I really enjoyed writing about Barbara Tuchman
. First, there was the pleasure of revisiting The Guns of August
, a book that I hadn’t read for more than two decades. There are lots of lessons for historians interested in writing popular history to be found in Tuchman’s book: the way she uses a grand scene as an entry point into a complicated story, her ability to describe the people she’s talking about, and a willingness to use big sprawling sentences. Second, I loved getting know the feisty woman behind the books.