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informative and lively summary of pre-World War society
am 26. August 1998
I greatly enjoyed this book and re-read it on a periodical basis. Its principal strength is Ms Tuchman's ability to quickly limn the predominant characteristics of a person, a movement, or a society-- after just a few paragraphs I felt I truly understood the psychology of Kaiser Wilhelm, for example, or the insufferable yet somehow enchanting serenity of the English aristocracy. Another strength is that, although the individual chapters by and large concentrate on specific phenomena of the time (the disarmament movement, or Socialism), Ms Tuchman is able to interweave highly descriptive portraits of individual nations as well: thus, for example, her chapter on the Arts is bound up with the person of Richard Strauss, and by extension vivid depictions of fin-de-siecle Germany. Serious scholars will probably find fault with occasional superficialties; I thought, for example, the chapter on the arms race gave only a taste of the complex issues involved. However, as a general intoduction to the period The Proud Tower offers a lot to any reader.