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.


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

Tuchman surprises me...

This is the third book I have read by Ms. Tuchman (The Proud Tower, Guns of August, and Distant Mirror) I have enjoyed all of them. The audio reader is excellent and makes the book quite easy to listen to.

In the earlier books I found a very palatable approach to the writing of history. The nuances and depth that Ms. Tuchman adds is quite fascinating. I have kept coming back for more. When this book was released I ordered it immediately.

The first two thirds of this particular book did not disappoint. However the last third covering the US involvement in the Indochina/Vietname seemed to me to have a different tone. I found myself hearing a more judgmental, condescending tone to her analysis. Is it possible that due to the historical proximity of the events portrayed that she was unable to write in a more neutral tone?

I will not abandon Ms. Tuchman for this effort, but I will stick to areas where she is less likely to have a temporal bias.
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- T. F. Plona "Plimtuna"

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.