The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam

Barbara W. Tuchman

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The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam

The March of Folly From Troy to Vietnam 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

  • Title: The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam
  • Author: Barbara W. Tuchman
  • ISBN: 9780345308238
  • Page: 365
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 iTwice 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 the Trojan War, the breakup of the Holy See provoked by Renaissance Popes, the loss of the American colonies by Britain s George III the USA s persistent folly in Vietnam THE MARCH OF FOLLY brings the people, places events of history alive for today s reader.

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      365 Barbara W. Tuchman
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      Posted by:Barbara W. Tuchman
      Published :2018-06-26T04:33:47+00:00

    One thought on “The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam

    1. Stephen on said:

      Babs is one crafty, talented 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 August), and the impressiveness of her work has led to my developing rather intense, and possibly inappropriate, feelings for her. I'm smitten. You see, Babs writes history in such a colorful, engaging manner that you don't no [...]

    2. Riku Sayuj on said:

      I thought 'The March of Folly' would be a good read to balance out the optimism of The Wisdom of Crowds. Turned out to be a great hunch.Why?Indeed, Tuchman's book does in fact emphasize that very optimism. 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 them?Tuchman takes up a panoramic view of human history and exposes these decisions, and wonders with us [...]

    3. William1 on said:

      A highly readable account of four instances of human folly over the last 2800 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 Lie, which was written several years later than Tuchman's narrative. Her book is vivid, clea [...]

    4. Somayeh on said:

      "اگر بشر می‌توانست از تاریخ پند گیرد، چه درسها که تاریخ به ما نمی‌داد! ولی شهوت و حزب‌بازی جلو چشم‌مان را می‌بندد و روشناییِ تجربه فانوسی است در عقب کشتی که فقط بر موجهای پشت‌سرمان می‌تابد."خواندنش را به دوستداران تاریخ و سیاست و جامعه شناسی توصیه می‌کنم. نثر تاکمن بسیار گ [...]

    5. Alireza Sahafzadeh on said:

      کتاب را در کنار بستر گذاشته بودم و هر شب به شوق خواندنش زودتر به سمت بستر خوابم میرفتم تا بخوانمش و در هر صفحه و هر خطش یاد جمله ی معروف آنچه انتهای ندارد حماقت بشر است می افتادم اشراف نویسنده به اطلاعات بسیار بالا بود و شیرین زبانیش مزید بر علت میشد تا هر لحظه برای خواندن بیشتر [...]

    6. Erik Graff on said:

      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 in the title or in most descriptions of the book, viz. that of King Rehoboam of Israel. Second, the account of the involvements of France and the United States in VietNam is of a journalistic quality not in keeping with [...]

    7. Brian on said:

      About 8 years ago when I read this book I would have given it 4 stars. It gets a 5 today simply because it is much more pertinent to read it now. Barbara Tuchman is one of the great writers of history. She remembers the first rule of history: Tell a story. In this one she tells several and keeps your attention better. The theme is imaginative and appropriate. It is also not a very long book so you can easily read it in a week. Barbara Tuchman has a way of viewing history as few can. Instead of f [...]

    8. Dana Stabenow on said:

      A book which informed my entire world view, and still does. 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. She uses the Trojans taking the Greek horse inside the walls of Troy as her templatee feasible alternative--that of destroying the Horse--is always open. Capys the Elder advised it before Laocoon's warning, and Cassandra afterward. Notwithstanding the frequent references in [...]

    9. Russell Bittner on said:

      The March of Folly is an unfortunate title. Or maybe not so unfortunate. Because, after all, what is folly? Barbara Tuchman gives us several examples of the human animal at its worst — but parading at its best. From Ancient Troy right up through Vietnam (can a sequel including Chechnia, the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan be far behind?), we have proved ourselves to be little better than the apes. If there’s a difference, it’s only in the splendor of our rebarbative behavior. Kings [...]

