Friday, February 13, 2009


Barbara Tuchman is a wonder.

She won a Pulitzer for The Guns of August, the lead up and the first disastrous month of WWI, and was overwhelming in A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century when she detailed a century though the life of a French/English nobleman.

In The March of Folly, she further solidifies her case for Folly and "woodenheadedness" on the part of political leaders with four significant examples: The foolish generals of the Trojan war; The mismanagement of the church by the Renaissance popes; how the British government bungled the American Revolution; and, her main example, the French and American short-sighted decisions which prolonged and deepened the Vietnam war.

This book should be required reading for every high school senior. I do not remember it even being mentioned in high school or college. I have a totally new perspective on the Vietnam war and the waste of lives and devastation of countries it caused.

The comparisons to the Vietnam war by modern commentators may not always be fair, but the need for basic transparency in government begs the comparison. The participants and locations change, but when leaders make decisions in a bubble, millions suffer.

It should be required reading for every informed voter.

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