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 political commentator. 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 is the author of six books. 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. The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right (also 2018) was described as a “devastating dissection of conservatism’s degeneracy in America” by Andrew Sullivan in New York magazine. He is now writing a biography of Ronald Reagan: The Pragmatist: Ronald Reagan and the World He Made.
Boot has been a global affairs analyst for CNN, the op-ed editor of the Wall Street Journal, and a regular contributor to USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Foreign Affairs, and many other publications. He was a foreign policy adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2006, Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012, and Marco Rubio’s campaign in 2016. He has been described by the International Institute for Strategic Studies as one of the “world’s leading authorities on armed conflict,” and in 2018 he was named one of America’s “Great Immigrants” by the Carnegie Corporation.
Boot holds a bachelor’s degree in history, with high honors, from the University of California, 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 with his family in New York City.