    10. Kaveh on said:

      شايد با خواندن اين كتاب از بار رواني اي كه سنگيني اش را هميشه حس مي كنيم كاسته شود! اينكه نزديك به سه هزار سال پيش تا كنون، همه حكمرانان كاري جز اين نكرده اند كه تمامي خطاهاي پيشينيان را تكرار كنند، اينكه هرگز در حكمراني، عبرت و عقل كمترين جايگاهي ندارد، اينكه در اين 30 قرن، بشر [...]

    11. Rindis on said:

      Barbara Tuchman was a journalist before becoming a history author, and despite The March of Folly being a book about certain historical incidents, it is more a work of journalism than history. It is an investigation into the process by which governments embark on self-destructive courses ('folly'), despite recognition of the problem, and alternative courses being available. As such, it is more of a screed against certain practices, rather than a real attempt at balanced or impartial history.The [...]

    12. Owen on said:

      Barbara Tuchman is a first-rate writer and historian whose books I have much enjoyed. For some years now I have been meaning to get a copy of "The March of Folly," since it is a book which greatly appeals to me in its concept. To look at the history of modern man (since about 1,000 BC) and take examples of real foolishness on the part of a number of key governments, and try to see why they so acted, strikes me as a wonderful idea for a book. However, I can now say, somewhat reluctantly, that "Th [...]

    13. James on said:

      I always enjoy Barbara Tuchman`s ability to write compelling and accessible history be it the oubreak of WWI or the life of a french aristorcrat in the 14th Century, add to that a job which allows me to experience folly in all its glory, I had sky high expectations of the book.The premise was so promising, noted historian takes a four egregious disatsers the trojan horse, the papal actions in the lead up to Luther, the loss of the american colonies and the Vietnam war to understand what led to t [...]

    14. Jennifer on said:

      When I was in the 4th grade I found a book that my Mom had to read for college in the back of a cupboard. That book was Barbara W. Tuchman's "A Distant Mirror", and I do believe that is what led me to all the other history books I've enjoyed in the years since. "The March of Folly" is a study of, in the authors' words, pursuit of policy contrary to self-interest, with four main examples. The Trojan horse, The Renaissance popes, the British loss of America, and America in Vietnam. I particularly [...]

    15. Mohsen Rajabi on said:

      کتاب آسان‌خوانی نیست و با اینحال باید خواندش. به تاریخ از دریچه‌ای نگاه می‌کند و بی‌خردی جمعی و خودخواهی‌های بشر را در مقاطع مهمی از تاریخ نشان می‌دهد و می‌گوید که چگونه بعضی از فجایع تاریخ رخ داده‌اندبرای من چندین ماه سخت طول کشید و با اینحال خواندمش و راضی‌ام از خواندن [...]

    16. Karla on said:

      I'd love to know what Barbara Tuchman, who wrote this in 1984, would think of the current U.S. political situation.From the epilogue:In America, where the electoral process is drowning in commercial techniques of fund-raising and image-making, we may have completed a circle back to a selection process as unconcerned with qualifications as that which made Darius King of Persia.And what was that, you might ask?When he and six fellow conspirators, as recorded by Herodotus, overthrew the reigning de [...]

    17. Ed on said:

      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 written 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 c [...]

    18. Thom on said:

      Good topic, but a little dry, fairly dense, and not as good as The Guns of August. The author looks at the causes of four historical "folly" events - the Trojan Horse, 6 corrupt Renaissance Popes (leading to the Reformation and a sack of Rome), the lead-up to the American revolution (primarily from the British side), and finally French and American involvement in Vietnam and SE Asia.These follies are chosen because viable alternatives were available and popularly supported, and the decisions wer [...]

    19. Gill on said:

      I found the section on Troy extremely interesting, the section on the Popes not very interesting, and the introduction I found OK. Tuchman's thesis re 'folly' was a new viewpoint for me, so I'm pleased that I read as much as I did. There seemed to be an awful lot of 'facts' in each chapter. So I decided not to read the sections on the American War of Independence, and on Vietnam.

