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am 20. Juni 2000
Barbara Tuchman is a very good writer of history. It's one of those situations in which you thank the Lord, or somebody, that this particular person decided to go ahead in this particular direction. I don't know if just anyone will enjoy "The Proud Tower," since it deals with a very precise period in history, the Victorian Age in Britain, or the time leading up to the First World War. However, for me Tuchman's book, while not actually revelatory (her book on the origins of W. W. I - "The Guns of August" - definitely was), proved well worth reading. She tends to deal a lot in anecdotes, making you wonder if some of the remarks she attributes to others have been taken out of context. But if this is a weakness, it also lends strength to the book by making it eminently readable. The period of world and particularly European history leading up to those August guns is endlessly interesting, since here was a world which in many ways, was closer to that of the 10th century, than the 20th. Aristocracy was fading, labour movements were slowly but surely making themselves felt, and the lights were, as we now know, slowly going out all over Europe. If you haven't read Tuchman yet, you are missing a very serious investigator who has the added charm of authorial integrity, but doesn't ram anything down your throat. It's intelligent, often perspicacious writing, which really freshens up our notions of what a history book should be.
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am 27. Dezember 1998
I loved The Proud Tower. I wish that all History books were this interesting and informative. The book, as it's subtitle suggests is Ms. Tuchman's portrait of the world in the years leading to the First World War. It is cultural history, political history, biography and more. The book is divided into sections covering the years 1890-1914 in England, France, Germany, and the U.S. It also covers social, political, and cultural movements like Anarchism, Socialism and The Hague Peace Conference. Each section is it's own treasure and made me wish Ms. Tuchman had written an entire book on her various subjects. Many of them were new to me; such as Thomas B. Reed, the U.S. Speaker of the House around the turn of the last century, or the Anarchist movement in Europe and America. Some of the topics were more familiar, like the Dreyfus Affair in France, but no less interesting in her hands. This is a great book!!! Try it and see.
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am 29. April 2009
B. Tuchmann porträtiert in diesem Band die europäische und US-amerikanische Gesellschaft des ausgehenden 19. und beginnenden 20. Jhdts. Das klingt langweilig. Es sollte auch eigentlich langweilig sein. Es fehlt an den üblichen 'Unterhaltungen' in historischen Werken: Schlachten, Skandale, Revolutionen. Stattdessen schreibt Tuchmann von der Dreyfus-Affäre, dem Aufstieg der Sozialistischen Parteien in Europa und den Bemühungen eines amerikanischen Kongressabgeordneten, etwas mehr Disziplin und Effektivität in die Parlamentsordnung einzuführen. Über allem thront die Figur des großen Patriziers, Lord Salisbury, dem Tuchmann das Anfangskapitel widmet.

Dieses Buch dürfte eigentlich keinen Spaß machen. Tut es aber. Die eigenartige Atmosphäre in Europa zwischen 1870 und 1914, irgendwo zwischen Optimismus und fin de siecle, ist großartig beschrieben. Die Aufbruchstimmung in den USA, die Phantasterei einer manifest destiny, der rabiate und hysterische Annexionismus der erstaunlich lange die amerikanische Außenpolitik beherrschte wird kontrastiert mit dem langsamen Treiben der europäischen Mächte, die von Krise zu Krise flanieren. In der Dreyfus-Affäre und der Ermordung des französischen Sozialisten Jean Jaurès zeigt sich in Frankreich das hässliche Gesicht der Reaktion, während die ersten Sozialisten an der Regierung beteiligt werden, in England die Labour-Party und in Deutschland die SPD gegründet werden. Gerade wer Tuchmanns Meisterwerk, The Guns of August kennt, hat während der Lektüre des gesamten Buches ein unangenehmes Gefühl, da über allem Erzählten die Katastrophe des Ersten Weltkrieges schwebt.

Akribisch recherchiert, flüssig und witzig erzählt, mit Anekdoten und wissenswerten à propos gespickt, ist The Proud Tower eines der besten Werke Tuchmanns und kann problemlos mit Guns of August und The Distant Mirror mithalten.
