Aaron's Reviews > The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam

The March of Folly by Barbara W. Tuchman
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's review
Nov 15, 2012

really liked it

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 20-30 from that section and tighten it up a bit, although I attribute the boredom more to the tedious reality of the argument (repeated similar debates in Parliament) than her skill as a writer.
American involvement in Vietnam is the subject of the final portion, and it is a wonderfully streamlined overview of the war’s political side while doing a hell of a job of arguing Tuchman’s thesis. This fine book should have become a match strike in causing widespread opposition to folly, and her use of the word should be utilized daily in popular discussion. It’s a real shit stain on this world that the nature of politics nearly eliminates the possibility of political parties examining themselves and their policies as it might damage “the team” to change course on a subject and appear weak.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Daniel (new)

Daniel I need more Tuchman in my life.

Aaron Marlene is reading "Distant Mirror" right now and loving it.

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