    20. Clif Hostetler on said:

      In this book Tuchman takes a step beyond the traditional historian's story-telling role to provide color-commentary about a specific subset of examples of misgovernment that she classifies as "folly." Not all examples of misgovernment can be classified as folly as explained in the following quotation."Misgovernment is of four kinds, often in combination. They are: 1) tyranny or oppression , 2) excessive ambition , 3) incompetence or decadence , 4) folly or perversity. This books is concerned [...]

    21. Aaron on said:

      Excellent, excellent examination of the tendency for political policies to continue down damaging pathways though multiple experts advise against it, which Tuchman describes as “folly.” Her description of decadent popes directly encouraging the Protestant Reformation and the resulting loss of Roman power is fun, lively, and intellectually rigorous. She falters a bit while explaining the British loss of the American colonies as a result of folly. She would have been wise to shave at least 20- [...]

    22. Артур on said:

      Читаю уже четвертую подряд (прерываясь лишь на восхитительные Famles) книгу историка Барбары Такман. Очаровала она меня блистательными "Августовскими пушками",одной из лучших книг о ПМВ, где искусно сочетала подробнейшие описания сражений с закулисными политическими интриг [...]

    23. Douglas on said:

      Barbara Tuchman teaches us all about why the stupid people in power do the stupid things they do. Inviting giant wooden horses inside the walls. Provoking the Protestant Reformation. Losing the American Colonies. Bogging a superpower down in a brushfire war in a backwater country of no strategic significanceis one needs an update for the new century of follies, but alas Tuchman is no longer with us.

    24. The Thousander Club on said:

      In 2002 Elder Neal A. Maxwell titled Encircled in the Arms of His Love. As part of his talk, he briefly discussed the Founding Fathers and subsequently quoted Barbara W. Tuchman from her book The March of Folly: "It would be invaluable if we could know what produced this burst of talent from a base of only two and a half million inhabitants." As part of my quest to catalogue as many books quoted at General Conference as possible, I added the book to the list and shortly thereafter ordered it for [...]

    25. Richard on said:

      After reading The Guns of August I had very high expectations for The March of Folly. My expectations were perhaps too high as this book left me wanting more. Unlike The Guns of August which takes a narrative form The March of Folly reads more like a thesis with carefully selected evidence presented to support it. While I found her arguments well reasoned I could not shake the feeling that much of the evidence was carefully selected to prove her points while counter evidence was left out.The Mar [...]

    26. Chris Jaffe on said:

      Man, talk about phoning it in.Years ago I read Barbara Tuchman's famous "Guns of August" and thought it was great. So I'd give this one a shot. Big mistake.She's just slumming it here; not trying very hard. The theme is times in history when a nation engaged in folly - self-defeating behavior. That's a pretty broad theme that in encapsulate tons of examples. She focuses on four items that don't really have much to do w/ each other, but she felt like talking about. Well, really three things (she [...]

    27. Ben Shee on said:

      Insightful, particularly for a history noob like myself, Barb's writing is full of relevant advice, reflected in the mistakes of the past. Although written in the 80s, the book remains valuable and interesting, and I always felt like I was in well-researched, objectively neutral hands when reading. I came away feeling like I had learned quite a lot. I felt like I could better underrstand the pitfalls of bad government decision making and how to avoid making the same mistakes if I was ever in a s [...]

    28. Lisa on said:

      Spooky how little changes in 30 years or more. It does go on too long, in my opinion, but just imagine what she’d have to say about Iraq and Afghanistan.

    29. Jared on said:

      'The March of Folly' was written by Barbara Tuchman (author of 'Guns of August'). The book, as the title implies, discusses various case studies throughout history in which governments defied reason and pursued actions that were to their detriment. The main examples that Tuchman discusses are:1. The Trojan Horse2. The Renaissance Popes (and the lead-up to the Reformation)3. The British Lose America 4. America's Involvement in Vietnam Below are the items from the book that I found interesting:- " [...]

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