The First Salute by Barbara W. Tuchman

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Barbara W. Tuchman, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of the classic The Guns of August, turns her sights homeward with this brilliant, insightful narrative of the Revolutionary War.
In The First Salute, one of America’s consummate historians crafts a rigorously original view of the American Revolution. Barbara W. Tuchman places the Revolution in the context of the centuries-long conflicts between England and both France and Holland, demonstrating how the aid to the American colonies of both these nations made the triumph of independence possible. She sheds new light on the key role played by the contending navies, paints a magnificent portrait of George Washington, and recounts in riveting detail the decisive campaign of the war at Yorktown. By turns lyrical and gripping, The First Salute is an exhilarating account of the birth of a nation.
Praise for The First Salute
“Nothing in a novel could be more thrilling than the moment in this glorious history when French soldiers arrive [to] see a tall, familiar figure: George Washington. . . . It is only part of Tuchman’s genius that she can reconstitute such scenes with so much precision and passion.”—People
“Tuchman writes narrative history in the great tradition. . . . A persuasive book, which brings us entertaining pictures, scenes and characters.”—Chicago Tribune
“[A] tightly woven narrative, ingeniously structured.”—The Christian Science Monitor

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Barbara W. Tuchman

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BARBARA TUCHMAN received her bachelor's degree in history and literature from Radcliffe College in 1933. Following her graduation, she took a position with the American Council of the Institute of Pacific Relations in Japan, where she also wrote for the Far Eastern Survey and Pacific Affairs. Upon her return to the US, Tuchman began working for The Nation, and in 1937 she corresponded from Valencia and Madrid on the Spanish Civil War. Her titles include Bible and Sword, The Zimmerman Telegram, The Proud Tower, Notes from China, A Distant Mirror, Practicing History, The March of Folly, and The First Salute. Tuchman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1963 for The Guns of August and in 1972 for Stillwell and the American Experience in China. She died in February, 1989 and was survived by her husband, three daughters, and four grandchildren.

Author Hometown: New York, NY
Published June 22, 2011 by Random House. 448 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In this case, the goal is the Battle of Yorktown, which Tuchman considers the decisive conclusion of events rooted as deeply in international problems in Europe as in relations between Great Britain and her colonies: the Dutch and English trade wars, hostilities between England and France, politi...

May 26 2012 | Read Full Review of The First Salute


More annoyingly, Tuchman fills the book with repetitions, such as citing twice within four pages the same quote—from the memoir of a Swedish officer serving with the French—about Cornwallis "not sparing defenceless women and children" as he fell back on Yorktown.

Oct 17 1988 | Read Full Review of The First Salute

London Review of Books

‘In general,’ she announces, ‘the Americans, facing many of the same decisions of statehood as the Dutch, came to more sensible solutions, no doubt because they were fortunate in the sensible and sophisticated political thinkers to whom their constitution is owed.’ Lapses of this sort are rare, h...

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The Satirist

Summary: Barbara Tuchman's compelling view on the American Revolution highlights the key role played by The Netherlands in the struggle, first as arms merchant via Saint Eustatius (Dutch Antilles) and later as creditor and ally.

Sep 18 2010 | Read Full Review of The First Salute

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