Guns of August

Tuchman, Barbara. The Guns of August. New York: Dell, 1971.

My copy of The Guns of August is a squat, 576 page, dirty, and torn paperback. It has been taped several times over and written in much, much more. Nothing drives me more nuts than a library book with someone’s scrawl all over it. Donated or not, it never should have gotten into the collection that way. But, back to the actual book.

The Guns of August is nothing short of impressive. It should have won a Pulitzer for history but because Pulitzers for history can only be handed out for U.S. history, it got one for nonfiction. Same diff in my book. It was a national best seller, John F. Kennedy referred to it on more than one occasion as the end all-be all for political strategy and it was made into a movie. In other words, the critics have weighed in – it’s a good book.

Lines that (oddly) made me laugh: “Systematic attention to detail was not a notable characteristic of the Russian Army” (p 78).
“Messimy telephoned to Premier Viviani who, though exhausted by the night’s events, had not yer gone to bed. “Good God!” he exploded, “these Russians are worse insomniacs than they are drinkers”…” (p 109).

BookLust Twist: In More Book Lust in the chapter, “Barbara Tuchman: Too Good To Miss” (p 225). Indeed.
Confession: because of the length of The Guns of August I read it for the entire month of January.

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