The March of Folly has ratings and reviews. Twice a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, author Barbara Tuchman now tackles the pervasive presence of. 64 quotes from The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam: ‘Chief among the forces affecting political folly is lust for power, named by Tacitus as the mo. Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Barbara W. Tuchman, author of the World War I masterpiece The Guns of August, grapples with her boldest subject.
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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam by Barbara W. Twice a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, author Barbara Tuchman now tackles the pervasive presence of folly in governments thru the ages. Defining folly as the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests, despite the availability of feasible alternatives, Tuchman details four decisive turning points in history that illustrate the very heights of folly i Twice a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, author Barbara Tuchman now tackles the pervasive presence of folly in governments thru the ages.
Defining folly as the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests, despite the availability of feasible alternatives, Tuchman details four decisive turning points in history that illustrate the very heights of folly in government: Paperbackpages.
The March of Folly
To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The March of Follyplease sign up. Not sure I could read a book that speaks of our persistent folly in Vietnam, it may appear to be folly but what would she want?
To not oppose Communism? To get in and then abandon our allies without even attempting to win? The folly me thinks would be to treat her a person that has anything to offer. See 1 question about The March of Folly…. Lists with This Book.
Apr 02, Stephen rated it it was amazing Shelves: Babs is one craftytalented instructor and this ranks highly among the BEST history books I’ve had the pleasure of reading.
You should be reading it right now. Seriously, I mean it. This is the second gem by Barbara Tuchman that I’ve tackled, after the stellar The Guns of Augustand the impressiveness of her work has led to my developing rather intense, and possibly inappropriate, feelings for her. You see, Babs writes history in such a colorful, engaging manner that you don’t no Babs is one craftytalented instructor and this ranks highly among the BEST history books I’ve had the pleasure of reading.
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. You’re so interested that you just glide along the pages, absorbed in her narrative web, while she’s filling your brain with smarts. Honestly, how often can you truly say that you’ve overdosed on happy reading a history book. Yes, she’s that good. The actions must be clearly contrary to the self-interest of the organization or group pursuing them; 2.
The actions must be conducted over a period of time, not just in a single burst of irrational behavior; 3. The actions must be conducted by a number of individuals, not just one deranged maniac; and 4. Tuchman spends some pages at the beginning of the book describing a number of “bonehead” and “assclowny” decisions in history that didn’t qualify as folly, either because they were a single instance of governmental psychosis, or because they were carried out at the command of a dictator and not a coordinated governmental policy.
The Fall of Troy: The loss of Troy as a result of the Trojans’ failure to question the deployment of the “Trojan Horse” by the Greeks. While interesting, this for me was easily the “weakest” part of the book, mainly because there is just not enough historical knowledge on the subject for Tuchman to analyze convincingly.
She managed to keep me engaged with her stylish delivery, but I think this segment was likely included in order to have the book span a larger swatch of world history. The Renaissance Popes and the Protestant Reformation: The reign of the Renaissance Popes and how their excesses, and their failure to recognize the growing discontent among the Church members, led directly to the Protestant Reformation.
I loved this section and it was easily my favorite of the whole book.
After finishing this portion, I immediately went about trying to locate other books on the period. It was a fascinating time. Now if I can only get Babs to re-write these other books to make them more interesting. How the Britsh lost the American colonies: Another superb section of the book.
What I found most interesting about this discussion bargara the major events that led up the American Revolution is that Tuchman spent most of her time looking through the eyes of the British, in contrast to peering through the eyes of the American colonist, which is the more common perspective used in studies of this period.
Despite my general familiarity with this period, I found this to be very enlightening. The failure of America in Vietnam: A terrific end to an amazing survey of history. My only quibble here is that I od Tuchman’s “objectivity” may have slipped away to make a sandwich or take a nap because you can readily see that she was strongly against the war. Nothing wrong with that, but I prefer not to be tuchan to read historian’s personal views in the work. Still, her analysis is excellent, well supported, and she lays out the history in a very engaging manner.
Overall, this is as good as histories get. Engaging, informative and wonderfully delivered. I would call this a must for history fans or fans of military history. View all 17 comments. Mar 16, Riku Sayuj rated fllly liked it. Turned out to be tucbman great hunch. Indeed, Tuchman’s book does in fact emphasize that very optimism.
The March of Folly Quotes by Barbara W. Tuchman
Tuchman’s ‘Follies’ are committed not by the common people but by closeted leaders, lacking in common-sense and cut-off from ground realities.
Do I need to mention the Yes-Men that surround tuchmn 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.
Tuchman takes up a panoramic view of human history and exposes these decisions, and wonders with us how much Folly it took to make these disastrous calls.
The March of Folly – Wikipedia
Surely common-sense would not have allowed these? 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. This irrationality is what astounds us when we look back on these gross errors of judgment and Tuchman is especially scathing in barbqra with the leaders who make such choices: This should make us conclude that the main message of the book, and of history, fuchman one of Tolstoy-ian embrace of the ‘Wisdom of the Masses’?
It is quite a powerful argument and one we would dearly love to embrace – barbarx gives us the possibility of a future where we can side-step such follies, by avoiding these very decision making practices.
And barbraa is very very important too. However, I think there is one more angle to be considered here. Consider Tuchman’s emphatic statement: 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. This sort of decision making is in fact quite common – leaders always follow the popular ‘wisdom’ and usually it turns out to be right.
But there are times in history when this normal course of action fails. There are times when the circumstances are too inter-dependent or too much yuchman 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.
These are the points when good practices suddenly seem like Follies. 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 wiggle room – and most importantly, that this is more or less always the case with leaders – their bargara are not always their own.
So the March of Folly could well be as unstoppable as it sounds to those leaders as well, especially in the short term when history rushed in on them. This is not of course! It is however dangerous to assume the other extreme position tuhman that if only ‘common-sense’ prevailed, much evil could have been avoided. That sort of thinking only allows us to make the same mistakes again, precisely because common-sense would allow it!
View all 18 comments. Sep 04, William2 rated it really liked it Shelves: A highly readable account of four instances of human folly over the last years. These include the Trojans’s unaccountable bringing of the Trojan horse into Troy; the transgressions of the Renaissance Popes which brought on the Reformation; the loss by Britain of the American colonies; and America’s own pointless war in Vietnam.
The last section reminds me very much of Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Liewhich was written several years later than Tuchman’s narrative. Her book is vivid, clea A highly readable account of four instances of human folly over the last years. Her book is vivid, clear, unfussy, with just the right density oof diction. Tuchman’s The March of Folly is spotty. First of all, too much attention is paid to Troy, about which nothing is known, historically speaking. All that section does is provide a simile or two for what follows.
Also, she actually is stronger in another classical case not mentioned babara the title or in most descriptions of the book, viz. Second, the account of the involvements of France and the United States in VietNam is of a journalistic quality not in keeping with Tuchman’s The March of Folly is spotty. Second, the account of the involvements of France and the United States in VietNam is of a journalistic quality not in keeping with the rest of the book, though it may well have been her motive for writing it.
I appreciated the refresher course, but it does not have the historical character of her two best studies, viz.
On the Renaissance popes I appreciated the clear survey of ineptitute as the period is not well-known to me. On the Americas I appreciated the overview of the revolution as she worked so much from the position of England, rather than from the wearisomely familiar perspective of the colonists.