Barbara Tuchman: Inspirational Historian

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Barbara Tuchman: Inspirational Historian

Barbara Tuchman was known for being one of the best American writers and historians of her time. Born in to a very wealthy and prestige family, her interest in history was adopted through her lifestyle. Her father was not only a banker, philanthropist, and publisher but was also the president of the American Jewish Committee from 1941 to 1943. Her uncle, Henry Morgenthau Jr., served as the Secretary of Treasury under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. While growing up she attended private schools in New York and received a B.A. degree from Radcliffe College. After graduating she went on to work for her father's magazine, The Nation. She was interested in history at this time and began researching historical subjects to place in the magazine. At this time she met her husband, Dr. Lester Reginald Tuchman, and went on to have three daughters through the years (Brody).

While raising a family Barbara Tuchman produced a total of eleven books. Two of her books, The Guns of August and Stillwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945, both received the high honor of the Pulitzer Prize. In order to familiarize herself with the history, she frequently traveled to sites of the event in her books. According to Brody, before writing The Guns of August, "she visited Europe for an on-the-spot survey of the areas where the early land battles of World War I had taken place. She followed the routes that the German armies had taken through Luxemburg, Belgium, and northern France in their attempt to reach Paris." Her final book was The First Salute. In the story she presents the American Revolution being viewed through an international perspective. Her writing then forever stopped due to complications of a stroke on February 6, 1989. Though she has passed away, her books leave behind a better understanding of the past and lessons learned. She not only enlightened readers with facts about history, but also provided her opinion of war through her work (Brody). She is quoted as saying, "War is the unfolding of miscalculations" ("Quotes").

Barbara Tuchman is well known for her books on war history. The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam, gives a great example of Barbara Tuchman's ability to connect historical events with one another. In the book, she summarizes events in time that meet a criteria she calls "Folly." The criteria has three

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