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The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam


The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam Cover

ISBN13: 9780345308238
ISBN10: 0345308239
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Twice a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, author Barbara Tuchman now tackles the pervasive presence of folly in governments through the ages. Defining folly as the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interersts, despite the availability of feasible alternatives, Tuchman details four decisive turning points in history that illustrate the very heights of folly in government: the Trojan War, the breakup of the Holy See provoked by the Renaissance Popes, the loss of the American colonies by Britain's George III, and the United States' persistent folly in Vietnam. THE MARCH OF FOLLY brings the people, places, and events of history magnificently alive for today's reader.


Includes bibliographies and index.


Includes bibliographical references (p. [391]-428) and index.

About the Author

Barbara W. Tuchman (1912–1989) achieved prominence as a historian with The Zimmermann Telegram and international fame with The Guns of August—a huge bestseller and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Her other works include Bible and Sword, The Proud Tower, Stilwell and the American Experience in China (for which Tuchman was awarded a second Pulitzer Prize), Notes from China, A Distant Mirror, Practicing History, The March of Folly, and The First Salute.

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Edward Hahn, February 1, 2014 (view all comments by Edward Hahn)
A fascinating attempt by Tuchman to explain or at least illustrate why governments choose the wrong path even when they know it's the wrong path. She begins with the story of the Trojan Horse to illustrate the first example of governmental folly leading to disaster.

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.

The popes, in spite of criticism from many clerics and kings continued to enrich themselves and their families, dissipating the power of the papacy, until the Reformation forced a behavioral change.

The British arrogantly ignored the reality of the American colonist's unwillingness to be treated as second class citizens and continued to pursue a series of policies that led to a 6 year war, a war they knew they could neither win nor afford after the Battle of Saratoga in 1776.

The Americans acted under the illusion that they were fighting against Communism and restraining the so-called domino effect when in reality they were fighting against those who believed they were fighting a war of national liberation. I found this to be the most interesting section as time and time again the politicians chose to ignore the facts and opinions of many to pursue an un-winnable conflict.

While this is not the most gripping of Tuchman's writings, it is a very readable exploration of the blindness of those who often lead nations into conflicts they cannot win.
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Jason Straight, April 6, 2009 (view all comments by Jason Straight)
A monument to human foolishness. While historians often try to make sense of the patterns of history, Tuchman's classic book reminds us that history does not always make sense. Since its publication, a sequel could already be written by the failure of many to yield to the lessons of this book's view of history.
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manwith7talents, February 12, 2009 (view all comments by manwith7talents)
This book is excellent. It is fortunate that Ms. Tuchman did not live to see the war in Iraq, or this book would have been much longer.
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Product Details

From Troy to Vietnam
Tuchman, Barbara W.
Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim
Tuchman, Barbara W.
Random House Trade Paperbacks
New York :
History, modern
History & Theory
World politics
Modern - General
World - General
Power (Social sciences)
World History-General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.22x5.29x.86 in. .88 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » General
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » General
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Historical Reference
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Western Civilization

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Product details 528 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345308238 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographies and index.
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