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, columnist, and national-security 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 in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a columnist for the Washington Post.
Max Boot’s latest work of history, The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam (Norton/Liveright), was a New York Times bestseller and the 2019 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography. It was praised as an “epic and elegant biography” (Wall Street Journal), “judicious and absorbing” (New York Times), and “a superb scholarly achievement” (Foreign Policy).
Max Boot is also the author of another book released by Norton/Liveright in 2018—The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right—which was described as a “devastating dissection of conservatism’s degeneracy in America” by Andrew Sullivan in New York magazine and as “soul-searching” and “refreshing” by the New York Times.
Max Boot is the author of three other widely acclaimed works of history: The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (2002), War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today (2006), and the New York Times best-seller Invisible Armies: The Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present (2013).
Max Boot has advised military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his books have been assigned reading by the military services. Max Boot was a senior foreign policy adviser to the presidential campaigns of John McCain (2008), Mitt Romney (2012) and Marco Rubio (2016). Max Boot has been a CNN national security consultant, a columnist for Foreign Policy, a blogger for Commentary, a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times, a member of the USA Today board of contributors, and a regular contributor to many other publications including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
Max Boot graduated from the University of California, Berkeley (BA, history, 1991) and Yale University (MA, history, 1992). Born in Moscow, he grew up in Los Angeles, and now lives in New York City.