Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Barbara W. Tuchman, author of the World War I masterpiece The Guns of August, grapples with her boldest subject. Current U.S. politics can be defined by what the historian referred to in her book “The March of Folly” as a “wooden-headedness” in. IN her latest book, Barbara W. Tuchman – the author of such . But any way one approaches ”The March of Folly,” it is unsatisfying, to say the.

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In the notes of his early life, writing of himself in the third person, Solon put it differently: When I was in the 4th grade I found a book that my Mom had to read for college in the back of a cupboard. Turned out to be a great hunch. Unable to explain the courses of action taken, Tuchman cries folly. American Betrays Herself in Vietnam The idiocy of the French is described in the book, and then the American presidents go marvh the same path.

The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam

On the American Revolution, for example, her simple account of the Stamp Act and parliamentary debate on the colonies tuchhman no substantial knowledge of the recent, careful reconstruction of the political understandings of the time. Their ineptitude pushes the colonies towards rebellion. Well, really three things s Man, talk about phoning it in Part of the argument in England had always been that losing the colonies would bring England down.

The underprivileged and the middle class often do no better. To look at the history of modern man since about 1, BC and take examples of real foolishness foloy the part of a number of key governments, and try to see why they so acted, strikes me as a wonderful idea for a book.

Kirkus Reviews wrote in a Feb 15, review, “An exercise in historical interpretation such as this, tracing a single idea through a set of examples, is structured toward [Tuchman’s] weaknesses; and they are only too apparent. All politicians should be forced to read this book. Apr 02, Stephen rated it it was tuchmn Shelves: However, Tucman presents the circumstances leading to and pushing forward the American Revolution from the perspective of the British parliament and government officials.


Additional examples are referenced throughout the book as well. Her book mqrch vivid, clear, unfussy, with just the right density of diction. Living in America we obviously and rightfully approach the American Revolution from an American-centric perspective. It is hard to really draw lessons from the trojan horse as I would have thought it is rather likely that the whole thing is a myth written by the victors.

The rabid right and McCarthy were still around barara there was a growing fear of Communism.

Feb 12, Pages Buy. But in each case the political inertia of the power golly was such to make heeding the warnings impossible. It can be overwhelming and is not welcoming to readers unfamiliar with this kind of writing.

Aug 28, Chomsky rated it it was amazing. A barbaraa attempt by Tuchman to explain or at least illustrate why governments choose the wrong path even when they know it’s the wrong path. I think the inclusion of Troy was a bit of a stretch since it relies on literature rather than history to make its point, but as literature is often about human folly, I guess it works.

Tuchman’s folly

There are times when the circumstances are too inter-dependent or too much at the edge-of-the-cliff that no-one, not even common-sense, could have anticipated the fall that was coming by taking the steps that should have been matter-of-course at any other point. Aug 15, Brian rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Tuchman takes up a panoramic view of human history and exposes these decisions, and wonders with us I thought ‘The March of Folly’ would be a good read to balance out the optimism of The Wisdom of Crowds.

It’s a wonderful addition to my collection, and I will undoubtedly return to its pages for quotes, references, and insights. Tuchman is usually crisp and succinct. As Tuchman proceeds through the case studies, the arguments regarding the nature of the folly and its consequences become more nuanced and complicated which leads me to conclude that, similar to how The Guns of August was an excuse to write the story of the Goeben, the Vietnam case study is the real purpose of the book.


From Troy to Vietnam is a book by Barbara W. Heck, if she’d just decided to write a tolly about the US and Vietnam, I’d have more respect for it. So it appears to me, especially with reference to the beginning of the book, where she discusses both the siege of Troy and then the Papacy during the Renaissance, when she seems very shaky indeed. Soon success was seen as not coming and the macrh of U. My feelings on the war are nuanced, as they probably should be, but Tuchman presents details and information in The March of Folly I was completely ignorant to.

On the British loss of the American colonies, Tuchman compellingly makes the case that leaving any enterprise in the hands of the amateur nitwits with drinking problems that constituted the British government was not the best of ideas. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices. Nothing wrong with that, but I prefer not to be able to read historian’s personal views in the work.

Trivia About The March of Foll The length she devoted to her topics are the ideal bad length.

The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam by Barbara W. Tuchman

This sort of decision making is in fact quite common – leaders always follow the popular ‘wisdom’ and usually it turns out to be right.

At least I’d know what I was getting going into it.

Jul 15, Owen rated it it was ok Shelves: Her lesson is applicable down to the school board or family level also, though we have fewer trusted advisors. It pf possible that these ‘leaders’ were in fact trapped in a competitive spiral – any leader who did not pursue these ‘follies’ would have been scorned and lost his job – precisely because those were widely held to be the correct things to do.