The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World before the War, 1890-1914

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Overview

"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 ...
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The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World before the War, 1890-1914

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Overview

"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 Gunsof 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
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[Barbara W. Tuchman’s] Pulitzer Prize–winning The Guns of August was an expert evocation of the first spasm of the 1914–1918 war. She brings the same narrative gifts and panoramic camera eye to her portrait of the antebellum world.”Newsweek
 
“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
 
“An exquisitely written and thoroughly engrossing work . . . The author’s knowledge and skill are so impressive that they whet the appetite for more.”Chicago Tribune
 
“[Tuchman] tells her story with cool wit and warm understanding.”Time
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553256024
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/1/1982
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 640

Meet the Author

Barbara W. Tuchman (1912–1989) achieved prominence as a historian with The Zimmermann Telegram and international fame with The Guns of August—a huge bestseller and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Her other works include Bible and Sword, The Proud Tower, Stilwell and the American Experience in China (for which Tuchman was awarded a second Pulitzer Prize), Notes from China, A Distant Mirror, Practicing History, The March of Folly, and The First Salute.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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(6)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2006

    This is a Great Book

    Gee Barbara Tuchman is a great writer? So what else is new? She and people like Robert K. Massie have one thing in common: the wonderful writing talent and the outstanding command of written English. This book's descriptions of course are extremely accurate and well researched. Again Barbara Tuchman knew how to do this? So what else is new? I loved the chapter on Patricians. I loved the description of the British aristocracy and its sybaritic pleasures of the fin de siecle era. This class of people built an Empire, presided over it and even in their Spenglerian decline their sense of duty is admirable. They even managed to bow out of history's main stage gracefully and with class. Loved the descriptions of the Wilhelmine Germany,as well as the foolish Russian monarchic system sitting on a relatively small powder keg of intellectual revolutionaries and never even beginning to think that the mass of uneducated, illiterate peasants would just sit and watch the system go to its ruin. As usual for this author outstanding!! Too bad she died! (But then so did Cecily Wedgewood-remember her writings?)

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    Provided a great understanding of the era

    This book provides an excellent review of some of the major societal and thought processes in the period leading towards WW I. The discussion of how large the global anarchy movement was is very interesting. Her discussion of German nationalism and percieved superiority shows that it didnt just spring up just before WW II. If you are a Downton Abbey fan you will much enjoy the discussion of British aristocracy (and how Germany was jealous of British culture).

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 27, 2012

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    Posted May 15, 2009

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    Posted November 2, 2012

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