Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present
  • Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present
  • Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present

Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present

4.6 60
by Max Boot
     
 

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“Destined to be the classic account of what may be the oldest . . . hardest form of war.”—John Nagl, Wall Street Journal

Invisible Armies presents an entirely original narrative of warfare, which demonstrates that, far from the exception, loosely organized partisan or guerrilla
warfare has been the dominant form of

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Overview

“Destined to be the classic account of what may be the oldest . . . hardest form of war.”—John Nagl, Wall Street Journal

Invisible Armies presents an entirely original narrative of warfare, which demonstrates that, far from the exception, loosely organized partisan or guerrilla
warfare has been the dominant form of military conflict throughout history. New York Times best-selling author and military historian Max Boot traces guerrilla
warfare and terrorism from antiquity to the present, narrating nearly thirty centuries of unconventional military conflicts. Filled with dramatic analysis of strategy and tactics, as well as many memorable characters—from Italian nationalist Guiseppe Garibaldi to the “Quiet American,” Edward Lansdale—Invisible Armies is “as readable as a novel” (Michael Korda, Daily Beast) and “a timely reminder to politicians and generals of the hard-earned lessons of history” (Economist).

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Gerard DeGroot
Invisible Armies is 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. Hard lessons are, however, delivered with elegant prose. Leaving aside what Invisible Armies teaches us, this is a wonderful read.
Publishers Weekly
A military historian and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Boot (The Savage Wars of Peace) presents a sweeping, well-written, and comprehensively documented history of guerilla war. For Boot, guerrilla warfare and terrorism are distinct but synergistically linked. Terrorism is the use of violence, primarily by nonstate actors, against noncombatants. Guerrilla, which means "little war," is the organized use of hit-and run tactics against governments. What they have in common is their use by fighters "too weak to employ conventional methods," although these unconventional methods may have higher prospects of success. Boot begins by tracing their roots, from prehistoric tribal war to the medieval grappling on the Anglo-Scottish frontier. He goes on to address terrorism and guerrilla warfare through the centuries and around the world, from medieval assassins to irregulars' operations during 19th century the liberal European revolutions between the 1770s and to the 1880s to guerrilla movements generated by imperialism, terrorism, from the medieval Assassins to the IRA, and guerrilla operations in the world wars. He concludes with an analysis of national liberation movements, recent Leftist revolutionary upheavals and Islamic terror. The result is a compelling narrative and perceptive analysis: a must read in today's world. Agent: Glen Hartley and Lynn Chu, Writers' Representatives. (Jan.)
Wall Street Journal
“A penetrating writer and thinker.”
Booklist
“...[I]mpressively researched, astutely synthesized, and eminently readable.”
New York Times
A sweeping panorama that ranges over a vast terrain... thoughtful, smart, fluent, with an eye for the good story.— Mark Mazover
The Daily Beast
“Enormous, brilliant, and important...should be required reading in the White House and Pentagon.... Lucid, enlightening, and highly readable.”— Michael Korda
Commentary
“For the historian and journalist Max Boot to use the phrase ‘an epic history’ in the subtitle of his own book implies a magnificent lack of modesty in his own capabilities. The work more than matches the hype…. This pathbreaking book should thus be on the reading list of every NATO officer hoping to defeat an insurgency.”— Andrew Roberts
The Weekly Standard
“There’s no better guide to both the past and the future than Invisible Armies, the tour de force of a scholar as well as a man who’s seen American adversaries and soldiers at work up close.”
The Wall Street Journal
“[D]estined to be the classic account of what may be the oldest as well as the hardest form of war.”— John Nagl
The Economist
“Lively.... A timely reminder to politicians and generals of the hard-earned lessons of history.”
Walter Isaacson
“Fascinating. . . . Beginning with the barbarians at the gates of the Roman Empire, a wonderful and valuable historic narrative filled with colorful characters.”
Jon Meacham
“Max Boot has written a landmark book about a perennial and important challenge: guerilla warfare.”
