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Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present Hardcover – Deckle Edge, 15 Feb 2013

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Liveright (15 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871404249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871404244
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 5.1 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 565,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

...[I]mpressively researched, astutely synthesized, and eminently readable. --Booklist

Mr. Boot's impressive work of military history is destined to be the classic account of what may be the oldest as well as the hardest form of war. --Wall Street Journal

About the Author

A Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a renowned military historian, Max Boot is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal and is the author of The Savage Wars of Peace and War Made New.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book. Well written and very clear, whilst also having an exicting narrative
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Format: Hardcover
A compelling survey of irregular warfare from the pre-Christian era to the present, "Invisible Armies" covers both guerrilla fighting, which Boot calls "the oldest form of warfare," and terrorism, which he considers "strikingly modern." While exhaustively researched, this is not a scholarly tome, but a lively account, betraying Boot's journalistic training, of when and how non-regular armies, be they partisans, guerrillas, or terrorists, have managed to achieve their aims--and when they haven't.

In a nutshell, Boot's argument is that small, irregular forces can win against larger armies when the smaller forces have popular support at home, ideally combined with external support and/or the approval of the broader public. Foreign occupiers trying to impose their will by main force will, no matter how great their firepower, have an uphill battle to fight, as the US found to its dismay in Vietnam. Successful counterinsurgency tactics will almost always rely on a combination of force with public relations; apparent exceptions, such as the Russian use of scorched-earth techniques in the Second Chechen War, actually prove the rule, as the Russian army was, technically, on its own territory, and was allied with the Kadyrov family.

While the concept is simple, arriving at it has not been, and Boot traces the fortunes of various insurgents and counterinsurgents through the ages, from ancient Mesopotamia to medieval Scotland, the American West, Algeria, Indochina, Afghanistan, and back to modern Mesopotamia, aka the Middle East. The circular structure is no accident, as Boot is, above all else, a master storyteller, and every chapter in the book is full of punchy phrases and vivid action.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an encompassing and very readable history of insurgency and counterinsurgency from ancient times to the present, with expanding focus on recent times. Dozens of case histories are fluidly pulled together to illustrate the evolution of tactics on both sides, key innovators and star or infamous players, and the results they produced. Embedded in the stories are the various techniques employed, from punitive methods, strength in numbers and resources and the use of outside assistance to mobility, infiltration, containment, winning hearts and minds, and various forms of passive inducement. Whereas the author avoids making a textbook of the subject, thereby assuring its readability, it is a pity that the extensive database of conflicts at the end did not contain more analysis. Highly recommended, all the same.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fascinating view of unconventional warfare throughout history. Max boot draws upon multiple conflicts over various issues to weave together a poignant discussion of the similarities and differences of guerilla armies and tactics. A clear differentiation is made between those that engage in armed struggle and those that employ terrorist tactics without a wider methodical approach. An excellent boot for anyone interested in the international relations aspects of modern unconventional warfare. The background and historical approach adopted by Max Boot enables the reader to more clearly understand the motivations and tactics across some of the most important conflicts of the modern world.
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