"In this brilliant volume master historian Douglas Porch shatters the myth of contemporary counterinsurgency by exposing its raw historical roots. American counterinsurgents often preach moralistic sounding bromides like 'protect and serve the local populations'. Porch deconstructs the mythical universe of counterinsurgency and lays bare the historical truth that they are ultimately wars of death, destruction, and often brute conquest."
Colonel Gian Gentile, United States Military Academy, West Point
"Douglas Porch has written one of the single most outstanding reviews and critiques of the modern theory of counter-insurgency. It fully exposes the myths and legends behind a fundamentally flawed and pernicious approach to conceptualising human conflict. This book should be essential reading for military students, scholars and laymen alike."
Alex Marshall, The Scottish Centre for War Studies, University of Glasgow
"... [an] illuminating and feisty book."
The Chronicle Review
"This is a rich, well supported study of a tendentious topic ... it pulls together material on a remarkable variety of cases to make a powerful point that is valuable in the undergraduate and graduate classroom as well as for broader practitioner and public audiences."
Jacqueline L. Hazelton, H-Diplo
Douglas Porch's sweeping history of counterinsurgency campaigns, ranging from nineteenth-century colonial conquests to General Petraeus' 'Surge' in Iraq, challenges the contemporary mythologising of counterinsurgency as a humane way of war. The reality, he reveals, is that 'hearts and minds' has never been a recipe for lasting stability.