Vörumynd

Road Not Taken

In this biography of Edward Lansdale (1908-1987), the man said to be the model for Greene's The Quiet American, Max Boot demonstrates how Lansdale pioneered a 'hearts and minds' 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 who favour...

In this biography of Edward Lansdale (1908-1987), the man said to be the model for Greene's The Quiet American, Max Boot demonstrates how Lansdale pioneered a 'hearts and minds' 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 who favoured napalm bombs over winning the trust of the people.

Through dozens of interviews and access to never-before-seen documents, Boot recasts this cautionary American story, tracing the bold rise and the crashing fall of Lansdale from the battle of Dien Bien Phu to the humiliating American evaculation in 1975. Boot rescues Lansdale from historical ignominy and suggests that Vietnam could have been different had we only listened.

With reverberations that continue to resonate, this is a biography of profound historical consequence.

Review: 'Judicious and absorbing' New York Times Book Review.
'Controversial in some of its conclusions, perhaps, as Lansdale's arguments were in their day, and essential reading for students of military policy and the Vietnam conflict' Kirkus starred review.
'A thoroughly engaging and enlightening biography' Military History Monthly.
'I couldn't stop reading this' Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn.
'A fascinating portrait of Lansdale ... superb' Philip Caputo, author of A Rumor of War.
'Brilliant ... offers important lessons for the present day' David Petraeus, former Director of CIA.
'Provides new perspective on a murky period in American history' Choice magazine.

Prizes: Runner-up for Pulitzer Prize (Biography) 2019.

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