Bible and Sword

  • by Barbara W. Tuchman
  • Narrated by Wanda McCaddon
  • 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Two-time Pulitzer Prize - winning historian Barbara Tuchman explores the complex relationship of Britain to Palestine that led to the founding of the modern Jewish state - and to many of the problems that plague the Middle East today.
From early times, the British people have been drawn to the Holy Land through two major influences: the translation of the Bible into English and, later, the imperial need to control the road to India and access to the oil in the Middle East. Under these influences, one cultural and the other political, countless Englishmen - pilgrims, crusaders, missionaries, merchants, explorers, and surveyors - have made their way to the land of the ancient Hebrews.
With the lucidity and vividness that characterizes her work, Barbara Tuchman brings to life the development of these twin motives - the Bible and the sword - in the consciousness of the British people, until they were finally brought together at the end of World War I when Britain's conquest of Palestine from the Turks and the solemn moment of entering Jerusalem were imminent. Requiring a gesture of matching significance, that event evoked the Balfour Declaration of 1917, establishing a British-sponsored national home for the modern survivors of the people of the Old Testament.
In her account, first published in 1956, Ms. Tuchman demonstrates that the seeds of today's troubles in the Middle East were planted long before the first efforts at founding a modern state of Israel.

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What the Critics Say

"Barbara Tuchman is a wise and witty writer, a shrewd observer with a lively command of high drama." (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"In her métier as a narrative popular historical writer, Barbara Tuchman is supreme." (Chicago Sun-Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great historical insight into how we got to today

Once again, Barbara Tuckman has done a fine job of bringing history to life. Her review of the 1900 years of English fascination with the Holy Lands/Palestine leading up to the Balfour Mandate was very interesting. The insight on how all of that history led to the recreation of Israel as a Nation in Palestine was very informative. There is much shared in this book that many miss when considering the current situation of Arab and Jew.
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- Plimtuna

Not Tuchman's finest work

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

It's hard to say who would or even could enjoy it more. This subject was right up my alley but was incredibly dry. So dry that even a reading by McCaddon couldn't save it.


What was most disappointing about Barbara W. Tuchman’s story?

It was not remotely as engaging as Guns of August


Which character – as performed by Wanda McCaddon – was your favorite?

The Narrator


If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Bible and Sword?

Hard to say I would have cut anything so much as rearranged it or expanded them.


Any additional comments?

I might give this another try. Maybe the issue is that the book doesn't lend itself to an audio version and the printed work is much easier to follow. The storytelling was lacking for an audible presentation.

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- Arius

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-13-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.