languages, using different calendars, etc.), and comes up with a coherent, readable, lively tale of history like this one.I enjoy history when it's well-written, and she takes the cake.She provides facts, the context of the facts, and explains how these facts influences everything else.For example, we have all heard about the plague, right?The fact that it affected different locations differently, what people did in an attempt to contain or escape the plague are very interesting.With a substantial decline in population (up to 90% in some locations), this created problems for entitlement to property, ability to grow crops, and other basic elements of organized (let alone civilized) living.

I LOVE how Ms. Tuchmann mentions TAXES:how they were levied, collected, used (or mis-used), and levied again.Chivalry was, in a word, a complete farce.Preparation for war involved tournaments to "practice" skills that, it turns out, bore no resemblance to the conditions encountered.More importantly, it involved pouring the majority of the taxes into sumptuous clothing, banners, feasts, and other activities of conspicuous consumption to impress all those around.The outcome of the war was almost irrelevant, as those returning home (whether victorious or decimated) were feted again - again, funded by new rounds of taxes.

She also highlights the very first seeds of actions that sometimes took centuries to come to fruition, including the Reformation, land ownership, and rule by consensus.

The thickness of the book is intimidating, but once I got going, it was a good read.There are so many people involved, it's hard to keep the dance card straight - but if you follow about a dozen key characters (about the amount in your typical TV drama or soap opera), that's enough.You get the idea that royalty married other royalty by arrangement and for political gain, that people switched allegiances to suit their own purposes, and whoever could afford the most mercenaries usually won their war.

I'd love to find the Ms. Tuchmann of our time who would write as concise a picture of our own time.


3-0 out of 5 stars Well Researched History Becomes Tedious
Barbara Tuchman is an extremely detailed and descriptive historian, having published numerous, well received books on a wide variety of subjects.In this tome, she examines "The Calamitous 14th Century", through the eyes of a French nobleman of the era, Enguerrand de Coucy.

In selecting Enguerrand, Tuchman has identified a well documented, strategically placed, typical upper class French noble man who as fate would have it, was directly involved in many of the seminal events of the era.While in some cases we have documentary evidence of this, due to the scanty published record for the era, Tuchman is forced to concede that in others, it was possible that he, or others very much like him took a part.Thus we have the Forrest Gump of the 14th century.

While much of the history from the era is fascinating (in a train wreck, grisly kind of way), the detail involved turns at times sleep inducing.Where many references are treated in other accounts to a paragraph, the same events consume pages and chapters in Tuchman's history.This is not an indictment on Tuchman, however it turns parts of the book into a work resembling a text book as opposed to strictly pleasure reading.As I do most of my reading at night, I can gauge my interest by whether or not I read late into the night.In this case, many times I found myself nodding off after 20-30 minutes; not an endorsement.

Having read a number of accounts and histories from the era, I had a relatively sound background and familiarity with many of the actors and regions covered by this book.Those encountering both for the first time, however, will likely find themselves dazzled by the names, titles, shifting alliances and impenetrable family trees of those involved.This is not an indictment on the author as much as a hazard for anyone seeking to bring some sense to the subject.It is hideously complicated at times.

In a nutshell, if you are a serious student of history, particularly the era surrounding the Hundred Years War, this is the book for you.If you're looking solely for entertainment, read Pillars of the Earth.

5-0 out of 5 stars Only for the student of history
Initially I bought this book to gift a history student who requested it.Before I could give it to him I started to read it and became so captivated that I kept the book and bought him another book!
What was wonderful about this history was the way Tuchman brought together the social,
economic, religious and artistic influences of the period and how the Black Plague
disrupted life throughout Europe. This book is not for those who want a light, quick
overview. There are many footnotes supporting the work.The few times where the references were few or non-existent, Ms Tuchman tells the reader those parts and how she dealt with it.

While reading on a plane a woman beside me commented that some books are merely to be read, while "this book is to be read, chewed and digested." She was right.This book opened up the 14th century like no other.One note of warning; the papacy and what was going on with the Catholic Church during this time was quite an eyeopener and this may explain some of the low marks by some reviewers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Intensely interesitng
This book will open your eyes to the many parallels to our modern society and the 14th century

5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant overview of 14th century Europe
I have read other books on 14th century Europe in the past, but none which bring the century alive in all it's glory, depravity and horror like this book. The author uses the Sire de Coucy as the vehicle to tell this story and he is a good choice. He was important in his time, a high noble of France who was married to the King of England's favourite daughter who was involved in many of the major wars during the century - and what a century it was!

This is a big book, dense with a lot of information. The author has obviously delved deeply into archives in Europe to give us a look at life from 1300-1399 as Europe was scoured by plague, brigands, multiple popes and never-ending war.That even in the face of apparent extinction the nobles could not stop fighting is a sad indictment both on mankind and the failure of chivalry to protect anything except it's incessant need for tournaments.

This book gives you a feeling of both breath of vision and an attention to detail. You are provided with clear explanations for events, or when conflicting records exists the "or" option. While there is probably a greater emphasis on France than any other country you still get a good look at how the century impacted England, Italy and Switzerland. No matter how bad you might think things are today all you do is have to look at this century in any depth to know how fortunate you are to not be experiencing what many thought in their lifetime was god's abandonment of humankind and the end of the world. This book is highly recommend to anyone who likes a well written history or is interested in the medieval world and you can easily see many of the seeds of the modern world were created in this period.


