The Guns of August

The next on list is “The Guns of August by Babarbara Tuchman.”

This is a Pulitzer prize winning history of the opening months of WWI.

Wow, this book is dense!

It’s one I will have go back later and read in the wisdom of advanced age.

Much of this epic  narrative flew right over my head. Then again, the history of the First World War is a confusing thing.

It was like reading “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, there was so much to absorb it was overwhelming!

From what I could gather before I read this, the “Great War” started because some famous Austrian dude got shot and a bunch of people made some confusing treaties. Now, this is something I’ve known since high school.

Now, I realize that progress toward war was being made much earlier throughout the later half of the nineteenth century.

Events and peoples in Europe were on the war path long before, and it seems this moment was only inevitable.

All it took was the right moment, and the right people to set events in motion that had been in the planning years earlier.

The book brought a level of depth and portrait of the people involved the made the event more real to me.

Much of it went right over my head, which only indicates to me the need to read it again.

Tuchman’s work is thick with facts, that require Wikipedia  to be on hand in order to understand what she is saying.

That said, somehow this work is still very readable.

Through the dense fog of facts, one can still clearly discern the people of the past. The first half of the book was especially enlightening for me.

One sees the great power of the world on a collision course, which Tuchman brilliantly describes. We see the desires of nations clash in the most devastating fashion.

What I really discovered was that war seems to have been inevitable. It was only a matter of time in world where the paths of peoples were clearly locked in war and antagonism.

People think that wars start all at once, but this book demonstrates that wars start long before shooting starts. They start in the hearts, desires, and beliefs of men toward others.

I also discovered that the book itself, participates in the time period in which it was written, the 1960s.

It was written around the time of the Cuban missile crisis and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

At a time, when many felt another world war was inevitable, no wonder President Kennedy recommended this book to everyone he met.

At the very least this book makes us think about what causes, and what we might do to prevent the next one.

I’m glad I found this little historical gem at a library book sale, I may not have read it otherwise.

Rating: 5/5

Content: It’s a history book about war. People die, but never graphically.

Status: If you want to borrow it, let me know.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book check out:


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