John Nagl - The Wall Street Journal
“[D]estined to be the classic account of what may be the oldest as well as the hardest form of war.”
General (ret.) Jack Keane
“The most definitive and comprehensive work to date on the dominant form of warfare of our times. A must read for scholars, military and government professionals and a fascinating journey for the general public.”
Senator John S. McCain
“This is the definitive treatment of guerrilla warfare through the ages—a tour de force by a preeminent military historian who has advised generals, policymakers and political leaders on the subject.”
Rick Atkinson
“Sweeping, meticulous, and exceptionally thoughtful. Max Boot's Invisible Armies is an important, compelling contribution to our understanding of how men make war.”
Lucas Wittmann - The Daily Beast
“The word “magisterial” is bandied about far too freely these days, but in the case of Max Boot’s sweeping and deeply researched history of guerrilla warfare, it proves fair. Somewhere in the first third of Boot’s book, you begin to realize that guerrilla wars (and terrorism and insurgencies) are the way we fight, while the formal set battles of, say, the Napoleonic wars are but an exception.”
Andrew Roberts - Commentary
“For the historian and journalist Max Boot to use the phrase ‘an epic history’ in the subtitle of his own book implies a magnificent lack of modesty in his own capabilities. The work more than matches the hype…. This pathbreaking book should thus be on the reading list of every NATO officer hoping to defeat an insurgency.”
Michael Korda - The Daily Beast
“Enormous, brilliant, and important...should be required reading in the White House and Pentagon.... Lucid, enlightening, and highly readable.”
Forbes Magazine - Steve Forbes
“[A] comprehensive history of guerrilla warfare, breezily written and chock-full of perceptive insights.... [Boot] has a great feel for details...a mighty impressive achievement, one that should be a bible for policymakers everywhere in the civilized world.”
The Wall Street Journal - John Nagl
“[D]estined to be the classic account of what may be the oldest as well as the hardest form of war.”
(retired)Jack Keane - General
“The most definitive and comprehensive work to date on the dominant form of warfare of our times. A must read for scholars, military and government professionals and a fascinating journey for the general public.”
Senator - John S. McCain
“This is the definitive treatment of guerrilla warfare through the ages—a tour de force by a preeminent military historian who has advised generals, policymakers and political leaders on the subject.”
The Daily Beast - Lucas Wittmann
“The word "magisterial" is bandied about far too freely these days, but in the case of Max Boot’s sweeping and deeply researched history of guerrilla warfare, it proves fair. Somewhere in the first third of Boot’s book, you begin to realize that guerrilla wars (and terrorism and insurgencies) are the way we fight, while the formal set battles of, say, the Napoleonic wars are but an exception.”
Commentary - Andrew Roberts
“For the historian and journalist Max Boot to use the phrase ‘an epic history’ in the subtitle of his own book implies a magnificent lack of modesty in his own capabilities. The work more than matches the hype…. This pathbreaking book should thus be on the reading list of every NATO officer hoping to defeat an insurgency.”
The Daily Beast - Michael Korda
“Enormous, brilliant, and important...should be required reading in the White House and Pentagon.... Lucid, enlightening, and highly readable.”
Steve Forbes - Forbes Magazine
“[A] comprehensive history of guerrilla warfare, breezily written and chock-full of perceptive insights.... [Boot] has a great feel for details...a mighty impressive achievement, one that should be a bible for policymakers everywhere in the civilized world.”
Gerard DeGroot - Washington Post
“A magisterial overview of insurgency and counterinsurgency, peppered with fascinating personalities. The author counts 442 insurgencies since the American Revolution, 25.2 percent of which were successful.”
Manueala Hoelterhoff - Business Week
“Max Boot’s alternative military history is so marvelously readable because every section—and there are many in this epic of 750 pages—is moved along by a vividly pictured zealot, mass murderer, mini-murderer, tactician, partisan, general, king—as well as the weary survivors of battles, wars, massacres, atrocities.”
Lawrence Freedman - Foreign Affairs
“Remarkably comprehensive... Boot sustains the reader's interest with lively writing and sharp characterizations.”
James Blitz - Financial Times
“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… [An] important survey…. Nicely drawn portraits of the leading figures in the insurgents’ pantheon—Giuseppe Garibaldi, T.E. Lawrence, Orde Wingate, Mao Zedong.”