... Read more


5. Practicing History:Selected Essays
by Barbara W. Tuchman
Paperback: 320 Pages (1982-08-12)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$7.32
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0345303636
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
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. Here is a splendid body of work, the story of a lifetime spent "practicing history." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This should be compulsory reading for everybody in positions of power and influence. The essays may have passed into history, but their verities remain. The anguish caused by political and commercial stupidity and its by-product of war would be lessened if power brokers learnt from history. War is folly, as this great historian wrote many years ago. Will people ever learn? I cannot use the word 'humanity' when I think of what we do to others.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dismissal is not an option
Somewhat dated, perhaps. But, Mrs. Tuchman's insights in "Practicing History" are timeless in key points on the myth of objectivity and keeping the historical context of events in view.In our day, history seems dependent on the historian's political slant with few exceptions and Mrs. Tuchman speaks to that trend years before it became so obvious. Her words also speak to the growth of the post-world war one cynicism that seems as prevalent (perhaps more so) a century later.So-called "professionals" of all fields are sometimes easily offended or threatened by what Mrs. Tuchman calls "independent" communicators in their field.Attempting to dismiss or marginalize the independent/amateur is not a response to the issues they raise.Only an independent could have written this book and challenged the "professional" establishment. And few independents have the credentials to do so as Mrs. Tuchman has.

This book is ideal for communicators in the field of history and historical fiction. Whether one agrees with her or not, dismissing Mrs. Tuchman is no option for the serious historian - professional or independent.

5-0 out of 5 stars Barbara Tuchman for Dinner
I love the feeling that I'm picking the brain of BWT. Her methods of writing and observations are worthwhile for a lifetime. The humility the author has toward fact gathering benefits all her readers. This collection is first a delight to any fan of the woman herself, and second a tool for learning about good history writing. A bonus third point is for history novices like me- a crash course on several topics of interest. A "crash course" from Barbara Tuchman is possibly an experience of the most concise, informative and comprehensive summary on a subject you'll find.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get it for the Two Essays on The Historian
"Practicing History", by Barbara W. Tuchman, sub-titled "Selected Essays".Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, 1981.

This book is a collection of essays written by the noted Historian, Barbara W. Tuchman (e.g. "The Guns of August"), over the course of her long career.In my humble opinion, for the novice historian, the most interesting essays are, "The Historian as Artist" (pages 45-50), "The Historian's Opportunity", (pages 51-64).In these two essays, Ms. Tuchman challenges the budding historian to not only collect facts, dates and events, but rather to write History so the end product is as engaging as modern novel, BUT, based upon excellent scholarship. Ms. Tuchman is a proponent of "narrative" History, where the facts "...require arrangement, composition planning just like a painting - Rembrandt's 'Night Watch`" (page 49). These two essays would enhance any course in Historiography.

Some of her remaining essays are a bit dated, but provide keen insight into the times, as in Tuchman's "Japan: A Clinical Note", (pages 93-97).Her essays on Israel tend to be a bit chauvinistic, in the sense thatthe author's objectivity slips and she can find very little wrong with the budding Jewish state in what was once Palestine. The essay, "Perdicaris Alive or Rasuli Dead" (pages 104-117), is very entertaining, particularly if you are interested in New York's Teddy Roosevelt.All in all, the first section of this book, (called "The Craft"), includes essays that should be required reading for a student beginning graduate work in History.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tuchman on a smaller scale
These essays allow the reader to enjoy Barbara Tuchman's incisive historical analysis and sharp wit in small doses.Most of the essays were written in the 1950s or 1960s or even earlier, but they are still fresh and pointed. Reading Tuchman is like listening to your favorite history professor.She'll tell a dramatic story and finish up with some wry observations that will keep you thinking long after. ... Read more


6. The First Salute
by Barbara W. Tuchman
Paperback: 368 Pages (1989-09-06)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$5.98
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0345336674
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
"Narrative history in the great tradition . . ." Chicago Tribune
Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and bestselling author Barbara W. Tuchman analyzes the American Revolution in a brilliantly original way, placing the war in the historical context of the centuries-long conflicts between England and both France and Holland. This compellingly written history paints a magnificent portrait of General George Washington and recounts in riveting detail the events responsible for the birth of our nation.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (49)

4-0 out of 5 stars The First Salute
Book arrived on time and in great condition.Payment was easy and fast.No issues noted.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed
This book is a sleeper.It was a revelation to me, who was born and grew up with American history all around, a few miles from Yorktown, and have also visited many of the Caribbean locations involved.I kept saying to myself "Why haven't I heard this from anybody else before?"It must not have had the broad success of Ms. Tuchman's other books because it is more specialized and in some cases more detailed.The description of the Spanish Netherlands' struggle for liberation from Spain may seem tedious, but Ms. Tuchman rightly felt it was essential to understanding why the Dutch warmed to the American cause.

It focuses on an aspect of the Revolutionary War not many people know about, the events at sea that concered trade and its interdiction, the Caribbean, and how the French and Dutch got involved through that.It also helps you follow the inept British management of the war, and the final pages that recount General Washington's march with his and French troops to Virginia to meet Lafayette and corner Cornwallis are gripping and fascinating.Fortunately for the Americans, everything fell into place at the time.The reader comes away with an enhanced appreciation of Washington's generalship, but also how he got lucky in the summer and fall of 1781.

