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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Man, talk about phoning it in Perhaps this first fault leads to the second, although not entirely.

From Troy to Vietnam”. To buck folly is to question our very essence. Although written in the 80s, the book remains valuable and interesting, and I always felt like I was in well-researched, objectively neutral hands when reading.

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

It is wholly inadequate to harbara government of any other. This can distort her objective examination of the topic in some areas, but if it is noticed and ignored, the rest of the study is outstanding. This books is concerned with the last in a specific manifestation; that is, the pursuit of policy contrary to the self-interest of the constituency or state involved.

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Kirkus Reviews wrote in a Feb 15, review, “An exercise in historical interpretation such as this, tracing a single idea through marc set of examples, is structured toward [Tuchman’s] weaknesses; and they are only too apparent. Although appearing to be disparate events and time periods, and one being veiled by mythology, Tuchman asserts that each have similar characteristics and outcomes. Each is well written, but are follyy a completely separate work, since they just serve to try to illustrate her point, instead of having any inherent connection to each other.

This is tuhman powerful book, especially in understanding the three key examples she uses. The Trojan Horse episode serves as an introductory prototype. On the other hand, “Kennedy was no wooden head,” since he avoided making a decision on Vietnam; had he lived, he would presumably either have withdrawn from Vietnam or become another wooden head.


Barbara Tuchman has a way of viewing history as few can. You’re so interested that you just glide along the pages, absorbed in her narrative web, while she’s filling your brain with smarts.

I find this curious indeed and have been wondering for some time why it is so. Also, she actually is stronger in another classical case not mentioned in the title or in most descriptions of the book, viz. She falters a bit while explaining the British loss of the American colonies as a result of folly.

Her three major examples are the aggressive actions of the Renaissance popes that resulted in the Reformation, Britain’s loss of the American colonies, and the American debacle in Vietnam. The focus is on spectacular failures: But we can extrapolate them into any number of follies that we are familiar with in our own countries and see how leaders make the stupid mistakes over and over again, and incomprehensible mistakes at that.

In the end a fairly depressing book which acknowledges the failures of societies to govern themselves well. There seemed to be an awful lot of ‘facts’ in each chapter. The March of Folly is an unfortunate title.

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. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. If the sections were shorter, the lack of original insight would be acceptable.

THE MARCH OF FOLLY by Barbara W. Tuchman | Kirkus Reviews

Darius argued that they should keep to the rule of one and obtain the best government by choosing “the very best man in the whole state. View all 18 comments. She gives us a comentary. She identifies 6 Renaissance popes between who jointly followed government patterns, if one could even call them that, that led to the Protestant Secession and the loss of the Church of England. Inspired by Your Browsing History. A terrific end tkchman an amazing survey of history.


That sort of thinking only allows us to make the same mistakes again, precisely because common-sense would allow it! Un libro fondamentale per capire certi meccanismi della politica e della vita che ci possono sembrare impossibili ma che alla fine avvengono e anche molto spesso.

I think I have felt very keenly the feelings of many of our young men concerning this terrible conflict in which we are engaged, but I am sure we are there because of a great humanitarian spirit in the hearts of the people of this nation. In folky May review in The New Criterion match, Paul Johnson criticized the book as having followed “the kf, not to say threadbare, lines which the liberal media developed in the s: American Betrays Herself marcb Vietnam The idiocy of the French is described in the book, and then the American presidents go down the same path.

If it was longer, maybe she’d have time to provide insight. About 8 years ago when I read this book I would have given it 4 stars. Tuchmqn Tuchman’s gaze is squarely fixed on ministers in London trying to implement an unenforceable tax, the real dynamics of colonial rebellion were being played out in America.

Tuchman’s folly

The fighting isn’t covered in any real sense, but the demands of rabid anti-communism with its fears of all communists everywhere working in fllly with Moscow are well pointed out though not as well developed as I’d like; though that’d probably be going off her topic. The premise was so promising, noted historian takes a four egregious disatsers the trojan horse, the papal actions in the lead up to Luther, the loss of the american colonies and the Vietnam war to understand what led to the decisions.

Regardless of whether one could argue the alternatives convincingly, I found tcuhman topics a little dry and the text dense at times.