Twice a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, author Barbara Tuchman now tackles the pervasive presence of folly in governments thru 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 Renaissance Popes, the loss of the American colonies by Britain s George III the USA s persistent folly in Vietnam THE MARCH OF FOLLY brings the people, places events of history alive for today s reader


10 thoughts on “The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam

  1. Stephen Stephen says:

    Babs is one crafty, talented instructor and this ranks highly among the BEST history books I ve had the pleasure of reading You should be reading it right now Seriously, I mean it This is the second gem by Barbara Tuchman that I ve tackled, after the stellar The Guns of August , and the impressiveness of her work has led to my developing rather intense, and possibly inappropriate, feelings for her I m smitten You see, Babs writes history in such a colorful, engaging manner that you don t no Babs is one crafty, talented instructor and this ranks highly among the BEST history books I ve had the pleasure of reading You should be reading it right now Seriously, I mean it This is the second gem by Barbara Tuchman that I ve tackled, after the stellar The Guns of August , and the impressiveness of her work has led to my developing rather intense, and possibly inappropriate, feelings for her I m smitten You see, Babs writes history in such a colorful, engaging manner that you don t notice she s shoveling mounds of knowledge into your memory muscle You re so interested that you just glide along the pages, absorbed in her narrative web, while she s filling your brain with smarts It s downright spooky Honestly, how often can you truly say that you ve overdosed on happy reading a history book Yes, she s that good PLOT SUMMARYTo qualify as folly for this book, Tuchman explains that actions need to meet all four of the following criteria 1. The actions must be clearly contrary to the self interest of the organization or group pursuing them 2. The actions must be conducted over a period of time, not just in a single burst of irrational behavior 3. The actions must be conducted by a number of individuals, not just one deranged maniac and 4. MOST IMPORTANTLY, there must have been a significant group who at the time pointed out, correctly, why the action in question was folly i.e., no Monday morning quarterbacking or 20 20 hindsight Tuchman spends some pages at the beginning of the book describing a number of bonehead and assclowny decisions in history that didn t qualify as folly, either because they were a single instance of governmental psychosis, or because they were carried out at the command of a dictator and not a coordinated governmental policy Based on the above criteria, Babs looks at four primary examples of FUBAR folly in history The Fall of Troy The loss of Troy as a result of the Trojans failure to question the deployment of the Trojan Horse by the Greeks While interesting, this for me was easily the weakest part of the book, mainly because there is just not enough historical knowledge on the subject for Tuchman to analyze convincingly She managed to keep me engaged with her stylish delivery, but I think this segment was likely included in order to have the book span a larger swatch of world history The Renaissance Popes and the Protestant Reformation The reign of the Renaissance Popes and how their excesses, and their failure to recognize the growing discontent among the Church members, led directly to the Protestant Reformation I loved this section and it was easily my favorite of the whole book After finishing this portion, I immediately went about trying to locate other books on the period It was a fascinating time Now if I can only get Babs to re write these other books to make theminteresting How the Britsh lost the American colonies Another superb section of the book What I found most interesting about this discussion of the major events that led up the American Revolution is that Tuchman spent most of her time looking through the eyes of the British, in contrast to peering through the eyes of the American colonist, which is thecommon perspective used in studies of this period Despite my general familiarity with this period, I found this to be very enlightening The failure of America in Vietnam A terrific end to an amazing survey of history My only quibble here is that I think Tuchman s objectivity may have slipped away to make a sandwich or take a nap because you can readily see that she was strongly against the war Nothing wrong with that, but I prefer not to be able to read historian s personal views in the work Still, her analysis is excellent, well supported, and she lays out the history in a very engaging manner Overall, this is as good as histories get Engaging, informative and wonderfully delivered I would call this a must for history fans or fans of military history 6.0 stars HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION


