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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The author finds something different within each one that allows us to see the many levels of government folly.

It is however dangerous to assume the other extreme position – that if only ‘common-sense’ prevailed, much evil could have been avoided. This is a powerful book, especially in understanding the three key examples she uses.

She was retelling twice-told tales without much original thought to add. In the notes of his early life, writing of himself in the third person, Solon put it differently: Tuchman is usually crisp and succinct. By ruse of a clever groom who tethered a favorite mare at the critical spot, Darius’ horse performed on time and his fortunate master, thus singled out as the best man for the job, ascended the throne.

It was published on March 19, by Knopf in New York. Also, she actually is stronger in another classical case not mentioned in the title or in most descriptions of the book, viz.

This is why we have to consider the possibility that these were not just ‘follies’ arising from the closeted and exclusive nature of these leaders, but from a confluence of pressures that left them little folly room – and most importantly, that this is more or less always the case with leaders – their decisions are not always their own. Engaging, informative and wonderfully delivered. Turned out to be a great hunch.

She begins with the story of the Trojan Horse to illustrate the first written example of governmental folly leading to disaster. Or maybe not so unfortunate.


The March of Folly

Instead of f About 8 years ago marchh I read this book I would have given it 4 stars. Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now. And who pays the ultimate price of that folly? The fall of Troy is profound because it became a founding myth for Western Civilization. Not only a fascinating premise but hopefully informative as well. This should make us conclude that the main message of the book, and of history, is one of Tolstoy-ian embrace of the ‘Wisdom of the Masses’?

The March of Folly is a deep dive; it’s not for escapists or fair weather readers. Yes, she’s that good.

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

Whether that was bad luck or was owing to the almost exclusive hold of the ultraprivileged on decision-making positions is not clear beyond question. That sort of thinking only allows us to make the same mistakes again, precisely because common-sense would allow it! Perhaps the most challenging chapter of the book was the one related to the Vietnam War.

The decision was an immediate decision of the actors on the scene and not one which spanned more than one generation of political actors.

The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam

I loved this section and it was easily my favorite of the whole book. In talking to a couple from his constituency who had lost a son in Vietnam, he faced the stark recognition that he could find no words to justify the boy’s death. This is, as she argues, a view of uninformed people not understanding Southeast Asia nor the relative roles of Russian and China in the desired spread of Communism.

Tuchman posits the existance of folly, or the pursuit of public policy contrary to self-interest—in other words, why nations keep shooting themselves in the foot. The New York Review of Books. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

Sep 04, William2 rated it really liked it Shelves: 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. The March of Folly: The fact that there is no stated plan at the beginning of the book chapters and sub-headings and synopses, I mean makes me wonder indeed, just how much of a plan she had.


Tuchman’s The March of Folly is spotty. Her clear, dramatic storytelling covered topics as diverse as the 14th century and World War I, and sold millions of copies. In a May review in The New CriterionPaul Johnson criticized the book as having followed “the conventional, not to say threadbare, lines which the liberal media developed in the s: Secondly, a feasible alternative course of action must have been available.

An unaddressed theme that comes out of the last two parts is the fact that these crises often grow out of situations that just weren’t seen as very important at the time. It seems almost superfluous to say that the present study stems from the ubiquity of this problem in our time. She quotes their letters and their journals; she highlights their disagreements and apathy toward the American colonies.

Barbara Tuchman was a journalist before becoming a history author, fo despite The March of Folly being a book about certain historical incidents, it is more a work of journalism than history. Looking for More Great Reads? Media reporter, reviewer, producer, guest booker, blogger. The actions must be conducted by a number of individuals, not just one deranged maniac; and 4. 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, barnara have anticipated the fall that was coming by taking the steps that should have been matter-of-course at any other point.

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

Barbara Tuchman is a marchh writer and historian whose books I have much enjoyed. What Tuchman sees as utter folly on the part of the U. They regarded protest merely as dissent to be suppressed, not as a serious challenge to their validity.