"Admirers of her earlier works will find Barbara Tuchman's familiar virtues on display. She is lucid, painstaking and highly intelligent. She is also highly expert." ( Sunday Times, London)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Tom on 18-04-11
An interesting and absorbing book
This book should be of interest to anyone who wants to understand better how Governements can sometimes make a terrible mess of their business. It tries to draw lessons from one semi-fictional (the Fall of Troy) and three real life episodes from history-the last two - the loss of the Amreican colonies and Vietnam - are worth the price of the book on their own.
Although the author sets out the events, this is not narrative history as she intersperses her judgments, analysis and opinions as she goes through. This is OK if you have some familiarity with the history, but can be confusing - as it was for me when she dealt with the creation of Protestantism - if you are not.
I think this must be quite an old recording as the editing was not what you expect - but the narrator is excellent, with great judgement of pace and tone, always important, I think, for narrated history books.
Barbara Tuchman is a very fine historian, and I intend to get another of her books with next month's credit. In the meantime, I can recommended this book wholeheartedly.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By peter on 13-04-11
No stone left unturned
First, the narrator is marvelous! I think it was Wanda McCaddon read 'Four Days in Naples' also. Her cultured voice catches Tuchman's impish humor and ironic twists with appropriate cadence and emphasis every time. Quite a skill.
Back to the Book. Tuchman fans rarely seek precis: the goes author delves into immense detail; no issue is left untouched by her sense of chronological context; her ability to describe a character comprehesively in no more than one or two phrases; a mildly irreverent sense of humor that adds a frequent light touch to serious research; her incisive judgment in final retrospect. All such components are vital in an appreciation of this fine writer's skill in helping us make sense of history. I have read 'The First Salute', 'The Guns of August' and this book. I must read more by her
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By Plimtuna on 24-09-09
Tuchman surprises me...
This is the third book I have read by Ms. Tuchman (The Proud Tower, Guns of August, and Distant Mirror) I have enjoyed all of them. The audio reader is excellent and makes the book quite easy to listen to.
In the earlier books I found a very palatable approach to the writing of history. The nuances and depth that Ms. Tuchman adds is quite fascinating. I have kept coming back for more. When this book was released I ordered it immediately.
The first two thirds of this particular book did not disappoint. However the last third covering the US involvement in the Indochina/Vietname seemed to me to have a different tone. I found myself hearing a more judgmental, condescending tone to her analysis. Is it possible that due to the historical proximity of the events portrayed that she was unable to write in a more neutral tone?
I will not abandon Ms. Tuchman for this effort, but I will stick to areas where she is less likely to have a temporal bias.
29 of 34 people found this review helpful