BOOKS: THE TYRANNY OF STUPIDITY

A BRILLIANT RETELLING OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION IS BOUND TO ANTAGONIZE MONARCHISTS AND MARXISTS

In a mood of high exasperation some years ago, after a life spent trying to explain human history, Barbara Tuchman wrote a book whose thesis was that the nearly invariable tendency of leaders and governments is to choose courses of action that are demonstrably idiotic. Her ringing title, The March of Folly, is almost too widely useful (it could serve as the motto of the U.S. Congress or the name of a newsmagazine), but what it fits best in recent experience, so that it should be inked in as a subtitle, is a brilliant and appalling new history of the Russian...

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