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The road not taken: Edward Lansdale and the American tragedy in Vietnam

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In this epic biography of Edward Lansdale (1908- 1987), the man said to be the fictional model for Graham Greene's The Quiet American, best-selling historian Max Boot demonstrates how Lansdale pioneered a "hearts and mind" 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 and blueblood diplomats who favored troop build-ups and napalm bombs over winning the trust of the people. Through dozens of interviews and access to neverbefore-seen documents--including long-hidden love letters--Boot recasts this cautionary American story, tracing the bold rise and the crashing fall of the roguish "T. E. Lawrence of Asia" from the battle of Dien Bien Phu to the humiliating American evacuation in 1975. Bringing a tragic complexity to this so-called "ugly American," this "engrossing biography" (Karl Marlantes) rescues Lansdale from historical ignominy and suggests that Vietnam could have been different had we only listened. With reverberations that continue to play out in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Road Not Taken is a biography of profound historical consequence.
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Grouped Work ID 3042f556-af49-bb15-5102-9d12700ede1c
Full title road not taken edward lansdale and the american tragedy in vietnam
Author boot max
Grouping Category book
Last Update 2018-05-20 22:58:42PM
Last Indexed 2018-05-21 02:46:53AM

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_point_value 0
accelerated_reader_reading_level 0
auth_author2 Strozier, Henry,
author Max Boot
author2-role Recorded Books, Inc., Strozier, Henry,narrator.
author_display Boot, Max
available_at_school Hillsboro High
collection_school Biography
detailed_location_school Hillsboro High - Teen Biography
display_description "The legendary Edward Lansdale (1908-1987), a covert operative so roguish that he was said to be the model for Graham Greene's The Quiet American, remains one of the most fascinating yet deeply misunderstood figures of post-1945 American foreign policy. Skeptics have belittled him as a con man ignorant of Asian realities, but a few have hailed him as a prophetic military genius whose yin-yang strategy of hunting down guerrillas while employing a 'hearts and minds' approach to win local support provided a lasting template for U.S. foreign policy. Examining these interpretations but also providing a veritable trove of new facts unearthed from previously classified documents, hidden letters, and interviews, [this book] fundamentally recasts both our vision of Lansdale and America's entire involvement in Vietnam. Max Boot positions Lansdale against the American twentieth century and evocatively charts Lansdale's itinerant upbringing and his transition from unorthodox California ad man to army and OSS officer. Leaving behind his wife and two young sons, Lansdale was sent to Manila in 1945. While becoming embroiled in a passionate love affair with the woman who would become his longtime mistress and later wife, he charted a way for the Filipinos to defend themselves against Communist insurgents by promoting Ramon Magsaysay, a charismatic figure who went from being a lowly congressman to the country's greatest president. Lansdale's singular success convinced the Eisenhower administration to send him to South Vietnam after the ignominious French rout at Dien Bien Phu. Assigned the impossible task of protecting the South from Communist encroachment, Lansdale was initially successful, cultivating the friendship of Ngo Dinh Diem, South Vietnam's new president. Then, increasingly sidelined by elitist generals and blue-blood diplomats, Lansdale watched helplessly as Diem was murdered in an American-supported coup just before Kennedy's own assassination. By 1965, the "hearts and minds" approach to counterinsurgency that Lansdale had so passionately advocated was no longer viable as the United States began a massive Vietnamese buildup. Never a team player, Lansdale became marginalized, watching the humiliating 1975 evacuation of Saigon at a painful remove and dying eleven years later, regarded as a "dirty tricks" specialist of a bygone era. Bringing a tragic complexity to this so-called Ugly American, [this] biography suggests that Vietnam, a conflict whose bitter legacy still haunts American foreign policy, might have been different if only Lansdale's advice had been heeded. With reverberations that continue to play out in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Road Not Taken is a biography of profound historical consequence."--Dust jacket.
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id 3042f556-af49-bb15-5102-9d12700ede1c
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primary_isbn 9780871409416
publishDate 2018
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subject_facet Audiobooks, Biographies, Generals -- United States -- Biography, Intelligence officers -- United States -- Biography, Lansdale, Edward Geary, -- 1908-1987, United States. -- Army -- Biography, United States. -- Central Intelligence Agency -- Officials and employees -- Biography, Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- United States
title_display The road not taken : Edward Lansdale and the American tragedy in Vietnam
title_full The Road Not Taken Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam, The road not taken : Edward Lansdale and the American tragedy in Vietnam / Max Boot
title_short The road not taken :
title_sub Edward Lansdale and the American tragedy in Vietnam
topic_facet Biography & Autobiography, Generals, History, Intelligence officers, Lansdale, Edward Geary, Military, Nonfiction, Officials and employees, Vietnam War, 1961-1975