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Tuchman, Barbara (1912–1989) - World History

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Barbara Tuchman was born in New York City on January 30, 1912, to Maurice Wertheim, a banker, art collector, and publisher, and Alma (Morgenthau) Wertheim. She attended the Walden School in New York City and received a B.A. from Radcliffe College in 1933. She became research and editorial assistant for the Institute of Pacific Relations in 1933 and was a staff writer and foreign correspondent for Nation in Tokyo in 1934–35. She was moved to Madrid in 1937 and covered the early stages of the Spanish Civil War. She continued to write on the war in London, where she was staff writer on The War in Spain . The next year she became U.S. correspondent for New Statesman and Nation . In 1940 she married physician Lester Tuchman and worked from 1943 to 1945 as editor of Far Eastern Affairs for the Office of War Information.

In 1938 Tuchman had written a history book entitled The Lost British Policy: Britain and Spain Since 1700 . Years later, in 1956, she returned to writing history with Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour . The next year The Zimmerman Telegram appeared, and in 1962 The Guns of August was published; it won the Pulitzer Prize for 1963. In 1966 she wrote The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890–1914 , followed by Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911–1945 , which came out in 1971 and also won the Pulitzer Prize (1972). In 1972 Tuchman wrote Notes from China , and in 1978, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century; she was awarded the gold medal for history by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences that same year. This was followed by Practicing History in 1981 and The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam in 1984. Her last book, The First Salute—A View of the American Revolution , was published in 1988.

Barbara Tuchman died of a stroke on February 6, 1989. Before her death she had received many honorary degrees, including those from Yale University, Columbia University, New York University, Williams College, the University of Massachusetts, Smith College, Hamilton College, Mount Holyoke College, and Boston University. She was president of the Society of American Historians, council member of the Smithsonian Institution, and the first woman president of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

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