It is generally well written, with some gentle editorial comments from the author that add to the charm, and there are lots of interesting facts that have probably escaped many readers:I hadn't known George III had drafted, but then was persuaded not to present, an abdication message after he learned of the events at Yorktown, for instance; or that his son, the future William IV, arrived in New York as a possible future governor of Virginia less than a month before Cornwallis's surrender.(Bad timing, eh?)It is a quite a good read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Tuchman's discursive view of the American Revolution
This is an interesting take on the American Revolution. It unfolds in a discursive, indirect manner, so that getting from A (a cannon salute by the French colony at St. Eustatius in the West Indies to an American ship, representing the first recognition of the revolutionary government) to Z (Washington's triumph at Yorktown) is nonlinear.

Sometimes this is frustrating, as one asks: "Where is this narrative leading us?" But Tuchman writes well (one time, she associated an army marching ahead, living off the land as a "devouring incubus" [Page 244]). There are layers of detail that provide a rich tapestry.

The book, once it begins moving, provides a telling tale of the politics among nations--England, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United States. A minuet of great power politics.

The discussion of Washington's coming to terms with a battle at Yorktown rather than New York is well told. Just so, one gets some insight to key French actors, such as General Rochambeau or Admiral de Grasse. Also, the mediocrity of English leadership--at sea and on land--is well described.

All in all, an interesting take, although the indirect development of the work can be almost maddening at times.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite book on the American revolution
As a history buff, this book is actually my favorite one on the American Revolution.Definitely not a dry boring history facts book, in fact quite the opposite.It's hard to categorize or classify her writing style, I just enjoy it and the book somehow brings a different perspective and insight into the founding of our grat country.MY HIGHEST RECOMMENDATIONS !!

3-0 out of 5 stars A roving glimpse of America's birth - 3-1/2 stars
This work's subtitle (`A View of the American Revolution') is accurate: it's one vista rather than a comprehensive history. Like much of Tuchman's work, it's an accessible and interesting account with fresh insight on the rebels and their European enemy and allies in the late war years.

The episodic text sometimes seems to wander (the longest of the twelve chapters deals with British Admiral Sir George Brydges Rodney), but ultimately rewards the reader with a coherent message: the American Revolution wasn't simply a domestic divorce - it benefited from (and largely succeeded because of) continental rivalries.

Poignant accounts of rebel leaders (Washington, Franklin, Morris, etc) are matched to their perilous links with their allies in the Netherlands and France. One learns French regular troops at Yorktown outnumbered American colonial regulars (without including troops on de Grasse's 31 ship fleet); French funds paid for rebel wages, supplies, and arms; and that Bourbon France incurred a 1.5 billion livre ($375 million) debt for the pleasure of helping defeat rival Britain (it led to the bankruptcy and fall of the ancien régime in 1789).

Tuchman could have embellished her case with Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (watchmaker, inventor, playwright of `The Marriage of Figaro' and `The Barber of Seville') who served as clandestine French conduit for rebel funds and arms before Saratoga in 1777 (and narrowly escaped execution in the French Revolution). The ultimate destiny of de Grasse, Rochambeau, and Lafayette would also have been interesting (for Lafayette's later history read Simon Shama's `Citizens').

Nonetheless, `The First Salute' is worth reading (I first read it in hardcover in 1988 and still admire it). ... Read more


7. Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45
by Barbara W. Tuchman
Paperback: 624 Pages (2001-10-07)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$11.99
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0802138527
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
Barbara W. Tuchman won the Pulitzer Prize for Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45 in 1972. She uses the life of Joseph Stilwell, the military attache to China in 1935-39 and commander of United States forces and allied chief of staff to Chiang Kai-shek in 1942-44, to explore the history of China from the revolution of 1911 to the turmoil of World War II, when China's Nationalist government faced attack from Japanese invaders and Communist insurgents. Her story is an account of both American relations with China and the experiences of one of our men on the ground. In the cantankerous but level-headed "Vinegar Joe," Tuchman found a subject who allowed her to perform, in the words of The National Review, "one of the historian's most envied magic acts: conjoining a fine biography of a man with a fascinating epic story." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (44)

3-0 out of 5 stars Sisyphus In Asia
U.S. Gen. Joseph Stilwell had a boundless appetite for problem-solving, but in China he discovered a problem even he couldn't handle. Barbara Tuchman's 1970 history uses Stilwell as the foreground figure to address the question of China's underperformance in World War II and its subsequent conversion into America's communist adversary.

Without denying Tuchman's basic soundness and readability, I found myself interested in "Stilwell And The American Experience" less for what it said about Stilwell than what it said about the time the book was published. In 1970, the U.S. was mired in a painful Asian war after extracting ourselves from another some 20 years before. The anti-communist "witch hunts" of the 1950s were recent history. Tuchman clearly writes from what Gore Vidal would call an "anti-anti-communist" perspective, bemoaning the lack of a Stilwell-led U.S. drive to kick out China's Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek in favor of Mao Tse-tung.

"What course Chinese Communism might have taken if an American connection had been brought to bear is a question that lost opportunities have made forever unanswerable," Tuchman opines here. "The only certainty is that it could not have been worse."

This wasn't Stilwell's perspective, however. A political conservative who undertook his assignment as America's man in China helping against the Japanese invader with an optimistic mindset regarding Chiang, he quickly soured on the petty, louche dictator he dubbed "Peanut". As Tuchman makes clear here, Chiang was uninterested in fighting Japan after 1941, figuring correctly if selfishly that the U.S. and its allies would do that job. Chiang was out for Chaing, soaking his allies for cash and supplies to prop him up against the Communist rebels in the north.

The situation makes for a compelling read - for a while. Then, as Tuchman proceeds to make the same points over again, about Chiang's indifference and Stilwell's frustration, I began to wonder if this was too much book for too little story. I think it was.

