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

Alan Axelrod, Author Sterling $19.95 (358p) ISBN 978-1-4027-4768-7
Prolific author Axelrod (Elizabeth I, CEO, The Real History of World War II) has an engaging writing style and a good eye for telling incidents, making his 35 ""cautionary tales"" of bad decisions (and their deciders) illuminating and interesting. Covering a swath of history from 1250 B.C. to 2005, Axelrod begins with the Trojan Horse (""The Decision to Let Danger In"") and ends with President Bush and Hurricane Katrina (""The Decision to Stop Short of Leadership""). Axelrod ends each story with an admonition; the Trojan War illustrates ""wars whose cost vastly outweighs the original cause and the potential gain,"" and Katrina exposes the President as ""a man content to vacation in the eye of a storm."" This is popular, broad brush-stroke history, and Axelrod's opinions sometimes overreach, but the book is entertaining and occasionally surprising (as in the Japanese preparation for the assault on Peal Harbor). Axelrod helpfully includes a list of recommended reading for each incident covered.
Reviewed on: 04/28/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4027-9882-5
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-4027-9778-1
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