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The March of Folly

The March of Folly

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Written by Barbara W. TuchmanAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Barbara W. Tuchman

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 528 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
  • On Sale: February 12, 1985
  • Price: $18.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-345-30823-8 (0-345-30823-9)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

In March of Folly Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman explores a phenomenon she calls "folly in government...the pursuit of policy contrary to the governing body's interest." Drawing on a comprehensive array of examples, from Montezuma's senseless surrender of his empire in 1520 to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, Tuchman defines folly as the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests, despite the availability of feasible alternatives.

Tuchman goes on to illuminate in brilliant detail 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 U.S.'s own persistent folly in Vietnam.

"The March of Folly is, at one level, a glittering narrative of...major events...At another, it is a moral essay on the crimes and follies of governments and the misfortunes the governed suffered in consequence."—The New York Times Book Review