  2. Riku Sayuj Riku Sayuj says:

    I thought The March of Folly would be a good read to balance out the optimism of The Wisdom of Crowds Turned out to be a great hunch.Why Indeed, Tuchman s book does in fact emphasize that very optimism Tuchman s Follies are committed not by the common people but by closeted leaders, lacking in common sense and cut off from ground realities Do I need to mention the Yes Men that surround them Tuchman takes up a panoramic view of human history and exposes these decisions, and wonders with us I thought The March of Folly would be a good read to balance out the optimism of The Wisdom of Crowds Turned out to be a great hunch.Why Indeed, Tuchman s book does in fact emphasize that very optimism Tuchman s Follies are committed not by the common people but by closeted leaders, lacking in common sense and cut off from ground realities Do I need to mention the Yes Men that surround them Tuchman takes up a panoramic view of human history and exposes these decisions, and wonders with us how much Folly it took to make these disastrous calls Surely common sense would not have allowed these Given the scope of this exercise, Tuchman has limited herself to the most famous historical examples of these foolish decisions, ranging from the Trojans bringing the Trojan horse into their walls, and the Renaissance popes provoking the Protestant succession, to the German decision to adopt unrestricted submarine warfare in World War I thereby triggering America s declaration of war , and Japan s Pearl Harbor attack that similarly triggered America s declaration of war in 1941 But we can extrapolate them into any number of follies that we are familiar with in our own countries and see how leaders make the stupid mistakes over and over again, and incomprehensible mistakes at that.This irrationality is what astounds us when we look back on these gross errors of judgment and Tuchman is especially scathing in dealing with the leaders who make such choicesPersistence in error, wooden headedness, refusal to draw inference from negative signs, and mental stagnationare a few choice examples.This should make us conclude that the main message of the book, and of history, is one of Tolstoy ian embrace of the Wisdom of the Masses It is quite a powerful argument and one we would dearly love to embrace it gives us the possibility of a future where we can side step such follies, by avoiding these very decision making practices And that is very very important too.However, I think there is oneangle to be considered here.Consider Tuchman s emphatic statementChief among the forces affecting political folly is lust for power, named by Tacitus as the most flagrant of all passionsThis however, introduces another aspect to the folly we address It is possible that these leaders were in fact trapped in a competitive spiral any leader who did not pursue these follies would have been scorned and lost his job precisely because those were widely held to be the correct things to do This sort of decision making is in fact quite common leaders always follow the popular wisdom and usually it turns out to be right But there are times in history when this normal course of action fails.There are times when the circumstances are too inter dependent or too much at the edge of the cliff that no one, not even common sense, could have anticipated the fall that was coming by taking the steps that should have been matter of course at any other point These are the points when good practices suddenly seem like Follies.This is why we have to consider the possibility that these were not just follies arising from the closeted and exclusive nature of these leaders, but from a confluence of pressures that left them little wiggle room and most importantly, that this isor less always the case with leaders their decisions are not always their own Just as in the modern business world where the financial sector, market signals and impulses make business leaders slaves to the quarterly bottom lines, irrespective of whether that bottom line is congruent with a company s, let alone society s, longer term well being.So the March of Folly could well be as unstoppable as it sounds to those leaders as well, especially in the short term when history rushed in on them.This is not of course to say that these leaders were not culpable for their decisions, or even, god forbid, to excuse their stupid advisors and Yes Men It is however dangerous to assume the other extreme position that if only common sense prevailed, much evil could have been avoided No That sort of thinking only allows us to make the same mistakes again, precisely because common sense would allow it


  3. WILLIAM2 WILLIAM2 says:

    A highly readable account of four instances of human folly over the last 2800 years These include the Trojans s unaccountable bringing of the Trojan horse into Troy the transgressions of the Renaissance Popes which brought on the Reformation the loss by Britain of the American colonies and America s own pointless war in Vietnam The last section reminds me very much of Neil Sheehan s A Bright Shining Lie, which was written several years later than Tuchman s narrative Her book is vivid, clea A highly readable account of four instances of human folly over the last 2800 years These include the Trojans s unaccountable bringing of the Trojan horse into Troy the transgressions of the Renaissance Popes which brought on the Reformation the loss by Britain of the American colonies and America s own pointless war in Vietnam The last section reminds me very much of Neil Sheehan s A Bright Shining Lie, which was written several years later than Tuchman s narrative Her book is vivid, clear, unfussy, with just the right density of diction It never flags Highly recommended


