Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman has brought to life again the people and events that led up to World 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.
Now it makes sense.
This is a very good book about a time frame, in and around the first month of WWI, that does not get a lot of attention. It was certainly never covered when I was in school. It points out that there is a flaw in humanity. We are incapable of avoiding something stupid and destructive even when we know it's stupid and destructive. No one wanted WWI, but no one could avoid it either. Once the wave of emotion begins to beat upon the shores of history, nothing can stop it sucking all the humanity in the vicinity onto the surrounding rocks. The events are well told and from the perspectives of all the major players. Perhaps there is a little bias to the Allies, but it's generally fair. The big question I am left with is: what is with the Germans? By the end of the fourth week of the fighting, they had overrun Belgium, thwarted the Russian push, brought the Turks in on their side and marched right to the very gates of Paris. Had they taken Paris, France would likely have fallen and England, with no place to land troops, may have been forced to reconcile. Instead, like Dunkirk and the initial thrust of Barbarossa in WWII, when they didn't take Moscow; the Germans didn't hammer the nail home, let the French escape (like the English at Dunkirk and the Russians in Moscow), and lost the advantage and then the war. How do you make the mistake at all, not to mention over and over again? This is what a good history book is all about, it covers all the facts and forces you to ask questions based on those facts. Very well done.