Barbara Tuchman's March of Folly Term Paper

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¶ … Barbara Tuchman's March of Folly and the movie Fog of War provide different historical lenses with which to view contemporary problems and issues. The writer explores each of the projects and shares reactions to them.

There is an age old saying that history repeats itself. It means different things to different people but the simple definition is that things that happened before will surely happen again, it is only a matter of time. It is important to learn from the past so that society can avoid making the same mistakes in the future and one of the ways that this can be avoided is to understand contemporary issues and how they impact the world. In Barbara Tuchman's March of Folly and the movie Fog of War one can get a sense of contemporary problems as well as the importance of understanding history in the effort to avoid repeating mistakes.

In March of Folly the author provides an insight to the importance of understanding the past as she reviews the historical events as they relate to government follies. The American public has been critical of current government for many years and Tuchman brings to light the fact that governments without criticism are often governments out of control.

Tuchman brings home the fact that a government folly is a governmental pursuit of something that is not in its own best interest.

The book goes into detail with regard to four major events in history, including the Trojan War, the American Revolution, the loss of American Colonies and the persistence of America with regards to the Vietnam Conflict.

When I read this book I felt a sense of longing to return to the moral values that have always been portrayed in the world of Norman Rockwell. Tuchman provides a clear window to past stupidities by governments, and uses those follies to unveil the weakness of mankind in the support of those governments as well.

While some people may read the book and decide Tuchman used the first few chapters to lay the groundwork for her real passion, the discussion about the Vietnam War, I realized that what she was actually doing was proving the saying "history repeats itself." Even though each of the events she discusses in the book happen in different parts of the world at different times in history, they all indicate and evidence that governments can pursue something even against significant evidence that to pursue this particular goal is not in the best interest of the government itself nor the people that government is supposed to represent.

We have seen Congress vote for wars that nobody wanted, and in the book the Renaissance chapter shows the reader how long ago that first began to happen.

The images the author provides of a Pope hiring prostitutes and having wild parties can be likened to many of the current attitudes the government has about using third world nations.

When I got to the chapter about the American colonies I was struck by the similarity I saw in the English government then and the United States government during the 1950's.

It is rare for me to read a book and after I put it down I still think about its implications in current society, but Tuchman touched a nerve in me with her streamlined views about government folly.

A clearly remember being younger and watching current events on television and when they were over with or the government finally changed its course of action I thought to myself, "Thank God that is over." Once I read this book however, I realized that it is never truly over. History will repeat itself and it causes me to worry about future generations. As the world becomes more technically advanced the ability to do great harm grows. If the governments continue to pursue goals that are not in their own best interests, or hide those goals under the guise of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Term Paper:

APA Format

Barbara Tuchman's March of Folly.  (2007, April 24).  Retrieved December 12, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Barbara Tuchman's March of Folly."  24 April 2007.  Web.  12 December 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Barbara Tuchman's March of Folly."  April 24, 2007.  Accessed December 12, 2019.