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Barbara Tuchman Quotation Why was Julius Caesar assassinated in 44 BCby his best friend yet Why did the Roman Empire crumble in the 5th century ADhistorians are still puzzled by that disaster Why did William of Normandy attack England in 1066 ADthe date every school boy should know The stars positions moon phases and especially divine influences according to the ancients were without a doubt responsible for such assassinations collapsed kingdoms and invasions Certainly eclipses too were assigned enormous influence over political disasters Ultimately of course thinking became much more sophisticated but new explanations were still simplisticHitler did not cause World War II all by himself Uncle Toms Cabin couldnt possibly be the only cause of the Civil War and the Catholic Church was not solely responsible for The Crusades The noted contemporary historian Barbara Tuchman on the other hand takes a psychologicalsociological approach to assigning causes for national and international failures such as the recent Russian economic collapse the ongoing Palestine-Israeli hostility and past Apartheid policies in South Africa In her book The March of Folly she identifies wooden-headednessacting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be deflected by the facts as a factor that plays a remarkably large role in government Some people would even go so far as to claim that Tuchmans theory can be applied much more broadly to life in general on a personal level Indeed wooden-headedness does play a remarkable large role in bungled human affairs as well as state affairs Probably the saddest failures occur in human relationships Some people just cant keep a relationship with another person because of their wooden-headedness Wooden-headedness might just be in the persons mind or how they think about current issues Wooden-headedness could even come from when we were kids and in how our parents brought us up Sometimes a person will not give in and admit fault or that theyre wrong even when the facts are right there For some
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