  4. Dana Stabenow Dana Stabenow says:

    A book which informed my entire world view, and still does Tuchman posits the existance of folly, or the pursuit of public policy contrary to self interest in other words, why nations keep shooting themselves in the foot She uses the Trojans taking the Greek horse inside the walls of Troy as her template the feasible alternative that of destroying the Horse is always open Capys the Elder advised it before Laocoon s warning, and Cassandra afterward Notwithstanding the frequent referencesA book which informed my entire world view, and still does Tuchman posits the existance of folly, or the pursuit of public policy contrary to self interest in other words, why nations keep shooting themselves in the foot She uses the Trojans taking the Greek horse inside the walls of Troy as her template the feasible alternative that of destroying the Horse is always open Capys the Elder advised it before Laocoon s warning, and Cassandra afterward Notwithstanding the frequent references in the epic to the fall of Troy being ordained, it was not fate but free choice that took the Horse within the walls Fate as a character in legend represents the fulfillment of man s expectations of himself.and then goes on to talk about how the Renaissance popes caused the Reformation Their three outstanding attitudes obliviousness to the growing disaffection of constituents, primacy of self aggrandizement, illusion of invulnerable status are persistent aspects of folly While in the case of the Renaissance popes, these were bred in and exaggerated by the surrounding culture, all are independent of time and recurrent in governorship.how the British lost America One cannot escape the impression that the level of British intelligence and competence in both civil and military positions in the period 1763 1783 was, on the whole, though not in every case, low Whether that was bad luck or was owing to the almost exclusive hold of the ultraprivileged on decision making positions is not clear beyond question The underprivileged and the middle class often do no better What is clear is that when incapacity is joined by complacency, the result is the worst possible combination.Everyone in the current US Congress is a millionaire Why would these people vote against their own self interest now They re the new British ruling class, and they re as oblivious as the British ruling class and the Renaissance popes were to what was actually going on around them.Lastly, Tuchman writes how the US lost in Vietnam The longest war had come to an endA contemporary summing up was voiced by a Congressman from Michigan, Donald Riegle In talking to a couple from his constituency who had lost a son in Vietnam, he faced the stark recognition that he could find no words to justify the boy s death There was no way I could say that what had happened was in their interest or in the national interest or in anyone s interest.One can only imagine the new bodily orifice Tuchman would have ripped over Iraq and Afghanistan Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it only begins to cover it.A lively, engaging prose style withthan a hint of Lord, what fools these mortals be It might be time to reread this book, but then I think it always is


  5. Erik Graff Erik Graff says:

    Tuchman s The March of Folly is spotty First of all, too much attention is paid to Troy, about which nothing is known, historically speaking All that section does is provide a simile or two for what follows Also, she actually is stronger in another classical case not mentioned in the title or in most descriptions of the book, viz that of King Rehoboam of Israel Second, the account of the involvements of France and the United States in VietNam is of a journalistic quality not in keeping with Tuchman s The March of Folly is spotty First of all, too much attention is paid to Troy, about which nothing is known, historically speaking All that section does is provide a simile or two for what follows Also, she actually is stronger in another classical case not mentioned in the title or in most descriptions of the book, viz that of King Rehoboam of Israel Second, the account of the involvements of France and the United States in VietNam is of a journalistic quality not in keeping with the rest of the book, though it may well have been her motive for writing it I appreciated the refresher course, but it does not have the historical character of her two best studies, viz that of those Renaissance popes who precipitated the Protestant Reformation and that of the British government which lost most of the American colonies On the Renaissance popes I appreciated the clear survey of ineptitute as the period is not well known to me On the Americas I appreciated the overview of the revolution as she worked so much from the position of England, rather than from the wearisomely familiar perspective of the colonists


