[Ads-l] Quote: History is the unfolding of miscalculations. Barbara Tuchman

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 1 04:12:03 EDT 2017

Back on March 1st I made a request to the list regarding the quotation
in the subject line. The Quote Investigator website now has an entry
on this topic. Mailing list discussants Donna Halper and John Baker
are acknowledged.

History Is the Unfolding of Miscalculations

"The Cynic's Lexicon" compiled by Jonathon Green appears to contain an
erroneous citation which is described in the QI article. Green has
edited a large number of references including the massive "Green’s
Dictionary of Slang", but I do not know if he has any public-facing
email address. If someone is willing and able to relay a message to
him please let me know off-list.


On Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 3:44 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> "War is the unfolding of miscalculations" has been attributed to
> historian Barbara Tuchman in newspapers, books, and even reference
> works. I was asked to investigate.
>  I believe that Tuchman actually wrote: "History is the unfolding of
> miscalculations". This statement appeared in the 2001 Grove Press
> edition of "Stilwell and the American Experience in China", and I plan
> to check the original 1970 edition shortly.
> The quotation was garbled in a "New York Times" book review published
> on December 3, 1973; the word "war" was substituted for "history".
> Request: The journal "Yankee" apparently printed an interview with
> Barbara Tuchman in 1980, and I would love to get scans of the
> interview (plus scans showing the date of the issue, and the publisher
> information).
> Year: 1980
> Periodical: Yankee
> Volume 44
> Month: Unknown (Currently it is a bimonthly)
> Article Title: Unknown
> Quote Page 63 (Please examine all pages numbered 63)
> Note: Article may start on page 61 because "Barbara Tuchman" appears
> in large type on page 61
> Database: Google Books Snippet; data is incomplete and may be
> inaccurate; must be verified with hardcopy or scans; there are 1980
> issues in the volume.
> [Begin extracted text]
> "History is the unfolding of miscalculation," I quoted.
> "Right! Who said that?"
> "You did."
> "I did?" she said with surprise. "Did I really? Very good. It is." She
> looked pleased with herself.
> [End extracted text]
> Garson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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