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The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914 (1966)

de Barbara W. Tuchman

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: The Coming of the Great War (1)

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2,805375,227 (4.03)200
History. Nonfiction. HTML:

The fateful quarter century leading up to 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 to that point in history, a cataclysmic shaping of destiny.

Barbara Tuchman brings to vivid life the people, places, and events that shaped the years leading up to the Great War: the Edwardian aristocracy; the anarchists of Europe and America; Germany and its self-depicted hero, Richard Strauss; Diaghilev's Russian Ballet and Stravinsky's music; the Dreyfus Affair; two peace conferences in the Hague; and, finally, the youth, ideals, enthusiasm, and tragedy of socialism, epitomized by the death of heroic Jean Jaurs on the night the war began and an epoch ended.

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  1. 20
    The Vertigo Years: Europe, 1900-1914 de Philipp Blom (SusannainSC)
    SusannainSC: Like The Proud Tower, a thematic exploration of the pre-war period, 1900-1914.
  2. 21
    The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm de Juliet Nicolson (CindyBytes)
  3. 10
    The World That Never Was: A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists, and Secret Agents de Alex Butterworth (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Addressing roughly the same time period, both books shed light on the 19th and early 20th Century Anarchist and Socialist movements.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 37 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
I'm amazed at how much I don't know sometimes and this book floored me. I'm going to try to find a book about Thomas Reed now. The book is so well written I keep flashing back to parts of it weeks after I read it. I loved the line "The working class went to war willingly, even eagerly, like the middle class, like the upper class, like the species." And if anyone has a list of places they want to visit when time travel is invented (yes, I have a list and you probably do too) Tuchman's description of Nijinski dancing the Faun in Paris will have you adding to it. ( )
  dhenn31 | Jan 24, 2024 |
I just finished reading The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914 by Barbara W. Tuchman. This book is a tour de force of the history of antebellum, i.e. pre-World War I history in Europe and the U.S. Parts of the book were assigned to me for reading in either High School or at Cornell; it doesn’t really matter which. What it got me to thinking about was the many missed opportunities, both in academic and personal life during those years. Basically I had earlier read parts of the book when I was too young, and did not have the history or life background to appreciate it now, as I do at age 63.

I’ll be honest; I didn’t concentrate on it when it was assigned reading. Ditto History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, assigned at college sometime during 1978, either spring Junior Year or fall Senior Year at Cornell. I read some of it, but it was a chore. Now, reading it, I wished I had grasped the richness of the material. Doubtless there are other illustrations.

Each "chapter" is really an independent, discrete essay The first chapter is about Victorian United Kingdom, and the ostentation displayed by the upper class while the rest of the people survived in Dickensian misery. While alleged by some to be the driest I found it quite fascinating. I read some of this material in Prof. Tuchman's Guns of August. It was a different, genteel and somewhat unjust era.

Other parts are about the Dreyfus Affair, where France’s enlightened attitude and tolerance were shown to be a veneer camouflaging a much uglier reality. Another part concerned the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions, the naive and idealistic run-up to the World of Nations. The ministers scheduled the next Hague meeting for the summer of 1915. Events overtook that planned conclave.

Without wanting to give a “spoiler alert” the final chapter showed how illusory the uniting of the working class turned out to be when the drums of war starting beating during 1909-1914. The elite representatives of the “workers of the world” promised to “do everything” to prevent workers from being forced to shoot at each other. To quote the book (at Page 538 Paperback edition), "(t)their intention was good but its limit was talk...(and if) these were to be my last wordsI would say them to you; live for that better day." Those efforts were pallid, futile and insincere, as the world learned on August 4, 1914.

Of course, WW II and the Holocaust displayed a level of horror that WW I could not match. My takeaway, though not expressly the author’s, is how lucky we in the U.S. are to be out of that nuthouse, Europe. ( )
  JBGUSA | Jan 2, 2023 |
Pretty good history of Europe and the world just before World War One. Found out a lot more about the anarchists. Book was originally written in 1966. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
Historian Barbara Tuchman is a highly regarded historian and author, and her book "The Proud Tower" is very popular among most all readers. It looks at life and society in Western Europe and the U.S. in the decades immediately prior to the breakout of World War I. I think Evan Leach's Goodreads review of July 3, 2013 describes the eight essays which make-up the book provides a good description of what to expect.

And while most readers enjoyed this book, it never grabbed me. It did describe several aspects of society in the western warring nations prior to the outbreak of war, but didn't give me insights into how and war actually broke out, and thus didn't meet my needs or expectations.

( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
This book contained some good information put into historical context. However, there were long periods of boring verbosity. I come to expect this with Tuchman so I usually hang in there with her to glean the tidbits which I find useful. ( )
  ricelaker | Feb 7, 2021 |
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Barbara W. Tuchmanautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Bordwin, GabrielleDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
May, NadiaNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down.

-- From"The City in the Sea"
Edgar Allan Poe
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The last government in the Western world to possess all the attributes of the aristocracy in working condition took office in England in June of 1895.
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History. Nonfiction. HTML:

The fateful quarter century leading up to 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 to that point in history, a cataclysmic shaping of destiny.

Barbara Tuchman brings to vivid life the people, places, and events that shaped the years leading up to the Great War: the Edwardian aristocracy; the anarchists of Europe and America; Germany and its self-depicted hero, Richard Strauss; Diaghilev's Russian Ballet and Stravinsky's music; the Dreyfus Affair; two peace conferences in the Hague; and, finally, the youth, ideals, enthusiasm, and tragedy of socialism, epitomized by the death of heroic Jean Jaurs on the night the war began and an epoch ended.

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