  6. Brian Brian says:

    About 8 years ago when I read this book I would have given it 4 stars It gets a 5 today simply because it is muchpertinent to read it now Barbara Tuchman is one of the great writers of history She remembers the first rule of history Tell a story In this one she tells several and keeps your attention better The theme is imaginative and appropriate It is also not a very long book so you can easily read it in a week Barbara Tuchman has a way of viewing history as few can Instead of f About 8 years ago when I read this book I would have given it 4 stars It gets a 5 today simply because it is muchpertinent to read it now Barbara Tuchman is one of the great writers of history She remembers the first rule of history Tell a story In this one she tells several and keeps your attention better The theme is imaginative and appropriate It is also not a very long book so you can easily read it in a week Barbara Tuchman has a way of viewing history as few can Instead of falling back on just telling of a story, Tuchman does what few historians are able to pull off without sounding self rightious She gives us a comentary Kind of like the color man while listening to a sporting event, Tuchman examines the idea of folly, or the persistent pursuit of a policy by government or those in power that is contradictory to their own interests Since a topic like this could take volumes, the author chooses 4 primary historical examples the Fall of Troy, the breakup of of the Holy See in the 16th century, the British monarchy s vain attempt to keep the American colonies, and America s own arrogant persistence during the Vietnam War The fault in this book is that this subject matter can be pretty exhausting even with the only 450 page book The examples used are valid and make sense The author finds something different within each one that allows us to see the many levels of government folly However I found the chapters dealing with the six terrible popes to be mind numbing Perhaps it s due to the fact that this history is not examined extensively in current day curricula like the American Revolution and Vietnam, but I think this section was tedious and repetitive Also, within the Vietnam chapters, Ms Tuchman tends to reveal her adoration towards Kennedy like many historians of her era and her disdain of the Johnson and Nixon administrations This can distort her objective examination of the topic in some areas, but if it is noticed and ignored, the rest of the study is outstanding Some may read these excerpts and label them as liberal but they are ignorant of history In any event the book is an excellent supplement to studying Machiavellian politics The governments wood headedness towards policy that is counter to anything rational as well as contrary to respected voices of reason is something that all ordinary members and voters of a democratic society ought to take heed of The example of Troy is used simply as an example of how Homer and the Greeks had foreseen and probably experienced, the lack of reason when pursuing particular policy This is usually done because those in power are so consumed by power and what it brings, that their arrogance and ignorance blinds them Without carrying this review too far into the book s wonderful and biting commentary, I will just say that this book is recommended, but not for those that have no real experience with intellectual historical study Some areas will be interesting, such as the Vietnam chapters, but otherwise the book would dull the amateur historian But if you do wish to challenge yourself and your understanding of how power corrupts and destroys after it corrupts, then March of Folly will be admired All politicians should be forced to read this book Kind of like a supplement instructional manual for their jobpaid for by taxpayers Within 100 years, they might actaully learn something


  7. Russell Bittner Russell Bittner says:

    The March of Folly is an unfortunate title Or maybe not so unfortunate Because, after all, what is folly Barbara Tuchman gives us several examples of the human animal at its worst but parading at its best From Ancient Troy right up through Vietnam can a sequel including Chechnia, the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan be far behind , we have proved ourselves to be little better than the apes If there s a difference, it s only in the splendor of our rebarbative behavior Kings, The March of Folly is an unfortunate title Or maybe not so unfortunate Because, after all, what is folly Barbara Tuchman gives us several examples of the human animal at its worst but parading at its best From Ancient Troy right up through Vietnam can a sequel including Chechnia, the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan be far behind , we have proved ourselves to be little better than the apes If there s a difference, it s only in the splendor of our rebarbative behavior Kings, Popes, Ministers, Generals it s all the same And the tragedy Invariably, the loss of so many young lives to no real purpose other than to serve the interests of ambition, pride, ignorance, stubbornness in short, of vanity Yes, vanitas, vanitatis. It s all right there in Ecclesiastes, and not much has changed We are a prideful, belligerent, deceitful, artful, malignant, umbragious a word I learned in reading this book species In short, we re prone to folly And who pays the ultimate price of that folly Our youth I cannot remember being so disheartened by a book since I read, at a young and impressionable age, A History of Torture orrecently, Martha Gellhorn s The Face of War. If you want to continue believing that all is best in the best of all possible worlds, don t read this book If you want to continue believing that we are governed by people who know what s best for us, don t read this book If you want to believe that the march of history is inevitable, don t read this book Ignore my suggestions at your own risk But if you don t, be prepared to undertake a life of activism and don t expect it to be a happy life To buck folly is to question our very essence And our essence would appear if Ms Tuchman s major premise is to be believed to be tragically farcical That, or farcically tragic The case of the former President Lyndon B Johnson in one of this book s final chapters could easily rival that of Shakespeare s King Lear.RRB07 19 13Brooklyn, NY