"He did not have the tact or capacity to deal with opinions which he held in contempt, and contempt came to him easily," Tuchman writes, though much more of the book is spent validating Stilwell's contempt for both his Chinese and British allies than documenting why venting his spleen wasn't a good idea. Truthfully, it's hard imagining any other reaction to either Chiang's profiteering or his conniving wife's airs of snobbish entitlement. Patton, De Gaulle, and Bernard Montgomery were handfuls, too, but Dwight Eisenhower managed somehow. Stilwell didn't, a fact Tuchman acknowledges only grudgingly.

The book is best at the beginning. Tuchman frames the physical and political landscape of China in vivid detail, obviously filtered from her own experience as a traveling reporter before the war. Stilwell began his China career just before World War I, and Tuchman lays out the varied personalities of the warlords Stilwell had to work with in those days. Whether building a road in west-central China or leading a march of war refugees through Burma, Tuchman develops in Stilwell a compelling central figure for some worthy adventure stories well-told.

A pungent truth-teller with a gift for the withering wisecrack, Stilwell left behind a readable record Tuchman often uses to good effect. But the fact he was a good man in the wrong job seems to pass her by, even as she spends nearly 600 pages all but spelling it out.

5-0 out of 5 stars No balsamic vinegar for Joe
Fantastic book by Tuchman--not to be missed. What a great writer and historian, love her style, intelligence and common sense.

4-0 out of 5 stars Stilwell Versus the Rest.
I had difficulty getting into this book as the early chapters were as much, if not more, about China than about 'Vinegar Joe'. But by the middle of the book I was enthralled by what the General achieved, and obviously at such a price. Should he have been a Corps Commander with General Eisenhower? By the story told here I would have thought so. He had so many nightmares to overcome and always stuck to his guns. His march back into India is a classic tale that should be used as essential reading for all aspiring officers. Dealing with General Chang Kai-shek alone would have been enough for most people, but to cope with the added weight of the British Raj as well deserves high praise. English historical books containing comments about him are less than favourable. This is one reason that I bought the book - to find out more about him from a US perspective. I have ended up full of admiration for what the General achieved. He is my type of General - one who I would have enjoyed working with. I would definitely use this book as study material for all military history courses. A jolly good read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating tale of conflict and integrity.
Barbara Tuchman writes history as it should be written, with strict respect for the facts and an accumulation of facts to support her narrative. This book is an immense achievement and a reader will learn much. One reason the reader will learn much is that this period of world history, China from 1915 to 1950, is a topic rarely taught to Americans in our school system. World War II history focuses so much on Hitler and Europe and Japan and the Pacific island conflicts, that we know little about the conflict in China, its origins, and its consequences. However as the book points out, this was not always the case. Prior to 1940, Christian churches in the United States sent thousands of missionaries into China. These missionaries returned with uplifting and inspirational stories of the Chinese people and the conversions to Christianity. Thus when the Japanese attacked China, the Christian community in America, both Catholic and Protestant, were enraged at the Japanese. The character of Joseph Stilwell, the rugged determined military leader and diplomat, is fascinating. He became immersed in Chinese life and his vast knowledge of the language, culture, and power structure of China allowed him to make great accomplishments. Just as fascinating was the husband and wife team who were Stilwell's partners and nemesis, General Chiang Kai-shek and his savvy wife.Stilwell is an odd hero. He was brilliant in both military and diplomatic strategy. However, he remained frustrated because of the military strategies employed by Chiang Kai-shek, a man who understood benefits of inaction rather than action and a wife who could sway public opinion due to her vast familiarity with American culture and values. Stilwell found himself in that classic position where Chiang Kai-shek tired to manipulate the Communists into fighting the Japanese and Mao tried to manipulate the Nationalists into fighting the Japanese. Stilwell seems to have been in a constant state of fury and anxiety as the Japanese made considerable inroads into China, occupying far vaster amounts of the country than most Americans were or are aware. Eventually Stilwell's military philosophy and Chiang Kai-shek's administrative style creates some sparks and ill will. Despite Stilwell's years in China, it is Mao and Chiang Kai-shek who fully understood China, its people, and its long history. Both Mao and Chiang Kai-shek played a patient long term game whereas Stilwell with his American sensibilities wanted action, not patience. If you have ever been in a no-win situation where there were insufficient resources and internal conflicts among leaders, you will appreciate the sense of reality that Tuchman brings to this fascinating tale.

5-0 out of 5 stars Valuable history-based insights into the U.S. - China relationship
Tuchman's detailed history describes U.S. General Joseph Stillman's experiences in China, including his arduous campaign to remove the Japanese from the country during World War II. It provides a very useful context for modern China's complex relationships with the United States, Japan, and other countries in Asia. The military descriptions represent one of the best accounts I've read of the value of perseverance against seemingly impossible odds. ... Read more


8. The Guns of August
by Barbara W. Tuchman
Mass Market Paperback: 640 Pages (2004-08-03)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.23
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Asin: 0345476093
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
"More dramtatic than fiction...THE GUNS OF AUGUST is a magnificent narrative--beautifully organized, elegantly phrased, skillfully paced and sustained....The product of painstaking and sophisticated research."
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman has brought to life again the people and events that led up to Worl 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.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (186)

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb survey of WWI
I have always wanted to read Ms. Tuchman when it came to this Pulitzer Prize winning work about the first month of WW1 and some interesting events prior. By far this is a fantastic work and anyone who wants a different take on WW1 that is not rundown with a Phd historian or over saturated work with thousands of pages will enjoy this work. My only issue was my decision to buy the mass market edition, although smaller and easier to take with you, the maps in this edition are much harder to decipher. In addition, some of the phrases Ms. Tuchman uses in her quotations from the many leaders and military personnel that are introduced to us in this work are not translated into English and she does not always provide the translation in parenthesis. Otherwise add this book to your history bookshelf because it is on mine.

