War of the Flea: The Classic Study of Guerrilla Warfare

Overview

“The guerrilla fights the war of the flea, and his military enemy suffers the dog’s disadvantages: too much to defend; too small, ubiquitous, and agile an enemy to come to grips with.” With these words, Robert Taber began a revolution in conventional military thought that has dramatically impacted the way armed conflicts have been fought since the book’s initial publication in 1965. Whether ideological, nationalistic, or religious, all guerrilla insurgencies use similar tactics to advance their cause. War of the ...
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Overview

“The guerrilla fights the war of the flea, and his military enemy suffers the dog’s disadvantages: too much to defend; too small, ubiquitous, and agile an enemy to come to grips with.” With these words, Robert Taber began a revolution in conventional military thought that has dramatically impacted the way armed conflicts have been fought since the book’s initial publication in 1965. Whether ideological, nationalistic, or religious, all guerrilla insurgencies use similar tactics to advance their cause. War of the Flea's timeless analysis of the guerrilla fighter’s means and methods provides a fundamental resource for any reader seeking to understand this distinct form of warfare and the challenge it continues to present to today’s armed forces in the Philippines, Colombia, and elsewhere.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[The author has] the odd accolade of being the only American among Castro's defending forces at Playa Giron....He makes an excellent case, a sort of modern Sun Tzu who finds romance in the abstract guerilla formula of juggling time, space, and will."

"Very interesting on the popular level, and a good example of political journalism..."

"Has new relevance as terrorist organizations inspired by new revolutionaries dominate the international security landscape. . . . Reading The War of the Flea is an excellent beginning to understanding the current problems facing the military."

Booknews
In the late 1950s, American investigative journalist Robert Taber marched from Sierra Maestra to Havana with revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. In this reprint of his 1965 text, Taber analyzes the means and methods of the guerilla fighter, likening him to an agile flea, and comparing his enemy to a dog with too much territory to defend. The volume features a new foreword by Bard E. O'Neill (insurgency and revolution studies, National War College). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574885552
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/31/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 214
  • Sales rank: 440,677
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Taber traveled to Cuba in the late 1950s as a CBS investigative journalist to cover the country’s burgeoning revolutionary movement. He became an eyewitness to history as he marched from the Sierra Maestra to Havana with the ragtag revolutionaries, led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, who forced Batista to flee the country. Taber also wrote M-26: Biography of a Revolution.
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Table of Contents

I1
The wind of revolution
Popular will as the key to strategy
The confrontation of the haves and the have-nots
Fallacies of counterinsurgency
Guerrilla war as an extension of politics
Cracks in the armor of the modern state
II17
The war of the flea
Political and military objectives
Creating "the climate of collapse."
Organization of insurgent forces
Guevara on guerrilla war: the base
III25
Inception and evolution of an insurgency
Transition to civil war
Alternative solutions
The Cuban example
IV39
Protracted war
Popular forces versus regular armies
The guerrilla as missionary
Mao Tse-tung on the war of the flea
The lessons of China
V57
Colonial war and the French experience
Strategy and tactics of Vo Nguyen Giap
How the Vietminh won in Indochina
VI75
The political character of the Second Indochina War
The American role
Expansion of the war
The outlook
VII97
Wars of national liberation and their cost
The Irish "troubles" and the role of the Black and Tans
Terrorism in Israel
Rebellion in North Africa
VIII117
General Grivas on guerrilla war in Cyprus
The political uses of terrorism
Errors of British strategy
IX135
Failures in the war of the flea
Magsaysay and the Huks in the Philippines
The price of British victory in Malaya
Why the Communists lost in Greece
X149
Sun Tzu on The Art of War
Principles of guerrilla strategy and tactics
Terrain as a determining factor
Guerrilla war in urban areas
The character of the guerrilla
XI173
Guerrilla movements in the Third World
The revolutionary base
Outlook for the United States
Proposals for a new American foreign policy in Latin America
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