The March of Folly: From Troy To Vietnam

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The March of Folly: From Troy To Vietnam

by Barbara W. Tuchman

Random House Publishing Group | February 12, 1985 | Trade Paperback

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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

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 528 pages, 8.18 × 5.5 × 1.2 in

Published: February 12, 1985

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345308239

ISBN - 13: 9780345308238

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– More About This Product –

The March of Folly: From Troy To Vietnam

by Barbara W. Tuchman

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 528 pages, 8.18 × 5.5 × 1.2 in

Published: February 12, 1985

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345308239

ISBN - 13: 9780345308238

Read from the Book

Chapter One Pursuit of Policy Contrary to Self-­Interest A phenomenon noticeable throughout history regardless of place or period is the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests. Mankind, it seems, makes a poorer performance of government than of almost any other human activity. In this sphere, wisdom, which may be defined as the exercise of judgment acting on experience, common sense and available information, is less operative and more frustrated than it should be. Why do holders of high office so often act contrary to the way reason points and enlightened self-­interest suggests? Why does intelligent mental process seem so often not to function? Why, to begin at the beginning, did the Trojan rulers drag that suspicious-­looking wooden horse inside their walls despite every reason to suspect a Greek trick? Why did successive ministries of George III insist on coercing rather than conciliating the American colonies though repeatedly advised by many counselors that the harm done must be greater than any possible gain? Why did Charles XII and Napoleon and successively Hitler invade Russia despite the disasters incurred by each predecessor? Why did Montezuma, master of fierce and eager armies and of a city of 300,000, succumb passively to a party of several hundred alien invaders even after they had shown themselves all too obviously human beings, not gods? Why did Chiang Kai-­shek refuse to heed any voice of reform or alarm until he wo
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From the Publisher

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

From the Jacket

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.

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.

Editorial Reviews

"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
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