Profiles in Folly: History's Worst Decisions and why They Went Wrong

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Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2008 - History - 358 pages
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Using the same engrossing anecdotal format that has proved so popular in Profiles in Audacity, Alan Axelrod now turns to the dark side of audacious decision-making: those choices that, in retrospect, were shockingly wrongheaded.  Although Axelrod investigates some dumb decisions by stupid people and some evil decisions by evil people, the overwhelming majority of these decisions were made by good, smart people whose poor judgment produced disastrous, often irreversible results. The 35 compelling and often poignant stories, which range from ancient times to today, include: The Trojan Horse; the Children’s Crusade; the sailing of the Titanic, and the false belief that it just couldn’t sink; Edward Bernays’s 1929 campaign to recruit women smokers; Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of the Nazis; Ken Lay’s deception with Enron; and even the choice to create a “New Coke” and fix what wasn’t broke. As with Profiles in Audacity, the deftly drawn vignettes will pique interest, satisfy curiosity, give pleasure, and present valuable lessons. And in addition to offering the same insightful analysis of the decision-making process, Folly also includes objective post-mortems that explain what went wrong and why. These are cautionary tales—albeit with exquisite twists ranging from acerbic to horrific.
 

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Profiles in Folly: History's Worst Decisions and Why They Went Wrong

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Prolific author Axelrod follows up his Profiles in Audacity: Great Decisions and How They Were Made with this study of 35 of the greatest mistakes in history. The work is divided thematically into six ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Schmerguls - LibraryThing

This is a not overly profound book on some 33 blunders in history, ranging from the Trojans stupid mistake in taking the wooden horse into Troy to George W. Bush's Iraq War and mishandling of Katrina ... Read full review

Contents

Chapter2
65
Chapter3
135
Chapter4
185
Chapter5
227
Chapter6
265
Index
349
BackFlap
359
BackCover
360
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About the author (2008)

Alan Axelrod was born on August 25, 1952, in New York. He was educated at Northeastern Illinois University and University of Iowa. He is a leading writer about American history, and is the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to American History. In his books, Axelrod presents the facts, details, and faces that have helped shape the history of the United States. Axelrod has served as a consultant to several museums and institutions. He has received numerous honors, including a National Cowboy Hall of Fame Award in 1991.

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