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Doomed to Repeat: The Lessons of History We've Failed to Learn Paperback – March 12, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

An engrossing and fact-filled compendium of timeless lessons we keep forgetting—over and over and over . . .

It is said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And so we have. Time and again humankind has overcome great turmoil only to ignore hard-earned wisdom at the very worst moment. Borrowing more from Groundhog Day than D-day, Bill Fawcett illuminates some of the predicaments, both infamous and obscure, that have vexed us for centuries—and just may explain many of today's global conflicts. Through fourteen chapters, Doomed to Repeat is chock-full of trivia, historical oddities, and fascinating insights into our most popular mistakes.

Learn about:

  • What really stops terrorists
  • How inflation and recession helped set the stage for the Nazis to take power
  • What really ended the Great Depression and whether it could work today
  • What history predicts for the final results of the Arab Spring
  • Swine flu, bird flu, and the chances of another worldwide plague

About the Author

Bill Fawcett is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, including You Did What?, It Seemed Like a Good Idea . . . , How to Lose a Battle, and You Said What? He lives in Illinois.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (March 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062069063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062069061
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,252,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In this interesting book, the author points out several situations where humans have failed to learn important lessons from history and, as a result, seem doomed to repeat some of the tragic errors that have occurred. The topics include Afghanistan (geography, politics, invasions), terrorism, language, socio-political issues in Africa, world plagues and a lot (over 50% of the book) on economics and finance. Although the chapters on this last topic each have a particular focus, each goes through a lot of the same material/events; consequently, there is a certain amount of repetition. However, I did not find that too distracting.

I have read a number of this author's books. I found them to be quite entertaining, especially due to his priceless tongue-in-cheek prose complemented by a careful choice of words to suit each situation. This made for pleasant light-hearted reading. This work, on the other hand, is serious - very serious - even scary at times. It is clear, accessible, lively and quite captivating. I believe that this book can be enjoyed by anyone; however, those with a special interest in history and economics will likely appreciate it the most.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book based on reading a few pages in the first chapter about Afghanistan -- this chapter is well constructed and provides several examples in history about why Afghanistan is so difficult to keep armed forces entrenched. Also, the chapters on Africa and Disease, based on history, follow a similar premise.

However, the chapters that involve anything with economics are thin and not well represented with deep economic reasoning, but the author's base knowledge of simple economics. I would have liked to see more chapters like those on Afghanistan, Africa and Disease.

The last chapter, comparing America and the Roman Empire, should be it's own book, with each argument being a chapter with detailed supporting evidence.

For Afghanistan alone, this is a good read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Surprisingly good book. Maybe a little outdated with regard to predictions (and certainly did not foresee the collapse of oil prices) but has an outstanding ending chapter comparing the United States to the Roman Empire. Well worth reading.

BTW for the author... it was Tesla not Edison that lit the Chicago World's Fair.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I thought this book was amazing! I'm NOT a history buff and too many details about history makes me lose interest. However, Bill Fawcett made ancient as well as contemporary history interesting, engaging and practical in this book. Doomed to Repeat tells the story of similar, if not identical, missteps that previous civilizations and/or leaders have taken and how, one could argue, the world (or sometimes, just the U.S.) is repeating or about to repeat those same darn mistakes again. It's frustrating to read, in a way, but quite necessary. I recommend this book to anyone who isn't a "history buff" and wants more narrative, intellectual summations and comparative analysis of history and modern times.
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