Counterinsurgency doctrine, the Vietnam War, and the vagaries of politics all come together in Max Boot
's latest work, The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam
(Liveright, 2018). One of the most prolific and iconoclastic commentators on American foreign policy currently active in American letters, Max Boot examines the life and career of General Edward Lansdale, in this detailed and quite personal biography. As he considers the various successes and failures of Lansdale's professional life, as well as his role as the inspiration for some of the most telling fictional accounts of the Cold War in Southeast Asia, Boot also develops a context for counterinsurgency that positions strategic empathy as the most essential characteristic for its success. Yet the story of Lansdale's life and career is also a riveting chapter in the great American tragedy that is the Vietnam War, one of which Boot offers an unvarnished and stark assessment.