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Tactics of the Crescent Moon: Militant Muslim Combat Methods Paperback – November 5, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Posterity Press(NC) (November 5, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963869574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963869579
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #367,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"[This Book] ... may help to turn the tide of this war.... [It] provides ... battlefield intelligence you can't get any other way." -- Leatherneck, December 2004

"[T]he insurgency's ... mid-level leaders ... [are] from al-Qaeda, the Lebanese Shiite ... Hezbollah, and ... Iran's Revolutionary Guards, said the author." -- Newhouse News Service, 12 November 2004

"[This book] ... is a comprehensive interpretation of Muslim extremists' tactics, theory, and thinking." -- North County Times (San Diego), 28 November 2004

"Have become addicted to ... Poole's savvy books on how to beat the enemy, written for ... grunt at the bayonet level (author of 'About Face')." -- Col. David H. Hackworth U.S. Army (Ret.), September 2004

"John Poole has ... captured the nature of the new threat and ... produced a required read for our troopers' packs (former head of CENTCOM)." -- Gen. Anthony C. Zinni USMC (Ret.), November 2004

"This book grasps Fourth Generation war against Islamic opponents far better than anything coming out of TRADOC or Quantico (father of 4th-Generation Warfare theory)." -- William S. Lind, September 2004

"Poole ... [says] bombarding cities ... almost always backfires, because embittered civilians provide more cover to guerrillas and terrorists." -- Atlantic Monthly, April 2005

"[F]ull of valuable pointers of how our high-tech military could outwit a low-tech enemy.... [S]hould be required reading for every serviceman or woman headed to Iraq or the Mideast." -- El Paso Times, 14 August 2005

"Whether you are a security officer in Washington, D.C., a first responder in London, or a soldier in Kabul, 'Tactics of the Crescent Moon' provides valuable knowledge." -- The Counter Terrorist, January 2009

"Poole's well-titled 'Tactics of the Crescent Moon' offers an absorbing ... analytic study of ... Islamic guerrilla tactics (former Head of History & Museums Division, HQMC)." -- B.Gen. Edwin H. Simmons USMC (Ret.), September 2004

"'Tactics of the Crescent Moon' comes none too soon for deployed U.S. military personnel.... It shows ... how Muslim militants fight at short range." -- Camp Lejeune Globe, 9 December 2004

"[D]etailed ... look at the combat techniques of Muslim fighters in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iran, and Chechnya.... [S]olid treatise on [the] enemy." -- Mil. Officers Assn. of America (MOAA) Magazine, Professional Reading List entry, 2008

"One of the most innovative and practical modern writers on military tactics.... For those who want to learn, 'Tactics of the Crescent Moon' is an invaluable resource." -- Washington Dispatch, November 2004

"Once again, John Poole proves himself to be on the leading edge of military writers and researchers with this book." --Maj.Gen. Ray L. Smith USMC (Ret.), 2004

"Posterity Press has published books on counterinsurgent tactics." --Chicago Tribune, 6 June 2005

"'U.S. forces have depended more on firepower than surprise,' Poole writes. 'They can no longer move unnoted along the ground.'" -- Savannah Morning News, 6 February 2005

"Book has 12 chapters,... 'How Islamic Guerrillas Are Trained' [is one of them]." --Newport News Daily Press, 12 December 2004

"John Poole has ... hit a home run.... [I]f we ... adapt our training and operations ..., we can still prevail (publisher emeritus of Presidio Press)." --Col. Robert V. Kane U.S. Army (Ret.), October 2004

"'Tactics of the Crescent Moon' helps us understand the threat of terrorism and what must be done to defeat it (former commander of 1st Marine Division)." --Maj.Gen. John H. Admire USMC (Ret.), November 2004

"To handle fourth-generation warfare at the tactical level,... recommend Poole and Ray Smith's October 2004 book, 'Tactics of the Crescent Moon'." --Inside the Pentagon, December 2004

"The depth of research is absolutely amazing which makes this dissertation a MUST READ.... This book is a revealing insight into the Muslim mind (frigate commander at the Battle of Leyte Gulf)." --Vice Adm. Thomas R. Sargent USCG (Ret.), 2004

From the Publisher

Tactics of the Crescent Moon shows—in detail—how Muslim militants fight at short range. From all available intelligence, it has extracted small-unit tactical trends. While the enemy’s combat methods may seem amateurish, they are quite effective in a 4th-generation-warfare environment. They have already forced the Israeli Army out of Southern Lebanon and the Soviet Army out of Afghanistan. To make matters worse, they may be improving. In the book’s foreword, Maj.Gen. Ray L. Smith USMC (Ret.) warns that the current crop of "irregulars have flexible and adaptable training techniques and tactical methods." This book should help U.S. forces to counter those methods.

Customer Reviews

There are lots of quotes lifted from others; their accuracy and relevance are not checked.
Lawrence B. Cahoon
Mr. Poole stresses the importance of training military forces in small unit tactics and decision making skills at the most junior levels of our services.
Wiley B. Howard Jr.
This book again, as all of John Poole's writing, calls out to the reader to use his best weapon - the brain.
Johan Ström

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Chris Pascale on November 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
During seven months in Falluja in 2005 I spent approximately 150 days in the city. The history alone in this book showed us just how much we may have been underestimating our enemies, and that if they followed their classical influences they could have done much more damage.

