The Guns of August

The Guns of August

Book - 1994
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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." Chicaog 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"--Publisher's description.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine, 1994
Edition: 1st Ballantine Books ed
Description: xxiv, 511 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps, ports. ; 21 cm
ISBN: 9780345386236
Branch Call Number: 940.4144 Tuc


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
IndyPL_RyanD Jan 03, 2020

I decided to read this book based off other positive reviews and due to centennial anniversaries related to events from World War I over the last few years. This book is a great resource for those wanting to learn about some of the origins leading up to the First World War and the battles and events of the first month of the war. Specifically, the decision making and strategies from military and political leaders on multiple sides of the conflict are documented. Two aspects of the book that had the most impact on me are the destruction of Russian General Aleksandr Samsonov’s 2nd Army by Germany’s 8th Army on the eastern front and Germany’s invasion of Belgium and subsequent murder of Belgian civilians.

Aug 14, 2019

A truly fascinating and well-written account of the lead-up and first month of World War I. Picked it up because I have long wanted to know more about WWI, and this was a great place to start. I agree with the reviewer below that the book's strength is its level of detail regarding the individual people involved. I also appreciated her account of why the Germans, French, and British developed their particular military strategies, and the limitations of them all when put into practice. I was amazed to read that the Germans had a meticulous plan and schedule for winning the war in about 35 days, and that the French planned to overcome a disadvantage in numbers through sheer élan. One of the best history books I've ever read.

Jul 10, 2018

Since these days we are encountering so many 100th Anniversary commemorations of the Great War, I thought it would be appropriate to read the best-known masterful account of its beginning...August 1914. Rather than merely a dry recounting of battles fought, Tuchman focuses on the personalities involved...Schlieffen, Kaiser Wilhelm, Moltke, von Kluck, Bulow, Joffre, Gallieni, Lanrezac, French, Churchill, Rennenkampf, Samsonov, the Grand Duke, Czar Nicholas II...the list goes on and on...and shows how the personalities and motivations of these men interacted and intertwined to influence the fortunes and outcome of the war, and how the initial hopes and plans of both sides failed during those crucial first 31 days, causing the war to degenerate into four brutal, stalemated years of trench warfare, which at its conclusion left an estimated 9 million soldiers and civilians dead, countless areas of Europe turned into vast wastelands, and a legacy of hatred and bitterness far greater than what existed at war's beginning and which paved the way for the next war only 21 years later. It also caused a revolution in the very theory and practice of warfare, with the introduction of tanks, submarines, airplanes and dirigibles, and telephone communication, and the realization that simply having soldiers charge en masse into the enemy's machine guns was only a recipe for mass slaughter (as were cavalry charges with lances and sabers).

President Kennedy asked his entire cabinet to read this book, with good reason; and it probably helped to guide him through the traps and pitfalls of the Cold War in 1962-63. Remains highly relevant today.

May 15, 2018

A riveting account of the first month of the Great War. A war with enormous impact on the twentieth century, even now.

Mar 25, 2018

The book that was on Kennedy’s mind during the Cuban Missle Crisis. Too bad Trump doesn’t have the attn span to read a book.

JCLGreggW Mar 22, 2018

One of the best books I've ever come across that has a broad, sweeping look at WW1 that always stays interesting and never gets bogged down in minutiae.

Dec 12, 2016

The popular history classic about the origins of the First World War. Not a favourite of German apologists, perhaps -- the Germany of WW II did not come out of nowhere, and its genesis was long before the 20th Century, let alone the Treaty of Versailles -- but there is blame enough to share around to all participants, believe me. Ms. Tuchman's prose floats like a dove, and stings like a serpent.

Sep 17, 2014

I read "Guns of August" several years ago. It provides a thorough explanation of the events that led up to it and then what transpired during the first month of World War I. I would have liked to have read Tuchman's "take" on the entire war.

Jun 23, 2013

Surprised to see this book highlighted. It was written in the 60's and John Kennedy personally endorsed as a reminder how leaders actions can change the world. I will read again.

Oct 20, 2008

good history good historian

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top