  8. Owen Owen says:

    Barbara Tuchman is a first rate writer and historian whose books I have much enjoyed For some years now I have been meaning to get a copy of The March of Folly, since it is a book which greatly appeals to me in its concept To look at the history of modern man since about 1,000 BC and take examples of real foolishness on the part of a number of key governments, and try to see why they so acted, strikes me as a wonderful idea for a book However, I can now say, somewhat reluctantly, that Th Barbara Tuchman is a first rate writer and historian whose books I have much enjoyed For some years now I have been meaning to get a copy of The March of Folly, since it is a book which greatly appeals to me in its concept To look at the history of modern man since about 1,000 BC and take examples of real foolishness on the part of a number of key governments, and try to see why they so acted, strikes me as a wonderful idea for a book However, I can now say, somewhat reluctantly, that The March of Folly is not up to the standard of Tuchman s earlier books I find this curious indeed and have been wondering for some time why it is so.Firstly, the writing is not up to par and I can only put this down to sloppy editing Some of the oddest phrases in the book are so un Tuchman like, that I imagine they have been written by a researcher and, for whatever reason, have managed to sneak by both the author and her editors Tuchman is usually crisp and succinct Some of this text is laborious and redundant it s most surprising Perhaps this first fault leads to the second, although not entirely In The Guns of August and The Proud Tower, Tuchman seems to be in very complete command of both her history and her sources In The March of Folly, one begins to wonder if she has not strayed too far afield and is rather unsure of her ground So it appears to me, especially with reference to the beginning of the book, where she discusses both the siege of Troy and then the Papacy during the Renaissance, when she seems very shaky indeed Or it may be that this apparent instability is founded on limited research and that that has been allowed to come through in the book Whatever the reason, I find that the book does not live up to its promise, either conceptually or authorially.The sections on the American Revolution and the Vietnam War are interesting in themselves, but one wonders at times, given the detail involved in both cases, if Tuchman is not actually off the rails The fact that there is no stated plan at the beginning of the book chapters and sub headings and synopses, I mean makes me wonder indeed, just how much of a plan she had So I think you can read this book for its individual content i.e., if you happen to be interested in the particular periods covered , but the disappointment overall is that the really first rate text that one might have expected, does not materialise I will say that the essay at the end is very Tuchmanesque and is a brave attempt, quand m me, to tie the threads of the book together Yet I m unsure of just how far she can get away with a text that smacks so readily of invention and understudy, and in my opinion, the epilogue is hardly sufficient, by itself, to save the whole I suppose it is just possible that she and I both got carried away by the title