The history is priceless dating back to influences of the Samarai and how it came to bring the original Middle Eastern assassins, and how today's suicide bombers are like those in the past, only they have explosives instead of knives, and do not need as much skill.

John Poole had spent close to 30 years in the Marine Corps leading men as both a gunnery sergeant (when enlisted) and a Lt Colonel (when commissioned). He saw Vietnam first hand, and left feeling that he could have done more for the men he'd led. Although the officers that are in charge of teaching battle field skills are not fast to accept his methods the men on the ground who deal with the enemies in the streets of Iraqi cities know he is right.
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70 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Blacksheep on November 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is truly remarkable. In Tactics of the Crescent Moon, John Poole provides an incredibly insightful analysis of the Middle Eastern problem and our role in trying to resolve it. He explains extremely complicated issues with remarkable clarity, examining them from historical, political, cultural, military and moral perspectives. Despite the immense scope of the book, his key insights never get lost in the complexity of his subject matter. At the most fundamental level, John Poole provides detailed tactical descriptions of exactly how our Middle Eastern adversaries fight. To illuminate the big picture, he clearly shows how these tactical examples relate to the larger cultural and political issues. He goes on to propose solutions that can help American privates survive, help commanders make better decisions, help generals develop better strategies and even help politicians make better military policies. Most importantly, the book's profound morality offers insight on how to win what might be the most important battle of all, the battle for the moral high ground. We will not win this war on terrorism if we lose touch, even for a moment, with the great and noble values that make us who we are. John Poole reminds us that when Americans go to war we bring with us our honor, our compassion, our love of freedom, and our belief in the equality of all people. Our morality is our ultimate weapon.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jenkki Soturi on October 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
To begin this look at H. John Poole's latest work, let's outline what it's not -

- Not a Middle East History tome;

- Not a guide to recent terror operations;

- Not a tactical discussion; and

- Not an approach to military reform.

No, it is not any one of the above - it combines all these into a coherent, concise guide to anyone interested in understanding our military problems in the Middle East.

Section one discusses Muslim military campaigns from Gallipoli during WWI to Israel's expulsion from Lebanon by the Hezbollah. Section two examines the different Muslim militant groups. Section three provides one of the first coherent looks at Muslim militant groups' training and tactical techniques - and tactical approaches to defeating them.

Certain themes, appearing in other works by Poole, as well as in "Tactics...", compare and contrast U.S. military traits and capabilities to our Muslim opponents', to include the following:

"Us" - doctrinally driven, top-down training environment; versus

"them" - bottom-up, experimentally driven.

"Us" - squads depend on artillery fire to advance; versus

"them" - primary groups that can move unnoticed.

"Us" - occuppies ground; versus

"them" - consolidates regions.

"Us" - training instructors stick to standardized procedures; versus "them' - training techniques developed through experience.

"Us" - enhance control by standardizing tactical procedures; versus "them" - disseminating battle-tested techniques for refinement through practice.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bill Hensler VINE VOICE on November 27, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would highly encourage any person who is Battalion staff or lower to read this book. All Army and Marine personnel should read this book on the jet flying them to Iraq or Afghanistan. This book will give a typical soldier or marine a good snap shot of how the Eastern combat mind thinks. Also, unlike much propaganda to the contrary, the Islamic soldiers fight using Eastern techniques. There is more hand-to-hand fighting than in the past. American's just can't call in their massive fire support because the targets may not be easy to hit.

This book is great for privates, sergeants, lieutenants, and captains. I don't know if the advice will be taken if it's read at the level of battalion or above. That is where the "rubber no longer meets the road". The staff disconnect from the soldiers begins.

For all war fighters this book is a must read. All ROTC departments, Marine, and Army infantry should have this book as required reading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Through an inverted military career, H. John Poole has discovered a few things that more promotable people miss. After spending his first two years as a combat commander, he did his last seven as an enlisted tactics instructor. That allowed him to see why U.S. troops have always had so much trouble with counterinsurgency. Their tactical techniques are quite simply outmoded. Those techniques are so unlikely to surprise anyone as to be 'premachinegun' in format. This oversight on their commanders' part and how it can be corrected forms much of the framework of Poole's work.

Since retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1993, Poole has has traveled extensively in the Communist and Islamist worlds and written eight other U.S. tactics manual supplements. He has also conducted multiday training sessions for 39 U.S. battalions, 9 schools, and 7 special operations units. As most U.S. intelligence personnel know too little about the Eastern thought process and evolution of squad tactics, these supplements also provide currently deployed GIs with a rare glimpse into their enemy's mind.

Since 2000, Poole has gone to Mainland China (twice), its hermit neighbor, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, and Tanzania. Over the course of his lifetime, he has been to the following Caribbean nations: Bahamas, Turks & Cacos, Caymans, Haiti, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Martin, Antigua, Guadaloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad, and Aruba. He has lived in Mexico and Panama and revisited both places on several occasions. He has also been through every other Central American country except Belize. As for South America, he has traveled within the last year to Venezuela, and previously throughout Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.

Between early tours in the Marine Corps (from 1969 to 1971), Poole worked as a criminal investigator for the Illinois Bureau of Investigation (IBI). After attending the State Police Academy for several months in Springfield, he was assigned to the IBI's Chicago office.

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