Each of William Rust’s three histories of US relations with Laos and Cambodia has been named to Choice magazine’s annual list of Outstanding Academic Titles. Selected by the editors of Choice, a publication of the American Library Association, this prestigious list reflects the best of the scholarly titles reviewed by the magazine.

The late S. Dillon Ripley, leader of the Smithsonian Institution from 1964 to 1984, was never publicly candid about all of his work for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II and its successor intelligence agency, the Strategic Services Unit. "The Talented Dr. Ripley,” released in June 2020, reveals his leading role in planning operations and recruiting spies, including himself, for postwar espionage in Southeast Asia.

William Rust once again reminds us that we can find no better guide to the labyrinthine origins of America’s tragic entanglements in Southeast Asia. Deeply researched in a broad spectrum of archives and uncovering a range of hitherto little known or even unknown intelligence activities, The Mask of Neutrality explores the twists and turns of the US posture toward the decolonization of Indonesia with insight, nuance, and historical sensibility. A sobering account, it will remain the go-to history for years to come.

Richard Immerman, Temple University

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