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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Tuchman’s folly

Tuchmanan American tjchman and author. This is a powerful book, especially in understanding the three key examples she uses. Feb 12, Pages. But you get neither. Heck, if she’d just decided to write a book about the US and Vietnam, I’d have more respect for it.

Their ineptitude pushes the colonies towards rebellion. The failure of America in Vietnam: Tuchman focuses on four such events, to wit: 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.

Of course they soon managed to spark the July 4, Declaration of Independence, and the War of Independence which England lost. It is quite a powerful argument and one we would dearly love to embrace – it gives us the possibility of a future where we can side-step such follies, by avoiding these very decision making practices.

Aug 15, Brian rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: She chronicles their ignoring of discontent, and the power of the American appetite for freedom. Barbara Tuchman gives us several examples of the human animal at its worst — but parading at its best.


The popes, in spite of criticism from many clerics and kings c A fascinating attempt by Tuchman to explain or batbara least illustrate why governments choose the wrong path even when they know it’s the wrong path. What is clear is that when incapacity is joined by complacency, the result is the worst possible combination.


If only those Trojans had listened to Laocoon the city would not have fallen. The American Revolution chapter mostly deals with events before the outbreak of fighting.

Within years, they might actaully learn something. Why would these people vote against their own self-interest now?

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. Open Preview See a Problem? The March of Folly is an excellent academic study of the four events or time periods previously listed.

Although only occurring a handful of decades ago, the events of the Vietnam War seem distant and mystifying.

Summary [ edit ] The book is about “one of the most compelling paradoxes of history: There are no discussion topics on this book yet. The book is about “one of the most compelling paradoxes of history: The ultimate outcome of a policy is not what determines its qualification as folly.

The next three examples barbraa of the Renaissance Popes, the British handling of the American Revolution and the American actions before and during the Vietnamese War. We are experiencing lf difficulties.

Tuchman’s folly | The New Criterion

The British Lose America 20 years of fumbles – not paying any attention to the barbar of the people in the colonies, not evaluating how likely their methods are to succeed.

Media reporter, reviewer, producer, guest booker, blogger. President Roosevelt had been opposed to the French revival of control, but after he died The State department almost immediately changed to pro-French policy, and President Truman was persuaded to welcome French control in Indochina.

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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 March of Folly by Barbara W. Tuchman | : Books

See all books by Barbara W. However, if anything illustrates Tuchman’s thesis brilliantly, it’s Vietnam. It gets a 5 today simply because it is much more pertinent to read it now. 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.

Want to Read saving…. I have known something of a feeling of bitterness over some aspects of that conflict.

In “The March of Folly,” one begins to wonder if she has not strayed too far afield and is rather unsure of her ground. But there are times in history when this normal course of action fails. The American Revolution chapter in particular was especially intriguing. 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.

Starting with the French, and the unresolved difference in goals between them and our aid to them, it traces through the entire tragedy to the American pullout.

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