Glyn Longden's Reviews > The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914

The Proud Tower by Barbara W. Tuchman
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's review
Jul 25, 2011

it was amazing

Rating: 8.5/10. History doesn't get much better than this. First, and foremost, Barbara Tuchman is a great writer; secondly, she's a great historian. I've read hundreds of books in my life where the author is a great historian but a lousy writer. Tuchman makes history come alive. The first chapter in this book, called 'The Patricians' is a marvellously entertaining tour through the English class system of1895; she details the life of privilege the members of cabinet in Lord Salisbury's government enjoyed as well as demonstrating how the smarter of them were already realizing that the writing was on the wall for their privileged and unique lifestyle. Tuchman's book is not about the causes of WWI but a description of society in western Europe and America in the 25 years leading up to the war. Just in case you accuse me of shilling for Barbara Tuchman, let me assure you, I am. The only present-day writer who can hold a torch to her is Margaret Macmillan. Although this book was written 40+ years ago, it is the best book I have read in 2007.

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