  9. Michael Austin Michael Austin says:

    The March of Folly is Barbara Tuchman, a top flight historian, at her best It is also history at its best And it is people at their worst.In nearly all of her books, Tuchman goes well beyond sterile descriptions, facts, and timelines to get to the heart of what happened and why In The March of Folly, she does not propose to examine a specific historical event or time period Rather, she examines an underlying cause of many historical events, which is that people are stupid In her introductio The March of Folly is Barbara Tuchman, a top flight historian, at her best It is also history at its best And it is people at their worst.In nearly all of her books, Tuchman goes well beyond sterile descriptions, facts, and timelines to get to the heart of what happened and why In The March of Folly, she does not propose to examine a specific historical event or time period Rather, she examines an underlying cause of many historical events, which is that people are stupid In her introduction the most valuable part of the book she proposes a technical definition of folly and applies it to a full range of historical and mythological situations the Trojans bringing in the Greek horse, Rehoboam raising taxes and splitting the Davidic Kingdom, Athens Sicilian Expedition during the Peloponnesian War, the French and English stumbling into World War I, the Germans stumbling in to World War I, the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor, and lots of others.These situations constituted folly because they met the three criteria that Tuchman proposes 1 They were against the interest of those who pursued them.2 They were understood at the time, at least by some, to be against the interest of those who pursued them.3 There were better alternatives available that were known and actively rejected.The march of folly, then, is something like a slow motion car wreck that could have been avoided, and that everybody saw coming, but that occurred anyway because one or both parties were locked into a course and lacked the will, but not the opportunity, to alter it.The bulk of the book consists of fairly extensive analyses of three clear examples of folly in action the Renaissance popes who failed to prevent the Protestant Reformation by persisting in depravity and extravagance long after it was clear that such behavior would not be tolerated by the nations of Europe the arrogant British Empire that lost the American colonies by failing to realize that they could not use military force to compel obedience to people thousands of miles away who were fighting for their freedom and the arrogant American nation that betrayed its own values and lost the respect of the world by failing to learn the lesson that they taught the British 200 years earlier.Each of the case studies is fascinating in its own right, but Tuchman wisely does not delve deeper than she needs to for the argument she is making All three of them are the subject of much longer anddetailed histories, and her point in the book is not to uncover history, but to understand it She structures the three supporting narratives with as much parallelism as possible to distill the elements that they have in common These elements can be considered the essential ingredients of folly She does not list them as such, but these are the elements that I found most instructive and, given our own age, 35 years after the book was published, most frightening First, in all three situations, the actors exhibited a sort of magical thinking about their own role in the universe The Popes imagined that, no matter how flagrantly they flouted their offices, they were still chosen, and protected, by God The British saw themselves as inherently superior to the colonists by virtue of their culture and their status as a global superpower and the Americans held then, as many do now, a view of themselves as an exceptional, indispensable nation None of them seriously thought that they could lose.Further, each of the powers had adopted a world view that was tragically incomplete, and they all fundamentally lacked the ability to understand other viewpoints This attribute occurs in all three case studies, but it does so in different ways The Popes saw the world largely through the lens of Italian politics, which were brutal, complicated, and all consuming They had their own wars with each other and, from time to time, with France and Spain But they just didn t pay much attention to places like Germany, Sweden, and England, and they didn t understand how their actions were perceived The British were locked into a class based view of the world, and they kept promoting inept peers and their inepter sons to important positions on the grounds that commoners could not be good at government or war And because everybody in America was a commoner, they couldn t imagine being defeated by them And the Americans were so locked into a bi polar view of the world in which everybody was a communist or a lover of freedom Their world view did not permit them to understand that the Vietnamese were interested in self rule and did not care whether it came in the name of Karl Marx or Adam Smith.In each case study too, the personal and political interests of the key decision makers were not well aligned with the interests of the state During the build up to Vietnam, for example, both Eisenhower and Kennedy had a strong political incentive to demonstrate their hatred of Communism And the British ministers served at the pleasure of George III, who was both a doofus and a committed aristocrat Taking a pro Colonist position was the fastest way to unemployment.And finally, and perhaps most tragically, the key players in all three scenarios succumbed to the rhetorical force of their own propaganda Reform would destroy the Church, losing America would be the end of the British Empire, losing Vietnam would give the world to the Soviets These arguments were initially advanced to further other policy goals, but, in time, they became incontrovertible doctrines that propelled people to continue a course of action for years and in some cases decades after it became apparent that the cause was hopeless and the consequences were not as dire as everyone believed.It is true, of course, and Tuchman acknowledges it from the start, that it is easy to see folly in hindsight But this is something that her initial assumptions control for, as an action cannot be considered folly unless there were people at the time saying exactly what people said afterwords And this is why we should pay a lot of attention to her ingredient list today, as, in 2020, the United States and much of the world has all the ingredients in place magical thinking, uncritical propaganda, a very poor understanding of what really is in our nation s interest, and a venial doofus in a position of great power who will fire anybody who says what he doesn t want to hear


  10. Jennifer Jennifer says:

    When I was in the 4th grade I found a book that my Mom had to read for college in the back of a cupboard That book was Barbara W Tuchman s A Distant Mirror , and I do believe that is what led me to all the other history books I ve enjoyed in the years since The March of Folly is a study of, in the authors words, pursuit of policy contrary to self interest, with four main examples The Trojan horse, The Renaissance popes, the British loss of America, and America in Vietnam I particularly When I was in the 4th grade I found a book that my Mom had to read for college in the back of a cupboard That book was Barbara W Tuchman s A Distant Mirror , and I do believe that is what led me to all the other history books I ve enjoyed in the years since The March of Folly is a study of, in the authors words, pursuit of policy contrary to self interest, with four main examples The Trojan horse, The Renaissance popes, the British loss of America, and America in Vietnam I particularly enjoyed the Vietnam section, as I ve really never read anything about it before I didn t realize what a long and twisty road it was that led to the actual fighting, but this book explains everything very well, and in detail, but never in a boring way It s just amazing, the utter blindness and stupidity of some of the people in high places, from way, way back, up to the present time