The March of Folly

  • by Barbara W. Tuchman
  • Narrated by Wanda McCaddon
  • 17 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In The March of Folly, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning historian Barbara Tuchman tackles the pervasive presence of folly in governments through the ages. Defining folly as the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests, 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 listener.

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What the Critics Say

"Among contemporary historians, Barbara Tuchman stands supreme." (Times of London)
"Admirers of her earlier works will find Barbara Tuchman's familiar virtues on display. She is lucid, painstaking and highly intelligent. She is also highly expert." (Sunday Times, London)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

No stone left unturned

First, the narrator is marvelous! I think it was Wanda McCaddon read 'Four Days in Naples' also. Her cultured voice catches Tuchman's impish humor and ironic twists with appropriate cadence and emphasis every time. Quite a skill.

Back to the Book. Tuchman fans rarely seek precis: the goes author delves into immense detail; no issue is left untouched by her sense of chronological context; her ability to describe a character comprehesively in no more than one or two phrases; a mildly irreverent sense of humor that adds a frequent light touch to serious research; her incisive judgment in final retrospect. All such components are vital in an appreciation of this fine writer's skill in helping us make sense of history. I have read 'The First Salute', 'The Guns of August' and this book. I must read more by her
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- peter

interesting conception, uninteresting execution.

I have to admit, Tuchman is one of my favourite historians and thus this book from her comes as a disappointment. The title suggested, a comprehensive history of folly committed by governments everywhere and of all times, but what we got is thematically divided episodes with superficial analysis on each theme. The theme was unequally distributed, one would think Renaissance papacy (a few hundred years in scope) would deserve more space than Vietnam War (20 years from French phase) but Vietnam War comprised one and half of the book, making Spanish conquest, War of Independent and Papal Monarchy de facto salad dressing.

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- Chi-Hung

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-19-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.