5-0 out of 5 stars As good as it gets
Should be required reading for anyone studying the era.Excellent information combined with superior writng skill

5-0 out of 5 stars The Guns of August
This is the single best book about the Great War that I have ever read. No other author has ever managed to clarify the causes of World War 1 to me so wonderfully, and no other book has explained how and why the Western Front became so deadlocked and so terrible so fast. The book is exceptionally well written, and should be part of any reader's curriculum of study for understanding the Great War.

5-0 out of 5 stars A neccessary book for the collector
My review title says it all. If you are a serious reader of world war one histories then this book needs to be on your shelf. Occasionally (and just occasionally) the tactical descriptions of various combat encounters get a little dry but the first part of the book dealing with the outbreak of the war is one of the best going. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Slogging through France
I found it a slog to get through the buildup to the battles and the battles themselves, and would have preferred a broader treatment of the whole war.Not my favorite BT book, which is probably her volume on Stilwell, because it illuminates so much about the time, and does not get lost in the Ardennes. ... Read more


9. The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914
by Barbara W. Tuchman
Paperback: 544 Pages (1996-08-27)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$9.95
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Asin: 0345405013
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
"The diplomatic origins, so-called, of the War are only the fever chart of the patient; they do not tell us what caused the fever. To probe for underlying causes and deeper forces one must operate within the framework of a whole society and try to discover what moved the people in it."
--Barbara W. Tuchman
The fateful quarter-century leading up to the World War I was a time when the world of Privilege still existed in Olympian luxury and the world of Protest was heaving in its pain, its power, and its hate. The age was the climax of a century of the most accelerated rate of change in history, a cataclysmic shaping of destiny.
In The Proud Tower, Barbara Tuchman concentrates on society rather than the state. With an artist's selectivity, Tuchman bings to vivid life the people, places, and events that shaped the years leading up to the Great War: the Edwardian aristocracy and the end of their reign; the Anarchists of Europe and America, who voiced the protest of the oppressed; Germany, as portrayed through the figure of the self-depicted Hero, Richard Strauss; the sudden gorgeous blaze of Diaghilev's Russian Ballet and Stravinsky's music; the Dreyfus Affair; the two Peace Conferences at the Hague; and, finally, the youth, ideals, enthusiasm, and tragedy of Socialism, epitomized in the moment when the heroic Jean Jaurès was shot to death on the night the War began and an epoch ended.
"Tuchman [was] a distinguished historian who [wrote] her books with 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
"Tuchman proved in The Guns of August that she could write better military history than most men. In this sequel, she tells her story with cool wit and warm understanding, eschewing both the sweeping generalizations of a Toynbee and the minute-by-minute simplicisms of a Walter Lord."
--Time
... Read more

Customer Reviews (44)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Addition to my Library
This is a well written book, in the same intresting and thoughful style as " The Guns Of August".I am very happy to have it in my personal collection.

1-0 out of 5 stars Poor Tuchman
In this book, Tuchman gets carried away by her own style, which here is gaudy, prolix, and almost suffocating to content. In short, meretricious.This volume reads less like a book than a sketch book full of charged portraits and superficially treated events.
The poster above who detects a "conservative bias" in this book is a dogmatist.If anything, the bias tilts leftwards, not radically but discernibly.

2-0 out of 5 stars A towering bore of a book
Loved her books on the middle ages, Stilwell and WWI, but this one seems to have missed the mark widely.Too much scene-setting, it's largely a disjointed series of biographies, with flowery and overblown prose."Enough already." I keep saying.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pictures before the Exhibition
Tuchman debunks a consensus in beliefs after WWI idealizing life before the war by reframing snapshots of conflicts in beliefs before WWI still afflicting life after the war: "A phenomenon of such extended malignance as the Great War does not come out of a Golden Age."

5-0 out of 5 stars agrarian to industrial convulsions
Having a father who fought in WWI, I have always been curious about this war.I had read before that it was the struggle against monarchies and the result of monarchal interrelations.However, Barbara Tuchman's book makes a lot more sense in her relating of everything going on at the time, the beginnings of industrialism and the end of the land-based agrarian civilization.Thus, the book is pertinent for all of us today because, unless some energy miracle comes along, we are now living through the reverse process, i.e., loss of cheap energy to fuel the industrialism of our culture.It is rather frightening in that Europe in its throes of upheaval had to war to deliver the new ideology of factory not farm and I read most of the male population of Europe was killed.If such births of new ethos have to be bought with war in the human psyche, then now with nuclear war a possibility it is pretty terrifying.Perhaps with a careful study of this work, we might learn to birth cultural and societal changes without warfare.This is a work of genius such that I hope to read all her works so that I can get a clearer picture of history.

This book is revelatory as well in political analysis relating all the mainstream political and economic ideas still current within in our world and swirling with controversy, i.e., political mingled with economic ideas, libertarianism, democracy, socialism, liberalism, conservatism, unregulated capitalism, and regulated capitalism, and mixtures of all.It is also the beginning of literacy through financed education and taxation of property and land--all the requirements to build and maintain an industrial civilization.And, alas, it is also the beginnings of literacy and a educated populace more interested in titillation and spectator sports than figuring out a better world.

