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

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

4.3 3
by Alan Axelrod
 

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ISBN-10: 1402797788

ISBN-13: 2901402797780

Pub. Date: 04/03/2012

Publisher: Sterling


Using the same engrossing anecdotal format that proved so popular in Profiles in Audacity, bestselling author Alan Axelrod turns to the dark side of audacious decision-making and explores history's most tragic errors. While Axelrod looks at the hopelessly dumb and the overtly evil, the main focus is on smart people who had the best of intentions--but whose

Overview


Using the same engrossing anecdotal format that proved so popular in Profiles in Audacity, bestselling author Alan Axelrod turns to the dark side of audacious decision-making and explores history's most tragic errors. While Axelrod looks at the hopelessly dumb and the overtly evil, the main focus is on smart people who had the best of intentions--but whose plans went disastrously wrong. The 35 compelling, often poignant stories include: the sailing of the Titanic; 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.” These are cautionary tales--albeit with exquisite twists ranging from acerbic to horrific. New in paperback.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2901402797780
Publisher:
Sterling
Publication date:
04/03/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
368

Table of Contents


Author's Note: A Word Before We Begin     viii
The Decision to Gamble and Hope
The Trojans and the Trojan Horse (ca. 1250 bc)     3
George Armstrong Custer and the Little Bighorn (1876)     9
Andre Maginot and His Line (1930-40)     19
Unsinkability and the Titanic (1912)     25
Isoroku Yamamoto and Pearl Harbor (1941)     35
NASA and the Space Shuttles (1986, 2003)     49
The Decision to Manipulate
William McKinley, the USS Maine, and the Spanish-American War (1898)     67
Captain Alfred Dreyfus and the Honor of France (1894-1906)     80
Edward Bernays and the Campaign to Recruit Women Smokers (1929)     88
Richard M. Nixon and Watergate (1973)     100
Metropolitan Edison and Three Mile Island (1979)     109
Ken Lay and Enron (2001)     118
Dick Cheney and the Iraq War (2003)     125
The Decision to Leap (Without Looking)
King George III and the American Revolution (1775-83)     137
The "War Hawks" and the War of 1812 (1812)     151
John C. Calhoun and Nullification (1832)     160
Russell, Majors, and Waddell and the Pony Express (1860)     167
Count Leopold von Berchtold and His Ultimatum (1914)     174
The Decision to Retreat
Chief Justice Roger B.Taney and Dred Scott (1857)     187
Thomas Edison and the Fight Against Alternating Current (1893)     193
The Wright Brothers and the Wing Warping Lawsuits (1910-14)     200
Alfred P. Sloan and Planned Obsolescence (1920)     207
Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler (1938)     212
The British Empire and Gandhi (1942)     219
The Decision to Destroy
Governor Willem Kieft and the "Slaughter of the Innocents" (1643)     229
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and the Alamo (1836)     236
Patriotism and Poison Gas (1914-18)     251
Roberto Goizueta and the "New Coke" (1985)     257
The Decision to Drift
James Buchanan and Secession (1860)     267
George Gordon Meade and Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of the Crater (1864)     276
Rasputin and the Russian Royals (1916)     294
Ford Motor Company and the Edsel (1957)     303
John F. Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs (1961)     313
Tonkin Gulf, Persian Gulf (1964, 2003)     320
George W. Bush and Hurricane Katrina (2005)     331
Further Reading     343
Index     349

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Profiles in Folly: History's Worst Decisions and Why They Went Wrong 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an interesting read of some of the more notable mistakes in decisions from different eras and fields of interest. The author does show a very pronounced liberal bias. One example is when she discusses the Gulf of Tonkin and iraq. Both are identified as misleading but one is clearly identified as a plot and meant to mislead the public for nefarious reasons, and the other is credited to years of policy and well meaning intentions, thereby letting bush/cheney seem evil and LBJ justwrong. Same sort of thing occurs when she talks about Katrina. Read it with a grain of salt.