Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War 1890-1914” as Want to Read:
The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War 1890-1914
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War 1890-1914

by
4.12  ·  Rating details ·  6,037 Ratings  ·  345 Reviews
During the fateful quarter century leading up to World War I, the climax of a century of rapid, unprecedented change, a privileged few enjoyed Olympian luxury as the underclass was “heaving in its pain, its power, and its hate.” In The Proud Tower, Barbara W. Tuchman brings the era to vivid life: the decline of the Edwardian aristocracy; the Anarchists of Europe and Americ ...more
Audiobook, Unabridged
Published July 31st 2010 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1962)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Proud Tower, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Proud Tower

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Matt
Aug 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-i
How do you follow up a major success in life?

It’s a question I seldom ask myself. My last success was finishing the final two episodes of both The Night Of and Stranger Things in a single night, while drinking a $9 handle of rum and avoiding the sidelong glances of my pregnant wife, who is due any day. That’s the kind of success you only follow up with divorce.

Barbara Tuchman certainly had to answer that query. In 1962, she published The Guns of August, one of the most widely acclaimed works o
...more
Kalliope
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down


The City in the Sea – Poe.


This book is really a collection of essays published separately in various journals. Any book tackling the social, political and artistic situation of the world in the couple of decades before it entered its first global war, could only offer a partial view. These essays offer a series of selected aspects of this bellicose universe seen through shifting points of view.

There are considerable absences. Fo
...more
Lawyer
The Proud Tower: Barbara Tuchman's View of the World on the Road to War

Channel Firing
BY THOMAS HARDY
That night your great guns, unawares,
Shook all our coffins as we lay,
And broke the chancel window-squares,
We thought it was the Judgment-day

And sat upright. While drearisome
Arose the howl of wakened hounds:
The mouse let fall the altar-crumb,
The worms drew back into the mounds,

The glebe cow drooled. Till God called, “No;
It’s gunnery practice out at sea
Just as before you went below;
The world is as i
...more
Wes Freeman
Dec 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engaging history of white people from late 19th century to WWI. Written by American journalist living in U.K. and published in 1966, book purports to be "A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914" -- which it ain't by a damn sight -- and works as a pretty good oil painting of the U.K., France, Germany, and the U.S. (with smatterings of Russia, Spain and Italy thrown in for spice) before they all started killing each other with gas and machine guns. Author shows us the political, social, ...more
Jim
Apr 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, reread
It is a thankless job to write a book about the origins of a widespread conflagration such as the First World War. Where is one to draw the line? Where author Barbara Tuchman apparently drew it was the countries of Western Europe -- Britain, France, and Germany -- plus the United States. But what about the view from St. Petersburg or Vienna or even Istanbul? It is all well and good to talk about the rise of international socialism, but what about all the energies released by the decay of the Ott ...more
Michael
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Kalliope
I simply love Tuchman’s writing style, which tells stories around various figures and themes relevant to understanding the origins of the First World War. Except in her introduction and final scene on the verge of mobilization of armies she avoids explicit reference to the war because of the power of the lens of hindsight to distort the accuracy of historical truth. She leaves it to other accounts, including her earlier book, “The Guns of August”, to elucidate the political evolution leading to ...more
Trevor
Jun 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
We humans like to think that there are single moments in our lives and in history around which the rest of history pivots. The point of these pivots is that they explain not only what comes after, but (and not unlike my new reading glasses) also snaps into focus all that went before. Suddenly the world makes sense. Strangely enough I don't think this was the experience the world had with the First World War – although it probably ought to have been. The war was so terrible (in the sense of strik ...more
Clif Hostetler
Dec 09, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Barbara Tuchman is a widely respected historian, and I have always assumed I'd get around to reading all her books some day (I read two of her books in my pre- Goodreads.com days). I had not previously read The Proud Tower probably because the era prior to World War I is of limited interest to me. Things changed recently when Ken Follett came out with his book, Fall of Giants, and a book group I belong to decided to read, Edith Wharton's book The Age of Innocence. These are both fictional storie ...more
Dan
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This is another outstanding book by Barbara Tuchman. It paints a vivid and fascinating picture of the world in the period before World War 1. I think she manages to avoid the obvious danger of seeing everything through the lens created by our modern perspective, knowing, as we do now, that the War was coming and that it would change everything about the world forever. The descriptions of society in Britain, the US, and in particular France (I found the in-depth explanation of the Dreyfus affair ...more
Evan Leach
In The Proud Tower, historian extraordinaire Barbara Tuchman takes on the 25 years leading up to World War I. Focusing on events in England, France, Germany, the U.S. and (to a lesser extent) the rest of the West from 1890-1914, Tuchman presents eight essays that, taken together, provide a revealing look at the “Gilded Age.”

The Patricians – England: 1895-1902

The first of two essays focusing on England, The Patricians presents the world of the top 1% in all of its shameless, decadent, nineteenth
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Vertigo Years: Europe 1900-1914
  • Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age
  • The Great War and Modern Memory
  • No Man's Land: 1918, the Last Year of the Great War
  • Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World
  • Dreadnought
  • The Birth of the Modern: World Society 1815-1830
  • Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914?
  • The Age of Empire, 1875-1914
  • Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution
  • George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I
  • Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy
  • Raj: The Making and Unmaking of British India
  • 1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War
  • The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916
  • The Pity of War: Explaining World War I
  • A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918
  • Vimy
137261
Barbara Wertheim Tuchman was an American self-trained historian and author and double Pulitzer Prize winner. She became best known for The Guns of August (1962), a history of the prelude and first month of World War I.

As an author, Tuchman focused on producing popular history. Her clear, dramatic storytelling covered topics as diverse as the 14th century and World War I, and sold millions of copie
...more
More about Barbara W. Tuchman...
“The proud tower built up through the great age of European civilization was an edifice of grandeur and passion, of riches and beauty and dark cellars. Its inhabitants lived, as compared to a later time, with more self-reliance, more confidence, more hope; greater magnificence, extravagance and elegance; more careless ease, more gaiety, more pleasure in each other's company and conversation, more injustice and hypocrisy, more misery and want, more sentiment including false sentiment, less sufferance of mediocrity, more dignity in work, more delight in nature, more zest. The Old World had much that has since been lost, whatever may have been gained. Looking back on it from 1915, Emile Verhaeren, the Belgian Socialist poet, dedicated his pages, "With emotion, to the man I used to be.” 11 likes
“Even the respectable have a small anarchist hidden on the inside.” 3 likes
More quotes…