This book is so full of genius it really has to be read several times and should be required study for anyone watching us move from industrialism to some form of new culture, perhaps even a return to an exclusively agrarian society in some form. ... Read more


10. Notes from China,
by Barbara Wertheim Tuchman
 Paperback: 128 Pages (1972-06)
list price: US$6.95 -- used & new: US$58.21
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Asin: 0020748000
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
An excellent and insightful short easy read about China.A bit dated, but surprisingly relevant today. ... Read more


11. Book: A Lecture Sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Authors' League of America, Presented at the Library of Congress (Viewpoint Series (Washington, D.C.), No. 1,)
by Barbara Wertheim Tuchman
 Paperback: 29 Pages (1980-06)
list price: US$3.95
Isbn: 0844403229
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12. The Proud Tower:A Portrait of the World before the War:1890-1914
by Barbara W. Tuchman
Mass Market Paperback: 10 Pages (1982-12-01)
list price: US$6.95 -- used & new: US$10.00
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 0553256025
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13. Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45
by Barbara Tuchman
Hardcover: 640 Pages (1971)
-- used & new: US$11.50
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: B000GYA7PI
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Two books in one
its government, and the people.

The first subject is well written and is in Chronological format, from Stilwell's early life, the academy, World War I, somewhere to go after the war (China), and World War II.Joe Stilwell died almost immediately after the war ended.Chiang Kai-Shek spent the whole war trying to keep the Chinese Communists, the other warlords, and the Japanese from taking over his armies.The American's expected the Chinese to actually FIGHT during WW2, but in general, they ordered and received American Supplies, which they saved to fight the Communists.In part, this caused Vinegar Joe Stilwell to get his nickname.He wanted to, and planned to fight the Japanese using Chinese troops.This did happen for a few days in late 1944, early 1945, but that was about it.

The Second subject is told through the use of Chinese proverbs, and how Chiang Kai-Shek used them against the Americans and the Japanese.One was "A battle not fought, is a battle won."To illustrate this concept (somewhat) the author said that Stilwell had inspected one of the Chinese armies including their well sighted, camouflaged artillery emplacements.Several days later, the Japanese approached the area, and the artillery was gone.Stilwell asked the Chinese Army Commander where they went.He said that "The artillery makes us the best army in China, but if we shot the artillery, the Japanese will bomb us and we won't have it anymore so we won't be the best army in China anymore."It was more important in China to HAVE an army that it was to USE the army.Another common Chinese way of doing business was to tell anyone asking a question, the answer that they wanted to here.Many promises were made, with no intention on the part of the Chinese, of their ever being kept.I wonder how this type of thing effects our relations with them now.

5-0 out of 5 stars History is always the same, the players just change.
I read this book over 20 years ago. I sometimes bought the paperback to give to friends. It was that good and true and well-written, to me.In brief, Stillwell was a four-star general who was attached to the nationalists during WWII. His rank was equal to Eisenhower and MacArthur. Tuchman is very sympathetic to Stillwell, emphasizing his fluency in the Chinese language and knowledge of the country and its politics. He had served in China as a career army officer between the world wars and often traveled about disguised as a native.
He detested Chiang Kai-Shek, who he considered to be a warlord and coward. Stillwell suggested overtures to Mao, to use him to fight the Japanese and even consider them as future rulers of China. In 1944 Stillwell was sent back to the states. His stance against Kai-Shek did not sit well with the China Lobby (pro-Chiang lobby) in the USA.
What I most remember about the book after all these years is 1) Stillwell led an Indian Jones life, even leading his defeated troops on foot out of Burma 2) Stillwell was right about Mao and the China Lobby (Luce at Time magazine and others) was wrong, 3) and when China fell the Democrats and Chinese Experts in the State department were blamed for "losing" China. All these Chinese speaking Experts, often children of missionaries, knew the language and the greater region of East and Southeast Asia. They all got purged in the days of McCarthy. Nobody of competence was around to raise red flags as we got sucked into Viet Nam in the late 50s and early 60s.
There are today way too few Arab speaking experts in the State Department. George W. Bush, being briefed by exiled Iraqis, just weeks before pre-emptive war, revealed no clue that there were Sunni and Shiite and Kurdish factions in Iraq (see Packer's book, Assassin's Gate). This is what I mean by my title, a paraphrase of a famous remark, history is always the same, and the players just change.

... Read more


14. A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous 14th Century
by Barbara W. Tuchman
 Hardcover: Pages (1978-01-01)
-- used & new: US$18.98
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: B000IOUCO2
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

*****
fine dj. full of pictures, 1962 Knopf. no sign of use. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I selected the vendor because of the high rating and the clearly stated but purchaser friendly return policy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Distant Mirror is fascinating
Between the plagues and constant warfare, it's amazing that anyone in Europe survived the 14th. century.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best historical accounts ever written
I'm sorry there are so many history books written now only because we are compelled to think we have to keep up with the most recent. As if it mattered. No, there will be histories of historiesbut it won't change now to then in reality. There will always be a separation. So, the insatiably hopeful reader, like me, has to realize that he/she ought to be reading only the best, regardless of subject, since our time is limited. Barbara Tuchman had a Shakespearean comprehensiveness and sympathy for her subjects. She seemed to understand in a general way how things work: how this having happened, this must follow. She had a keen sense of character. The shadowy hero of this book, Enguerrand de Coucy, is shown to be virtuous by implication, by contrast with his boorish contemporaries. It's great stuff. It's history taught in equal parts of intuitive intelligence and intellectual intelligence.
At the time she wrote this the calamitous 14th century seemed more of a reflection of our world than it does at present. So the distant mirror aspect may or may not prove relevant, it is nevertheless a superb example of what history should be and fascinating in and of itself. ... Read more


