Barbara Tuchman

(1912 - 1989)

Barbara Tuchman worked as a correspondent for The Nation during the Spanish Civil War before publishing a series of acclaimed books of popular history, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Guns of August, after her three children grew up. “If a man is a writer,” she once said in an interview, “everybody tiptoes around past the locked door of the breadwinner. But if you’re an ordinary female housewife, people say, ‘This is just something Barbara wanted to do; it’s not professional.’ ” She saw history as “accidental and perhaps cyclical, of human conduct as a steady stream running through endless fields of changing circumstances, of good and bad always coexisting and inextricably mixed in periods as in people, of crosscurrents and countercurrents usually present to contradict too-easy generalizations.”

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