THE ROAD NOT TAKEN:
EDWARD LANSDALE AND
THE AMERICAN TRAGEDY IN VIETNAM
2019 FINALIST FOR PULITZER PRIZE IN BIOGRAPHY &
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"Epic and elegant"
- Robert D. Kaplan, Wall Street Journal
"[A] superb biography."
- Mark Bowden, New York Times
In this "brilliant, extremely well-written" (Forbes) biography of CIA operative Edward Lansdale (1908-1987), best-selling author Max Boot rescues a misunderstood life from historical ignominy and recasts him as a vital figure in twentieth-century American foreign policy. "Committed to restoring a sense of proportion to his subject's image as a political Svengali, or 'Lawrence of Asia'" (The New Yorker), Boot weaves dozens of interviews and never-before-seen documents to demonstrate how Lansdale—once 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 .
Writing with "novelistic verve" (General David Petraeus), Boot brings a tragic complexity to Lansdale and a nuanced analysis to his visionary foreign policy, boldly suggesting 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) account of lasting historical consequence.
Max Boot is a historian, best-selling author and foreign-policy analyst who has been called one of the “world’s leading authorities on armed conflict” by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a columnist for The Washington Post.
Max Boot is now writing a biography of Ronald Reagan for Norton/Liveright. His previous biography, The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam (Norton/Liveright, 2018), was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in biography.
Boot is also the author of four other widely acclaimed books: The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right (2018); the New York Times bestseller Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present (2013); War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today (2006); and The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (2002), which won the 2003 General Wallace M. Greene Jr. Award from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation as the best nonfiction book pertaining to Marine Corps history and has been placed on military professional reading lists.
Boot has been a CNN analyst and a regular guest on MSNBC, NPR, BBC, and many other radio and television programs. In addition to being a Pulitzer finalist, he was named in 2018 one of America’s “Great Immigrants” by the Carnegie Corporation and one of the 50 most influential Jewish Americans by the Forward newspaper.
Before joining the Council on Foreign Relations in 2002, Boot was the op-ed editor at The Wall Street Journal and, before that, an editor and writer at the Christian Science Monitor. He has also been a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the New York Times, Foreign Policy, Commentary, and many other publications.
Boot holds a bachelor’s degree in history, with high honors, from the University of California at Berkeley (1991) and a master’s degree in history from Yale University (1992). He was born in Moscow, grew up in Los Angeles and now lives in the New York area.