The Guns of August - by Barbara W. Tuchman

The Guns of August written by Barbara W. Tuchman

Barbara Tuchman's famous book about World War I begins with a poignant passage about the last days of the Edwardian era (when color photography was first available and the Fourth Olympiad took place in London, during 1908). 

As Edward VII's funeral procession takes place, his body was surrounded by other family members - descendants of Britain's Queen Victoria - who would be at war with each other in four short years. 

At the time of the funeral - in the spring of 1910 - who could have predicted that Europe would soon be ripped apart?  Who could have anticipated the future grief and anguish which threw families everywhere into despair?

Tuchman observes (split apart for easier reading):

So gorgeous was the spectacle on the May morning of 1910 when nine kings rode in the funeral of Edward VII of England that the crowd, waiting in hushed and black-clad awe, could not keep back gasps of admiration.  In scarlet and blue and green and purple, three by three the sovereigns rode through the palace gates, with plumed helmets, gold braid, crimson sashes, and jeweled orders flashing in the sun. 

After them came five heirs apparent, forty more imperial or royal highnesses, seven queens - four dowager [former] and three regnant [current] - and a scattering of special ambassadors from uncrowned countries.  Together they represented seventy nations in the greatest assemblage of royalty and rank ever gathered in one place and, of its kind, the last.

The muffled tongue of Big Ben tolled nine by the clock as the cortege left the palace, but on history's clock it was sunset, and the sun of the old world was setting in a dying blaze of splendor never to been seen again.   (Tuchman, The Guns of August, chapter 1.)

Barbara Tuchman (1912-1989) was a bestselling historian.  Her books are still popular and have sold millions of copies. 

In 1963, The Guns of August (later also known as August 1914 and partially available for online reading) won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Feb 27, 2020

Media Credits

Image of book cover, online courtesy Amazon


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"The Guns of August - by Barbara W. Tuchman" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Feb 27, 2020.
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