Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam Paperback – February 12, 1985
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“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 Publisher
Ballantine sales rep
Top Customer Reviews
The fault in this book is that this subject matter can be pretty exhausting even with the only 450 page book. The examples used are valid and make sense. The author finds something different within each one that allows us to see the many levels of government folly. However I found the chapters dealing with the six terrible popes to be mind-numbing. Perhaps it's due to the fact that this history is not examined extensively in current day curricula like the American Revolution and Vietnam, but I think this section was tedious and repetitive. Also, within the Vietnam chapters, Ms. Tuchman tends to reveal her adoration towards Kennedy--like many historians of her era--and her disdain of the Johnson and Nixon administrations. 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. Some may read these excerpts and label them as "liberal" but they are ignorant of history.Read more ›
Some reviewers have pointed out that this book may have been intented to viel a criticism of the US war in Vietnam. Whether that is the case or not, it seems evident that referring to the Vietnam war as folly is hardly controversial these days. True, her points may be relevant to the current Iraq war, but I think that the larger point that she is trying to make is that folly applies to many political and military conflicts between nations. If her comments apply to the Iraq war, could they not also apply to Serbia's Balkan wars, or Chechnya, or the UN's disjointed attempts at reining in North Korea or Iran? Her points and concerns raised through these case examples are worth considering in modern times throughout dozens of current conflicts worldwide.
All in all, this is an excellent book. fans of Tuchman or history in general will not be disappointed.
"The March of Folly" is her most direct message yet. In it, she describes the folly of government-defined as action against self-interest despite an overwhelming preponderance of evidence to act otherwise-and how it led to several notable disastrous events. Namely, the sack of Troy, the split of the Catholic See, the loss of the American colonies, and the policy of Vietnam.
But let's face it. Tuchman wrote this book with the Vietnam chapter in mind. Each chapter simply lays the groundwork for the material on Vietnam.
The chapter Trojan Horse provides us the groundwork, the mythic case of folly we are all familiar with, and the lasting image we carry as we consider Vietnam.
The Renaissance popes provides us an example of a self-perpetuating and stale system we can remember when thinking of a moribund Congress mindlessly voting appropriations for a war no one wanted. Consequently that same chapter gives us the image of a pope throwing lavish parties for which he hired prostitutes to crawl about on all fours, completely naked, picking up scattered chestnuts with their mouths-which might remind some of our own nation's zeal in its misuse of third-world nations-El Salvador, Iran, Panama, and Vietnam spring to mind-in Cold War play.Read more ›
One strength of the book is Tuchman's effort to define "folly" with a strict criteria and then compare events from history to that criteria. Basically she defines "folly" as the pursuit of policy against self-interest in the face of evidence contradicting the wisdom of the policy. Further, the "folly" must be counter-productive and the decision of a group rather than an individual. The "folly" must continue despite dissenting voices and articulated options or alternatives.
The chapters on the Renaissance Popes was very entertaining and decadent. Tuchman takes the reader through the papacy of Sixtus IV (from the powerful della Rovera family)who expanded the college of Cardinals to meet his policitical ends; Innocent VII who indulged his son and promoted the rise of the Borgia and Di Medici families in the papal court; Alexander VI who would have to be considered as the worst pope in history due to his total conversion of his religious office into a secular worldly power; Julius II (another della Rovera) who was a warrior pope and the patron of Michaelangelo; Leo X (a di Medici) who used the papacy for indulgence and gain of his Florentine family; and Clement VII who became the virtual prisoner of Emperor Charles V after the invasion and conquest of Rome.
The story of these 6 popes is a wild tale full of murder, treachery, theft, bribery, sexual depravity, and power politics. In short, the Papacy had become a secular state during this period and Realpolitic was the driving philosophy rather than a church concerned with Christianity.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
'A fascinating look at the follies of mankind regarding conflict and wars. As I read the book I regretted that Ms. Read morePublished 26 days ago by johnn
A must read on the making of good government, that can also aply to individuals life's: the aversiom of cognitive regidiy.Published 1 month ago by jpvbm
Not only a panorama of history but an exciting presentation of why we expect our leaders to be better at judgement than ourselves. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
The prose is beautifully crafted, spiced with a wide spectrum of appropriate quotes.
Furthermore, the author has interesting perspectives of past events, including the bearing... Read more
A excellent book to be read for the politician of all the world, about the folly of the majority of politicianPublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Though dated, well worth the read. Still usefully insightful about why government's keep screwing up.Published 4 months ago by Martin P Adams