The March of Folly

The March of Folly

From Troy to Vietnam

Book - 1985
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Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Barbara W. Tuchman, author of the World War I masterpiece The Guns of August, grapples with her boldest subject: the pervasive presence, through the ages, of failure, mismanagement, and delusion in government.

Drawing on a comprehensive array of examples, from Montezuma's senseless surrender of his empire in 1520 to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, Barbara W. Tuchman defines folly as the pursuit by government of policies contrary to their own interests, despite the availability of feasible alternatives. In brilliant detail, Tuchman illuminates four decisive turning points in history that illustrate the very heights of folly: 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' own persistent mistakes in Vietnam. Throughout The March of Folly, Tuchman's incomparable talent for animating the people, places, and events of history is on spectacular display.

Praise for The March of Folly

"A glittering narrative . . . a moral [book] on the crimes and follies of governments and the misfortunes the governed suffer in consequence." --The New York Times Book Review

"An admirable survey . . . I haven't read a more relevant book in years." --John Kenneth Galbraith, The Boston Sunday Globe

"A superb chronicle . . . a masterly examination." --Chicago Sun-Times
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 1985
Edition: 1st Ballantine Books ed
ISBN: 9780345308238
Characteristics: xvi, 447 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 21 cm
Call Number: 909.08 TUC

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Jan 09, 2018

What this essay here wants us to believe (what in school we are taught too) is that the world has been led so far by mostly dumb but honest leaders. And this is not quite so. The world has been led since millennia by two or three dozen dynasties, who never lost control, therefore they are not dummies. When they did something against the interests of their people, it was for a hidden purpose, and they justified those actions by saying "sorry, I was a dummy." One author researched and proved that out of 50 American Presidents 25 were descendants of former English Kings, and 25 Presidents were cousins to each other. And another author tells in his book that at the funeral of King George of England in 1919 nine out of ten European royals who attended the funeral were cousins of each other and of King George. And that author said: "How clever it was to put on the thrones of Europe people who were all blood relatives of each other." The author, as far as I remember, was Rosenberg, and the title of the audio book was: "The Final Days" (I guess this was the title.) If you want a check on this topic, watch the video, available in VPL titled "The Battle Of The Clans." What that Stuart Prince of Scotland led the Scots into, i.e. marching on London, six thousand clansmen with mostly swards and sticks for weapons, thereby providing a pretext for the Stuart Kings of England to counter-attack and invade Scotland, it was not a folly, it had a purpose. That move was such a "folly" from that Prince that it's impossible to believe it was not on purpose, against the interests of the Scots. And this way, all the "follies" this author tells may have had a hidden purpose. The world is led by very cunning folk since millennia, and they never lost control - they are not dummies. The Vietnam war was not a "mistake" or "folly." By now it is admitted officially that it was started based on a lie of "the Tonkin Bay incident," when allegedly Vietnam ships were firing shots at an American ship. This never happened. It was told the public that the Vietnam war's purpose was to "contain Communism." But it was told long ago too that America needs a war every 25 years to keep its industry going. It was not a "folly," it had a purpose.

Jan 09, 2018

A tenuous thread to connect folly from a mythological story to Vietnam. The most interesting and closest to the author's thesis was in describing the group think and fears of not being re -elected in the description to the American Revolution and again in Vietnam. Interesting enough if you like history but a failure as far as the thesis went.

Feb 12, 2016

"Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?" -- Axel, Count Oxenstiern, 1580s. Barbara Tuchman examines a neglected, but perhaps determining factor in human history -- stupidity. She details four notorious cases, which -- and this is key -- were widely believed to be counter-productive policies at the time. Reading this book can be excruciating, if blunt details of folly in the high and mighty, and even the intelligent and good make you squirm. It was written towards the end of Tuchman's life, and the author is not at her best. Some situations are arguably oversimplified, and the author is noticeably bitter about the U.S. adventure in Vietnam. However, for those not committed to a rigid ideology or theory, it is an entertaining read. Note to critics: The March of Folly is a work of history. As such, Ms. Tuchman does not put forward conspiracy theories, or advocate "solutions". Indeed, what solution could there be, except to scrap the human race and start over?

Feb 10, 2016

This book here wants to excuse world leaders for their wrongdoings by saying they were all "fools." Come on! Those were for the most part cunning guys, who had an agenda, and who did "stupid" things to reach their goals. There are some books in the libraries that tell the truth, only the crowd doesn't read them. In school we are taught some scarce facts only, without seeking the real motivations behind the events. They successfully fooled the students - a guy honestly said in an i-net debate that there are no guiding forces in the background, because History is just a "spontaneous" process. Ted Flynn in "Hope of the Wicked" tells (with photos too) that Japan was financed secretly for both world wars by American bankers. He also tells that Hitler was financed by international bankers in secret to help him make his "economic miracle" and become a national hero and make war. Now, what was the real purpose of the two World Wars? 1- Create the League of Nations; 2- Create the United Nations and also something else. Hitler was a British agent, that's what I conclude from various facts. There is a book in library: "Hitler Slept Late And Other Blunders That Cost Him The War." Well, he was a cunning guy, even Aldous Huxley said this, so he did those dumb moves on purpose. Why did he not invade England? Even the official history books say he could have done it easily at the beginning. He had surface vehicles built to "invade" but he did not. In the Blunders book mentioned there are 25 such dumb moves, but there were in fact more. Communism was created by the West by sending Lenin from England with British agents and Western money to take over Russia. Anthony Sutton writes that American soldiers guarded the Trans-Siberian (then Communist) railway in 1919 against Jap attacks. Germany did not lose WW1 - in fact they should have won after Russia jumped out of the war. But Kaiser Wilhelm the German Emperor was a cousin of King George of England, he said they lost and it had been decided in advance that Germany should lose. And came the "dumb" Wersailles Treaty to cripple Germany economically, and then those American Bankers secretly financed Hitler to help him make his "economic miracle" and he became a hero at home. Saddam Hussein was given "honorary citizenship" of the USA in 1980 and was "foolishly" armed by the West. Then he "turned on his friends?" Ted Flynn says Mao was chosen by the Americans for his wild Communist role. Now, why did England give asylum to Khomeini Ayatollah when the Shah expelled him? And then Khomeini was sent from England to make his revolution in Iran. This had a purpose, an agenda, which is still running. This author here is a Pulitzer Prize winner, and I found that prizes are given to those who distort the facts in favor of those who rule.

Feb 23, 2013

[Negative rating for lack of scholarship] Truly, for a so-called "historian," Tuchman embraces submediocrity! In Tuchman's fanciful world, or alternative universe, there are never any underlying agendas? Truly, a select group profited greatly from the Vietnam War (check LBJ's net worth before - - and after, and Brown Root's, Xerox, the major defense contractors, also!) and the banksters were all for it! Unless the financial and economic causes are examined, fluff "history" is just that - - FLUFF! Call a by-design plan for profit a "mistake" does an absolute injustice to all real historians, not fraudsters like Tuchman. Read Prof. Joseph Tainter, a social anthropoligist, for real history.


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