Victor Davis Hanson - The New Criterion
“Max Boot is an ideal guide to offer such a timely and, in some ways, reassuring history of guerilla warfare.... A considerable achievement that will ensure Invisible Armies remains a valuable scholarly research tool as well as popular history…. Boot is concerned with neither a morality tale nor politics, but in conducting a disinterested examination of a method of war that is still poorly understood, yet increasingly relevant to our own security…. Boot’s formal findings may startle…. [A] magisterial study.”
Mackubin Thomas Owens - National Review
“Boot is an elegant writer …. Invisible Armies is a timely book.”
Martin Walker - The Wilson Quarterly
“[B]rilliantly sums up the lessons of the centuries.”
John Gray - The New Statesman
“[C]ool and balanced.”
Chris Barsanti - Pop Matters
“In this grand survey of what one could term irregular warfare, spanning from the Jewish revolt against the Romans in 66 AD and earlier to the present day, Boot shows that a good reading of the historical record leaves little room for old stereotypes... Invisible Armies is a fast and furious read, knocked out with the casual erudition of a scholar who had studied and considered his subject to such an extent that he has lost the need to show off what he's learned.”
Jay Winik
“[A] rich and enthralling history of guerrilla warfare.”
Ihsan Taylor - New York Times Book Review
“Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of The Savage Wars of Peace, presents an astutely synthesized account of insurgency and counterinsurgency through the ages—from the Peloponnesian War to the post-Sept. 11 battlefields of today.””
Ihsan Taylor - New York Times
“Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of The Savage Wars of Peace, presents an astutely synthesized account of insurgency and counterinsurgency through the ages—from the Peloponnesian War to the post-Sept. 11 battlefields of today.”
Gerard DeGroot - The Washington Post
“A magisterial overview of insurgency and counterinsurgency, peppered with fascinating personalities. The author counts 442 insurgencies since the American Revolution, 25.2 percent of which were successful.”
Mark Mazover - New York Times Book Review
“A sweeping panorama that ranges over a vast terrain... thoughtful, smart, fluent, with an eye for the good story.”
Kirkus Reviews
Wall Street Journal contributor and Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Boot (War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History: 1500 to Today, 2006, etc.) follows the long, quirky history of insurgency, from Bar Kokhba to Bin Laden. The slippery definition of guerrillas (Spanish for "little wars") underscores the challenging task faced by the author. In this systematic though not always chronological study, Boot examines how guerrilla forces have always "employ[ed] stealth, surprise and rapid movement to harass, ambush, massacre, and terrorize their enemies while trying to minimize their own casualties through rapid retreat," tactics that have proven highly effective throughout history, especially as the fight moved into the realm of winning public opinion. The author divides his narrative into various epochs, beginning in Mesopotamia and continuing through the long-running struggle against the Roman Empire, warfare in China around the time of Sun Tzu, the centuries of battles between England and Scotland, the Haitian and Greek wars for independence, the struggle for Italian unification, the ascent of Mao Zedong and present-day battles with terrorist organizations. He also examines the many examples of guerrilla warfare in America, including the revolution against Britain, the "forest wars" of the eastern U.S., the battles of the Ku Klux Klan and civil rights agitators. The creation of the "guerrilla mystique" in the 1960s and '70s, thanks to Castro, Guevara and Arafat, emphasized radical ideology as the guerrilla motivation, paving the way for the next deadly wave by parties of God, jihadists and suicide bombers. An expansive nuts-and-bolts historical survey from a keen military mind.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780871403506
Publisher:
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
01/10/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
784
Sales rank:
112,551
File size:
18 MB
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What People are saying about this

John S. McCain
This is the definitive treatment of guerrilla warfare through the ages—a tour de force by a preeminent military historian who has advised generals, policymakers and political leaders on the subject.
Walter Isaacson
Fascinating. . . . Beginning with the barbarians at the gates of the Roman Empire, a wonderful and valuable historic narrative filled with colorful characters.

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