15. stillwell and the american Experience in china, 1911-45
by Barbara W. Tuchman
 Hardcover: Pages (1971-01-01)
-- used & new: US$69.50
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: B001JOXEOA
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Barbara Tuchman Superb Read: Stillwell and the American Experience injk China
After reading a review of this book in WSJ, and knowing Tuchman's Work from "The Proud Tower" and "Guns of August," I am delighted to receive a "like new" volume in a timely manner. Thank you, Amazon! In this volume we are following the breakup of the Manchu Dynasty in China, the process of thesubsequent revolution, and the simultaneous career of Vinegar Joe Stillwell, an insatiable world traveler with a facility for language, and a superb soldier.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great soldier handed an impossible task
This was required reading for a graduate course in the history of American military affairs.Barbara W. Tuchman's book is a "riveting" biography of General "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, who was one of America's ablest military leaders asked to perform the near impossible in World War II--train and command a Chinese Army to fight against the Japanese.Tuchman`s purpose of using Stilwell's long connections with China which started in 1911 when he was a U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant, was to explore three historical strands.First, by using a plethora of sources, including Stilwell's diaries, she excelled in her purpose of providing an unusually candid biography of Stilwell's remarkable life.Army Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall, who personally observed Stilwell's first-rate military abilities as a trainer and leader of men, "...selected Stilwell for the post and felt responsible for having consigned him to an ill-supported mission and wasted the talents of an officer he respected as one of America's ablest field commanders" (391).However, early in Stillwell's career he came to be known by his moniker "Vinegar Joe," for his scowl whenever he thought someone or something went awry.His diary was full of pejoratives describing most British officers as "limeys," the French as "frogs," and when he soon lost all respect for Chiang he referred to him as "peanut."Though Tuchman throughout her biography displayed a great admiration for Stilwell, her caricature of Stilwell is as a man who did not possess the political skills necessary of a high-ranking officer to effectively lead a multi-national coalition in the China-India-Burma theatre of operations.

Tuchman's second purpose was to use Stilwell's four visits and postings in China as the backdrop to explain China's turbulent years--1911 through 1945.This part of her book lacked the depth necessary to provide the reader a good grounding in truly understanding the ever-shifting political situation in China.However, through this strand of her book, Tuchman was able to show how Stilwell had a "missionary's" love and concern for the plight of China's "teeming masses."Throughout his various observations of China's military in his capacity as America's military attaché from 1935 to 1937, Stilwell came to have, "...confidence in Chinese soldiers as fighting material and believed that if properly led they could become the equal of any army in the world" (172).

Third, Tuchman used Stilwell's life to explore America's foreign policy relationship with China, starting with America's Open Door Policy, but mainly focusing on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (FDR's) desire that America could find in China a democratic partner to help block and eventually crush Japan's increasing influence in Asia.Unfortunately Tuchman, through no fault of her own because there is a scant written record on the subject, was unable to understand the crux of FDR's strategic purpose in first supporting Chiang with a naïve reverence, which ultimately undercut Stilwell's ability to get the Chinese Army to engage the Japanese in battle.However, once FDR witnessed Chiang's ineptitude at the Cairo Conference of 1943, he saw Chiang in the same light that Stilwell did.However, it was too late to provide Stilwell the political help he needed to use the Chinese army in a truly meaningful way to affect the wars outcome.Tuchman's book serves historians best as a biography of one of America's most able but tragically wasted generals of World War II.

Recommended reading for anyone interested in military history, and American history.
... Read more


16. Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century
by Barbara Wertheim Tuchman
 Library Binding: Pages (2008-10-04)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$27.95
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1439558574
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

17. The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam
by Barbara W. Tuchman
 Paperback: 464 Pages (1996-05-24)

Isbn: 0333656865
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

18. Practising History
by Barbara Wertheim Tuchman
 Paperback: 320 Pages (1989-11-02)

Isbn: 0333498259
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
A collection of essays by the author of "A Distant Mirror", "Zimmermann Telegram", "Bible and Sword", "The Proud Tower" and "August 1914". This is a discussion of the techniques of writing history and the historian's role and covers subjects from Mao's China to Israel's Six Day War and Watergate. ... Read more


19. STILLWELL and the americanexperience in china
by BARBARA TUCHMAN
Paperback: Pages (1972)

Asin: B0013G41L4
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great soldier handed an impossible task
This was required reading for a graduate course in the history of American military affairs.Barbara W. Tuchman's book is a "riveting" biography of General "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, who was one of America's ablest military leaders asked to perform the near impossible in World War II--train and command a Chinese Army to fight against the Japanese.Tuchman`s purpose of using Stilwell's long connections with China which started in 1911 when he was a U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant, was to explore three historical strands.First, by using a plethora of sources, including Stilwell's diaries, she excelled in her purpose of providing an unusually candid biography of Stilwell's remarkable life.Army Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall, who personally observed Stilwell's first-rate military abilities as a trainer and leader of men, "...selected Stilwell for the post and felt responsible for having consigned him to an ill-supported mission and wasted the talents of an officer he respected as one of America's ablest field commanders" (391).However, early in Stillwell's career he came to be known by his moniker "Vinegar Joe," for his scowl whenever he thought someone or something went awry.His diary was full of pejoratives describing most British officers as "limeys," the French as "frogs," and when he soon lost all respect for Chiang he referred to him as "peanut."Though Tuchman throughout her biography displayed a great admiration for Stilwell, her caricature of Stilwell is as a man who did not possess the political skills necessary of a high-ranking officer to effectively lead a multi-national coalition in the China-India-Burma theatre of operations.

