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On Guerrilla Warfare Paperback – September 21, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Chinese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 2 Sub edition (September 21, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252068920
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252068928
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #871,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By C. Minnick on March 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this in high school in the late 1980s and asked myself, "Why wasn't this mandatory reading at West Point in the late 1950s and 1960s?"
This book, in conjunction with Ho Chi Min's writings on the use of guerrilla warfare, is the absolute basic understanding of the Viet Nam War from back BEFORE the French Foreign Legion were fighting for their colony. EVERYTHING, and I do mean EVERYTHING, in this book is used in the fight against the French right up to Dien Bien Phue, and continued up until the fall of Saigon in 1975. EVERYTHING. Why did America lose the Viet Nam War? Read this. How could America have been so wrong to back Ho Chi Min, Chaing Chi Chek, and Kim Il Song, in the Second World War? Read this.
You will say, "Wow" many times throughout the book, and in the end you will ask, "When was this first printed? How the bleep could we have been so wrong?"
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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Bibliophile on June 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
I think Mao intended this essay to be another one of his theoretical Marxist works (Mao thought of himself as a first-class Marxist theoretician). But without question it also served as an instruction manual for his ragtag Red Army while fighting among the tortuous terrain in northwestern China, in part against Japan, in part against Chiang. Considering his success as a practitioner of guerrilla warfare, one would have to be insane to ignore this work.

I'm struck how short that chapter is on guerrilla wars in history. Mao was widely read in Chinese and world history and it would have been his style to display this knowledge in a work like this had he chosen to do so.

Perhaps Americans should not think of themselves as only at the receiving end of guerrillas. Washington learned this kind of fighting during the French and Indian Wars, and he put some of this experience to good use against a British army better armed, better trained, and greater in numbers than the Continentals. He exploited geography, made surprise raids, used mobility and patience to wear out the red coats - all hallmarks of guerrillas. The all-important Battle of Trenton was such kind of unconventional warfare: an Indian raid, essentially. But it sure got results. Regular or conventional battles like Yorktown only came later, when British impatience was at the breaking point. As Franklin had predicted, the British could and did occupy all the towns - including Philadelphia, New York, and Charleston - up and down the eastern coast but they could not hold onto them. (The comparison with Iraq is irresistible. The redcoats never numbered more than 30,000 or so men, fighting among 2.5 million American civilians.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on April 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
"On Guerrilla Warfare," by Mao Tse-Tung, has been translated into English by Samuel B. Griffith II. Griffith also provides a substantial introduction to the text. The book is written in the context of China's guerrilla war against Japanese occupiers; this conflict is mentioned often by Mao. In this book Mao discusses the differences between guerrilla and "orthodox" military forces, as well as how such forces can work together for a common goal. Other topics covered include propaganda and political concerns, the formation of guerrilla units, the qualities of a good guerrilla officer, discipline in a guerrilla army, and guerrilla bases.

Mao stresses the importance of speed, surprise, and initiative in guerrilla war. Among the most interesting sections of the book is a code of conduct for guerrilla fighters. Most of the book is fairly dry and matter-of-fact, but there are welcome flashes of passion, poetic imagery, and global vision that make this more than just a textbook. Translator Griffith notes that Mao's text was first published in 1937. Despite the passage of time, I believe that this is still a relevant text, and I recommend it in particular to all professional military personnel.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Mao Tse Tung's Book on Guerilla Warfare is basically a condensed version of Sun Tzu's Art of war. Most of the text and even layout follow that of Samual Griffith's translation of Sun Tzu's Art of war.

For those not familar with Sun Tzu's Art of war it is a treatise on warfare and the things that effect it. Considered a classic along with Jomini and Clauswitz, With that said, Is Mao Tse Tung's Book on Guerilla Warfare worth getting? In my opinion, yes. Why? Both Sun Tzu's and Mao Tse Tung's book on warfare are directly translated into from the original Chinese. As a result the translator often take some liberties with the translation. As such it is good to have a few different copies to compare so that your own interpretation can come about
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Translated in 1940 and reprinted in 1961, Stanley B. Griffiths work is timeless, relevant, and is a must read for those seriously exploring the Western use of joint, interagency, and multinational force to counter guerrilla activities in Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Colombia, etc.. Griffith's 1961 introduction alone is worth the price of the book. His recommendation to study guerrilla warfare in 1940 and again in 1961 was on the mark. He cites examples of successful guerrilla operations (Frances Marion; the Spanish against Napoleon; the Russians against Napoleon; the Russians against Hitler; the Vietnamese against the French, Castro in Cuba) and the value of these historical examples to further study. He cites ten key factors worth comparing to determine which side has the advantage in a guerrilla war. His discussion of the three phases of guerrilla war, and the warning to stop them before they they advance beyond phase one is sage advice. His recommendation to locate, isolate, and eradicate is a simple pattern for developing an effective counterguerrilla strategy. He does warn that countering guerrilla operations is not solely a military activity--the political arm is the key. Perhaps it is his conclusion that historically, there has not been a counter to revolutionary guerrilla warfare which gives one pause when addressing world events in 2003. Griffith comes to these conclusions by laying out Mao's thought in simple, clear writing.Read more ›
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