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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None of the sections work as straight narrative: And that seems to adequately sum it up. The underprivileged and the middle class often do no better. I would argue that with no reform the same type of nitwit managed go on to build a very large empire and was there really anything wiser council would have done but delay the inevitable.


Twice a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, author Barbara Tuchman now tackles the pervasive presence of folly in governments thru the ages. Doubly depressing because the only leadership trait the book singles out as having promise of good government is moral character.

The next three examples are of the Renaissance Popes, the British handling of the American Revolution and the American actions before and during the Vietnamese War. Barbara Tuchman did a though job of documenting the unwillingness to see and unwillingness to admit mistakes that plague leaders. Jul 20, Pages. It is in many ways a depressing book, particularly in the light of the incredible stupidity and even more impressive veniality of the current American government.

The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam

Part of the argument in England had always been that losing the colonies would bring England down. You see, Babs writes history in such a colorful, engaging manner that you don’t notice she’s shoveling mounds of knowledge into your memory muscle.


It is 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.

As another example, it can only be folly if another reasonable alternative choice is available yet the counter productive choice is made. Inclusion of the Vietnam War in the book was a tilt toward commentary on a more recent example of folly, and is probably not all that significant in the long view of history.

The March of Folly – Wikipedia

She gives us a comentary. Regardless of whether one could argue the alternatives convincingly, I found the topics a little dry and the text dense at barbzra. Their governance dismayed the faithful, brought the Holy See into disrepute, left unanswered the cry for reform, ignored all protests, warnings and signs of rising revolt, and ended by breaking apart the unity of Christendom and losing half the papal constituency to the Protestant secession.

Brbara from ” https: In America, where the electoral process is drowning in commercial techniques of fund-raising and image-making, we may have tucyman a circle back to a selection process as unconcerned with qualifications as that which made Darius King of Persia. Her writing and exhaustive research does plenty to convince the reader of her perspective. Despite my general familiarity with this period, I found this to be very enlightening.

Truman sent 35 men up to later, but they were not even wanted by the French.

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

She would have been wise to shave at least tuchnan that section and tighten it up a bit, although I attribute the boredom more to the tedious reality of the argument repeated similar debates in Parliament than her skill as a writer. People needing a refresher course in history. He achieved important results in both these endeavors, which being visible, have received ample notice as the visibles of history usually do.


That book was Barbara W. I find this curious indeed and have been wondering for some time why it is so. While Tuchman catalogues a long list of individual scoundrels, especially harbara political and governmental circles, she points out that huge masses still tried to live decent lives and relied on their Catholic religion for guidance.

The Trojan Horse section is purely illustrative of her point, since it’s a discussion of myth, badbara little idea of what really happened. Self-interest is whatever conduces to the welfare or advantage of the body being governed; folly is a policy that in these terms is counter-productive.

Tuchman takes up a panoramic view of human history and exposes these decisions, and wonders with us how much Folly it tuhman to make these disastrous calls.


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In “The March of Folly,” one begins to wonder if she has not strayed too far afield and is rather unsure of her ground. Also the popes were extraordinarily consistent in their actions so it is hard to see what was folly versus ingrained admittedly self destructive custom.