|Pages/Publication Date:||750 / 2013|
Beginning with the first insurgencies in the ancient world—when Alexander the Great discovered that fast nomads were harder to defeat than massive conventional armies—military historian and advisor Max Boot here guides us from the Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire through the horrors of the French-Indochina War and the shadowy post-9/11 battlefields of today. Profiling characters from Mao Zedong and Che Guevara to the legendary Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi, archaeologist-turned-military commander T.E. Lawrence, and the "Quiet American" Edward Lansdale, Boot explodes everything we thought we knew about unconventional combat.
"In his encyclopedic history of guerrilla warfare, Max Boot, a military analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations, makes a crucial observation: that [guerrilla warfare] has been a far more enduring feature of conflict than many realize."—Financial Times (London)
"A magisterial account of insurgency and counterinsurgency across the ages, peppered with fascinating personalities such as Robert the Bruce, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Che Guevara, Edward Lansdale, Osama bin Laden and David Petraeus. Out of narrative emerges cogent analysis: The author offers important insights relevant to any modern power faced with a guerrilla opponent.... This is a wonderful read."—Washington Post
"Characterized by stealth, raids, and retreats, irregular warfare is a strategy of the weak against the strong.... Ultimately distilling his massive historical survey into several precepts for analyzing insurgency, Boot concludes that a rebellion will most likely succeed if its irregular fighters cooperate with its conventional units; if it receives foreign assistance; and if it produces effective propaganda. Boot cites the American Revolution as a template and, likewise, Garibaldi's unification of Italy and Ho Chi Minh's Communist victory in Vietnam. Receiving Boot's equal attention are strategists who defeated 20th-century insurgencies in the French and British Empires. Few but specialists know of Louis Lyautey; that his counterinsurgency ideas are ancestral to current U.S. military doctrine illustrates the current-affairs importance of Boot's presentation, which is impressively researched, astutely synthesized, and eminently readable."—Booklist