Director of Graduate Studies Mark Lawrence reviews Max Boot's book on Edward Lansdale and the Vietnam War

Jun 05, 2018

In "Vietnam Revisionism and the Ugly American," published in Lawfare, Clements Center's Mark Lawrence reviews Max Boot's new release, "The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam.”

Mark Lawrence, one of the nation’s premier historians of Vietnam, takes on a wave of revisionist theory about Vietnam, which he argues “has gained momentum in the last two decades.” Authors like Lewis Sorley and Mark Moyar, Lawrence argues, have advanced the proposition that “the United States squandered a meaningful chance for victory in Vietnam by making bad choices.” Theirs is an explicit effort to overturn earlier conventional wisdom that the U.S. effort was “doomed to fail by an incompetent South Vietnamese regime congenitally incapable of winning the support of its own people.”

The most recent contribution to this line of thinking, in Lawrence’s view, is Max Boot’s new book, “The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam.” Lawrence sees it as “a formidable, if ultimately unconvincing, addition to the revisionist literature on the war.”

Read the full review here.