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The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam

by Max Boot

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The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam
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Overview

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The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam by Max Boot

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
In chronicling the adventurous life of legendary CIA operative Edward Lansdale, The Road Not Taken definitively reframes our understanding of the Vietnam War.
In this epic biography of Edward Lansdale (1908– 1987), the man said to be the fictional model for Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, best-selling historian Max Boot demonstrates how Lansdale pioneered a “hearts and mind” diplomacy, first in the Philippines, then in Vietnam. It was a visionary policy that, as Boot reveals, was ultimately crushed by America’s giant military bureaucracy, steered by elitist generals and blueblood diplomats who favored troop build-ups and napalm bombs over winning the trust of the people. Through dozens of interviews and access to neverbefore-seen documents—including long-hidden love letters—Boot recasts this cautionary American story, tracing the bold rise and the crashing fall of the roguish “T. E. Lawrence of Asia” from the battle of Dien Bien Phu to the humiliating American evacuation in 1975. Bringing a tragic complexity to this so-called “ugly American,” this “engrossing biography” (Karl Marlantes) rescues Lansdale from historical ignominy and suggests that Vietnam could have been different had we only listened. With reverberations that continue to play out in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Road Not Taken is a biography of profound historical consequence.

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Product Details
ISBN-13:
9780871409416
9780871409416
Publisher:
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
01/09/2018
Pages:
768
768
Sales rank:
14,794
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 2.00(d)
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About the Author

About the Author

A renowned military historian and Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign
Relations, Max Boot is a regular contributor to the New York Times, Foreign Policy, the Los
Angeles Times, and other publications. The author of The Savage Wars of Peace and the New York
Times best-selling Invisible Armies, he lives in New York.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Maps xii

Dramatis Personae xv

Prologue: The Day of the Dead: Saigon, November 1-2, 1963 xxiii

Introduction: The Misunderstood Man xli

Part 1 Ad Man (1908-1945)

1 In Terrific Flux 3

2 Enfant Terrible 16

3 An Institution Run by Its Inmates 33

Part 2 Colonel Landslide (1945-1954)

4 The Time of His Life 47

5 In Love and War 65

6 The Knights Templar 87

7 "A Most Difficult and Delicate Problem" 104

8 "All-Out Force or All-Out Friendship" 118

9 The Power Broker 136

10 "A Real Vindication" 157

Part 3 Nation Builder (1954-1956)

11 La Guerre sans Fronts 171

12 A Fortress Falls 185

13 "I Am Ngo Dinh Diem" 196

14 The Chopstick Torture 214

15 Pacification 233

16 The Viper's Nest 254

17 "Stop Calling Me Papa!" 277

Part 4 Washington Warrior (1957-1963)

18 Heartbreak Hotel 301

19 Guerrilla Guru 311

20 A New War Begins 332

21 The Ambassador Who Never Was 347

22 "The X Factor" 363

23 "Worms of the World Unite" 376

24 "Washington at Its Nuttiest" 400

Part 5 Bastard Child (1964-1968)

25 "A Hell of a Mess" 419

26 "Concept for Victory" 433

27 Escalation 444

28 The Impossible Missions Force 457

29 Waging Peace in a Time of War 471

30 To Stay or to Go? 490

31 Waiting for the Second Coming 502

32 The Long Goodbye 515

Part 6 The Beaten Man (1968-1987)

33 The War at Home 533

34 A Defeat in Disguise 549

35 The Abandoned Ally 564

36 The Family Jewels 575

37 The End of the Road 586

Afterword: Lansdalism in the Twenty-First Century 599

Acknowledgments 607

Notes 611

Select Bibliography 661

Index 677

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Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

…judicious and absorbing…What emerges is a picture of a man who from an early point possessed an unusual ability to relate to other people, a stereotypically American can-do optimism, an impatience with bureaucracy and a fascination with psychological warfare.

The New York Times Book Review - Fredrik Logevall
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    The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam
    Hardcover (1)
    The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam
    Pub. Date: 01/09/2018
    Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
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    Pub. Date: 01/09/2018
    Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
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