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am 15. März 2000
I have always believed that one of the great questions of the 20th century has been what were the underlying causes of the First World War.I don't believe there was a greater watershed of events in the 20th century. From the chaos emerged the totalitarian state and hence the nearly 80 year struggle with Western Democracy. Barbara Tuchman doesn't try to answer why Europe happily plunged into a four year bloodbath(maybe no one can)but her book takes a good look at the 25 years prior to the war. Contrary to popular belief,pre-World War One society wasn't a peacefull,contented world. From the Anarchist movement to the horrible conditions of the poor and to the terrible racist divisions in France durning the Dreyfus Affair,Tuchman shows that this world was on the brink of collaspe. It was only a question of whether its death would be a slow drawn out affair(where a peacefull,evolutionary replacement could be born) or a violent,revolutionary one. Unfortunately we know the answer.From World War I came Lenin,Stalin,Hitler and the deaths of close to 100 million people. This most violent of centuries was born in the blood of World War I. Read The Proud Tower to begin to understand the history of the 20th Century.
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am 8. Juli 1999
Because of the horror of WWI - and the frequency with which it has been used as a metaphor for a societal loss of innocence - it is far too easy to assume that the days before the War were somehow Edenic or, at the very least, were without strife and major conflict. Tuchman's great insight is that nothing as terrible as WWI comes out of a vacuum, that the War was actually the result of pressures that had been building for years. She skillfully chooses incidents from all the major players of the War that demonstrate the tensions and contradictions in each that would find release on the battlefield. While colorful and vivid, Tuchman frequently delves into too much detail, especially in some of the later, less interesting chapters. Perhaps shorter chapters covering a wider range of topics would have made for a better read. Also, she often assumes a familiarity with certain subjects that the reader may not have. This may be due to the fact that the book was published in 1962, when the events written about were not so far in the past as they are today. Overall, though, an interesting and insightful read into an often under-reported period.
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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.
0Kommentar| Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
Barbara Tuchman attempts something that is not normally done by historians. She tells a tale of how a war starts not from the perspective of princes, politicians and the great generals but from the mood and movements within the societies of the main combatants. We are a century, and a culture, removed from the way our great-grandparents saw life. It's difficult for us to understand how World War I came about without understanding the mind-set of the people who fought it. This, unfortunately, can make for dull reading unless enlivened by the stories of outstanding or eccentric individuals. Real history isn't always so obliging so yes, there are dull sections in this book--especially in the latter half. I applaud Ms. Tuchman's honest and honorable attempt to give us the social viewpoint of the time but I must warn you this is not a book for the casual reader who is looking for light entertainment. This is a work of scholarship.
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am 1. Dezember 1997
I have read and reread this book many times, each time finding new insights into men and women of intense character and into the internal politics and external policies of the great powers pointing inexorably to the "Great War". This is an exceptionally readable, accurate and compelling book.
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am 26. Juni 2012
Vorweg: das Buch ist sehr informativ und Tuchman kann schreiben. Ich liebe ihr Buch "der ferne Spiegel" und auch The Guns of August habe ich in extrem guter Erinnerung. Aber leider verliert sich Tuchman hier zu sehr in Details. Für den Historiker mögen diese wichtig sein, für den historisch interessierten sind z.B. die detaillierten Beschreibungen der englischen Politikerkaste etwas ermüdend. Zudem - so ging es mir - hatte man die Hälfte nach 2 Seiten wieder vergessen. Die BEschreibung Deutschlands über Strauss und Wagner fand ich wenig gelungen. Die Gesellschaft erscheint in den Romanen der Zeit, z.B. Fontanes durchaus differenzierter. Andere Kapitel, z.B: über die Anarchisten sind deutlich interessanter. Fazit: einige Kapitel sind lesenswert, bei weitem nicht alle.
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am 29. Juni 1997
Having read three other Barbara Tuchman books I must say this is clearly the worst of the lot. It gets bogged down in boring and thoroughly forgettable minutiae. Page after page of analyzing each and every composition by Richard Strauss is not my idea of a good read. Stick with The Guns of August, First Salute, and A Distant Mirror, great books all, and skip this one
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