Book Club: Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman

One of the selections for April-June 2018 is “The Guns of August” by Barbara Tuchman. Tuchman, b. January 30, 1912 – d. February 6, 1989, won the 1963 Pulitzer Prize for this book which is considered a classic.

Tuchman was born in New York City before WWI broke out, though the conflict would surely have had an impact on her life. A passionate interest in history led to a major in history and literature at Radcliffe College. She then worked as a correspondent for The Nation, which at the time was owned by her father. After leaving the publication, she concentrated on raising her children until WWII broke out, at which point she worked for the Office of War Information.

Her first published book was “The Lost British Policy: Britain and Spain Since 1700” in 1938. She would go to write eleven more books as well numerous articles. She also lectured at Harvard, the Naval War College, and the University of California.

Barbara Tuchman won two Pulitzer Prizes over the course of her career, the first for Guns of August and the second for her biography “Stillwell and the American Experience in China.”

Bill Moyers spoke with Barbara Tuchman shortly before her death. Though this interview focuses on another of Tuchman’s works, “First Salute” about the American Revolution, it highlights her vast knowledge of history and her varied interests. I highly suggest watching it if only for all the 80’s references.


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