Rostrum: Octavian Report Podcast

Edward Lansdale is truly a forgotten man in American history. Yet he once wielded enormous influence, and his methods and tactics hold valuable lessons for leaders today. So argues Max Boot, best-selling historian, Octavian board member, and author of the excellent new biography of Lansdale, The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam. We spoke with Max about his book, American foreign policy, and what lies ahead for the U.S.

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Foreign Policy’s The E.R.: Meet the Godfather of Modern Counterinsurgency

In his latest book, “The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam,” Boot follows the life of the legendary CIA operative who pioneered the “hearts and mind” strategy of the Vietnam War.

In many ways, Edward Lansdale can be considered the godfather of modern counterinsurgency. His ideas have in some respects fallen out of favor, but Boot provides one of the most sweeping authoritative, but also positive histories of Lansdale’s life and legacy.

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On Point

Historian Max Boot on Cold War-era soldier-spy Edward Lansdale, the American maverick who thought he knew how to win the Vietnam War.

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The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam

In this biography of legendary CIA operative Edward Lansdale, military historian Max Boot demonstrates how America’s giant military bureaucracy in Vietnam crushed Lansdale’s policy of diplomacy to win the trust of the Vietnamese people. In The Road Not Taken, he suggests that Vietnam could have concluded very differently had we only listened.