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

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

by Max Boot

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Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (Biography)

A New York Times bestseller, this “epic and elegant” biography (Wall Street Journal) profoundly recasts our understanding of the Vietnam War.

Praised as a “superb scholarly achievement” (Foreign Policy), The Road Not Taken confirms Max Boot’s role as a “master chronicler” (Washington Times) of American military affairs. Through dozens of interviews and never-before-seen documents, Boot rescues Edward Lansdale (1908–1987) from historical ignominy to “restore a sense of proportion” to this “political Svengali, or ‘Lawrence of Asia’ ”(The New Yorker). Boot demonstrates how Lansdale, the man said to be the fictional model for Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, pioneered a “hearts and minds” diplomacy, first in the Philippines and then in Vietnam. Bringing a tragic complexity to Lansdale and a nuanced analysis to his visionary foreign policy, Boot suggests Vietnam could have been different had we only listened.

With contemporary reverberations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, The Road Not Taken is a “judicious and absorbing” (New York Times Book Review) biography of lasting historical consequence.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780871409430
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 01/09/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 768
Sales rank: 439,772
File size: 43 MB
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About the Author

Max Boot is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a columnist for the Washington Post, and a global affairs analyst for CNN. His most recent book is the New York Times bestseller The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam.

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 Next 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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