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In the Midst of Wars: An American's Mission to Southeast Asia Paperback – January 1, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0823213146 ISBN-10: 0823213145 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press; 2 edition (January 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823213145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823213146
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.1 x 5.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

aA fascinating story of counterinsurgency and counter intelligence. . . . His account has the freshness of firsthand observation.a

About the Author

Edward Geary Lansdale (1908-1987) was a United States Air Force officer who served in the Office of Strategic Services and the Central Intelligence Agency.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Gwynevere Nghiem on October 6, 2000
This book is one of the best I have read so far. The first half of the book was about Lansdale in Philippine as an advisor to Phillipine's president at the time. I have been researching a lot into the period that the second half of this particular book covered. The author (Lansdale) had been very honest when he wrote this book, a must read for anyone with questions about what happpened in Vietnam in the time period from 1954 to 1960. I finally read something that had something positive about President Ngo Dinh Diem. This book tell the truth about Ngo Dinh Diem from someone who know him best because Lansdale had acted as Diem's political advisor and best friend. The book is a first hand account (sort of like a memoir) of someone who were actually there, and witnessed every ordeal that had happened. A fine book if you wanted to read something truthful. You don't have to believe me, so I will stop now so you can go ahead and read this wonderful book. By the way, have fun reading :) :) Gwynevere
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Barr on August 16, 2006
Verified Purchase
Lansdale's book is one of those forgotten treasures for those studying insurgent warfare strategy. General Lansdale had an enormous fund of experience, contacts, and cultural knowledge of the Phillipines and his memoir about his role in defeating the Huk insurgency in 1950 tells us a lot about all the RIGHT things to do. Small footprint, work with and cultivate local leaders, disingage the population from the insurgents...all of this takes enormous personal communication skill and rapport along with the common sense of a beat cop. If anything, you'll learn that not everyone in the military is cut out for fighting insurgent warfare. After his success in in the Phillipines he was sent to Vietnam while the French were getting ready to pull out in 1954-1955. He details what the French had done wrong and how some of the French officers "got it" but unfortunately didn't have the support of superiors...something important to remember. Landsdale outlines the situation so that you can tell without his saying so, just when the point of no return for the French had been reached. This is not only a great book about insurgent warfare strategy but just a great read as well. No long drawn out tales of "there I was facing 50 insurgents armed with just my pocket knife" just a recitation of real events as he experienced them, including the not so exciting but essential grunt work insurgent warfare calls for. If you can find a copy...get it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christian Potholm on May 27, 2013
In Medias Res" William Lansdale, In the Midst of Wars: An American's Mission to Southeast Asia (New York: Fordham University Press, 1991). An amazing account of a man at the center of governmental counter-insurgency in the Philippines and in the early (and later) stages of American involvement in the Vietnam War. Modest and self-effacing (although with an occasional whiff of "post hoc, ergo propter hoc") despite a lengthy career in the OSS, the U.S. Air Force and CIA, Lansdale believed that the secret to counter-insurgency was adherence to, and promotion of, the American ideals of the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence and by stressing true democratic values, ideas and processes. His emphasis on the avoidance of venality in government, civic action, clean water, local defense and soldiers as "brothers" to the villagers, freedom of political expression all ring true as important ingredients in . I also like his saying that the best weapon against a guerrilla is a knife and the worst, an airplane. Lansdale clearly distrusted the later American emphasis on raw military power as an end in and of itself. Lansdale finally served as a special assistant to the American Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge from 1965-1968. It is important to realize how much even attempting Lansdale's prescriptions for successful counter-insurgency depend on the quality of leadership available to those implementing reforms. For example, compare the man of the people, "on the stump" style of Ramon Magsaysay in the Philippines with that of the "Emperor," Boa Dia, in Vietnam who attempted to run that country from the French Riviera, eventually appointing Ngo Dinh Diem as Prime Minister in 1954. Anyone interested in truly understanding the course of the Vietnam War (as well as its many "might have beens") should read this illuminating volume.
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