Tuchman's second purpose was to use Stilwell's four visits and postings in China as the backdrop to explain China's turbulent years--1911 through 1945.This part of her book lacked the depth necessary to provide the reader a good grounding in truly understanding the ever-shifting political situation in China.However, through this strand of her book, Tuchman was able to show how Stilwell had a "missionary's" love and concern for the plight of China's "teeming masses."Throughout his various observations of China's military in his capacity as America's military attaché from 1935 to 1937, Stilwell came to have, "...confidence in Chinese soldiers as fighting material and believed that if properly led they could become the equal of any army in the world" (172).

Third, Tuchman used Stilwell's life to explore America's foreign policy relationship with China, starting with America's Open Door Policy, but mainly focusing on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (FDR's) desire that America could find in China a democratic partner to help block and eventually crush Japan's increasing influence in Asia.Unfortunately Tuchman, through no fault of her own because there is a scant written record on the subject, was unable to understand the crux of FDR's strategic purpose in first supporting Chiang with a naïve reverence, which ultimately undercut Stilwell's ability to get the Chinese Army to engage the Japanese in battle.However, once FDR witnessed Chiang's ineptitude at the Cairo Conference of 1943, he saw Chiang in the same light that Stilwell did.However, it was too late to provide Stilwell the political help he needed to use the Chinese army in a truly meaningful way to affect the wars outcome.Tuchman's book serves historians best as a biography of one of America's most able but tragically wasted generals of World War II.

Recommended reading for anyone interested in military history, and American history.
... Read more


20. Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945
by Barbara Wertheim Tuchman
Paperback: 640 Pages (2001-03-15)
list price: US$31.00 -- used & new: US$89.62
(price subject to change: see )
Asin: 1842122819
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

*****
'Vinegar Joe' Stilwell, the general who was the American commander in the China-Burma-India theatre of World War II, had a deep love of China. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns of August, Barbara Tuchman, combines a fascinating narrative of America's relationship with China from the fall of the Manchu Dynasty through to the rise of Mao Tse-Tung with an intimate biography of Vinegar Joe. Stilwell loved China deeply, spoke its languages and understood its people as few Westerners have.Tuchman traces his life from his first visit during the 1911 Revolution through the Second World War to his confrontation with Chiang Kai-shek. Entwined with his fortunes is the story of American and British foreign policy in the Far East. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great soldier handed an impossible task
This was required reading for a graduate course in the history of American military affairs.Barbara W. Tuchman's book is a "riveting" biography of General "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, who was one of America's ablest military leaders asked to perform the near impossible in World War II--train and command a Chinese Army to fight against the Japanese.Tuchman`s purpose of using Stilwell's long connections with China which started in 1911 when he was a U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant, was to explore three historical strands.First, by using a plethora of sources, including Stilwell's diaries, she excelled in her purpose of providing an unusually candid biography of Stilwell's remarkable life.Army Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall, who personally observed Stilwell's first-rate military abilities as a trainer and leader of men, "...selected Stilwell for the post and felt responsible for having consigned him to an ill-supported mission and wasted the talents of an officer he respected as one of America's ablest field commanders" (391).However, early in Stillwell's career he came to be known by his moniker "Vinegar Joe," for his scowl whenever he thought someone or something went awry.His diary was full of pejoratives describing most British officers as "limeys," the French as "frogs," and when he soon lost all respect for Chiang he referred to him as "peanut."Though Tuchman throughout her biography displayed a great admiration for Stilwell, her caricature of Stilwell is as a man who did not possess the political skills necessary of a high-ranking officer to effectively lead a multi-national coalition in the China-India-Burma theatre of operations.

Tuchman's second purpose was to use Stilwell's four visits and postings in China as the backdrop to explain China's turbulent years--1911 through 1945.This part of her book lacked the depth necessary to provide the reader a good grounding in truly understanding the ever-shifting political situation in China.However, through this strand of her book, Tuchman was able to show how Stilwell had a "missionary's" love and concern for the plight of China's "teeming masses."Throughout his various observations of China's military in his capacity as America's military attaché from 1935 to 1937, Stilwell came to have, "...confidence in Chinese soldiers as fighting material and believed that if properly led they could become the equal of any army in the world" (172).

Third, Tuchman used Stilwell's life to explore America's foreign policy relationship with China, starting with America's Open Door Policy, but mainly focusing on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (FDR's) desire that America could find in China a democratic partner to help block and eventually crush Japan's increasing influence in Asia.Unfortunately Tuchman, through no fault of her own because there is a scant written record on the subject, was unable to understand the crux of FDR's strategic purpose in first supporting Chiang with a naïve reverence, which ultimately undercut Stilwell's ability to get the Chinese Army to engage the Japanese in battle.However, once FDR witnessed Chiang's ineptitude at the Cairo Conference of 1943, he saw Chiang in the same light that Stilwell did.However, it was too late to provide Stilwell the political help he needed to use the Chinese army in a truly meaningful way to affect the wars outcome.Tuchman's book serves historians best as a biography of one of America's most able but tragically wasted generals of World War II.

Recommended reading for anyone interested in military history, and American history.
... Read more


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