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The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa: With E. D. Swinton's "The Defence of Duffer's Drift" [Kindle Edition]

Michael L. Burgoyne , Albert J. Marckwardt , John A. Nagl
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Following the invasion of Iraq in 2003 the U.S. military found itself in a battle with a lethal and adaptive insurgency, where the divisions between enemy and ally were ambiguous at best, and working with the local population was essential for day-to-day survival. From the lessons they learned during multiple tours of duty in Iraq, two American veterans have penned The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa, an instructional parable of counterinsurgency that addresses the myriad of difficulties associated with war in the postmodern era.

In this tactical primer based on the military classic The Defence of Duffer’s Drift, a young officer deployed for the first time in Iraq receives ground-level lessons about urban combat, communications technology, and high-powered weaponry in an environment where policy meets reality. Over the course of six dreams, the inexperienced soldier fights the same battle again and again, learning each time—the hard way—which false assumptions and misconceptions he needs to discard in order to help his men avoid being killed or captured. As the protagonist struggles with his missions and grapples with the consequences of his mistakes, he develops a keen understanding of counterinsurgency fundamentals and the potential pitfalls of working with the native population.

Accompanied here by the original novella that inspired it, The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa offers an invaluable resource for cadets and junior military leaders seeking to master counterinsurgency warfare—as well as general readers seeking a deeper understanding of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just as its predecessor has been a hallmark of military instruction, The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa will draw the road map for counterinsurgency in the postmodern world.





Editorial Reviews


“A timely, necessary tactical guide for junior officers today. . . . Majors Michael L. Burgoyne and Albert J. Marckwardt have written, arguably, the most practical book to come out of Iraq yet. . . . A significant contribution to soldiers present and future.”

(Army Magazine 2009-07-01)

“This is a terrific and illuminating piece of writing, one of the best things to come out of the Iraq war. It reads to me like a history of the conflict as it would be told by a smart American platoon leader. It should be in the rucksack of every soldier heading to Iraq, and also should be read by anyone who cares about this war. If you want to support our troops, buy it right now.”

(Thomas E. Ricks, author of FIASCO: The American Military Adventure in Iraq)

“When I was still a ROTC cadet or a very junior officer—I forget which—I read The Defence of Duffer’s Drift for the first time. It really did not make that much of an impression on me then. Now, around 40 years later and a lifetime of studying Counterinsurgency (COIN) and other Small Wars, I read it again in conjunction with Mike Burgoyne and Jim Marckwardt’s update of E. D. Swinton’s classic of British imperial warfare. These two (at the time) U.S. Army Captains have written a modern classic that not only ranks with its model but should be read alongside it, alternating chapters (dreams) from the one to the other. The experiences of 2LT Phil Connors and Lieutenant Backsight Forethought share the commonality of learning from tactical mistakes that have strategic consequences. While their situations are different and B.F.’s approach to his human terrain would have spelled disaster for Connors, the requirement that Swinton, Burgoyne, and Marckwardt impose on their protagonists—to understand their operational environment—remains the essence of the junior officer’s task in COIN and other Small Wars.”

(John T. Fishel, PhD, LTC (ret.), author of Uncomfortable Wars Revisited and The Savage Wars of Peace 2009-04-02)

“Counterinsurgency (COIN) warfare is a complex and fluid endeavor that requires a way of warfighting that is different from the conventional methodology with which most civilians and recruits are familiar. This book by Michael Burgoyne and Albert Marckwardt allows the reader to learn what is required of soldiers in a COIN environment, from security measures, to application of force, the treatment of non-combatants, the value of cultural understanding, to dealing with Clausewitz’s elements of friction and chance. The Defense of Jisr Al-Doreaa is a must read for any young soldier going in country or any civilian hoping to understand more thoroughly the challenges faced by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The work offers the opportunity to learn real lessons without having to experience them the hard way. Burgoyne and Marckwardt have done a marvelous job of making the lessons come alive and illustrating the need and value of informed, adaptive informed leadership.”

(Dr. Ed Coss, author of All for the King's Shilling: The British Soldier under Wellington, 1808-1814 2009-04-21)

“This captivating book brings to light the intricacies and imbroglios of counterinsurgency warfare for the tactical leader and soldiers on the ground. . . . Yet another fine addition to the lessons of counterinsurgency at a warfighter’s disposal, and should be read by all ranks and branches throughout the services.”

(Small Wars Journal)

“The new ‘Defense’ is a respectful and relevant update to ‘Defence’. . . . Their contemporary tale could enlighten anyone who thinks the Boer is a bore. While Swinton seems quaint, the officers are current and quick.”

(J. Ford Huffman Army Times 2009-06-08)

About the Author

Michael L. Burgoyne is a captain in the United States Army who was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and 2005. Currently, he is a student at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. Albert J. Marckwardt, also a captain in the United States Army, served in Iraq in 2005 and 2007. He now serves as aide de camp to the commanding general at Fort Stewart, GA. Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl is currently the President of the Center for a New American Security. He is the author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1806 KB
  • Print Length: 178 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (August 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002GHBT8C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,745 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A valuable tutorial for Army small unit leaders April 13, 2009
I had the pleasure to serve with both authors from 1999-2001 in the only heavy Cavalry Regiment still serving the U.S. Army.

As a young infantry soldier, I was tasked with reading "Defense of Duffer's Drift" by my company commander in Korea. I was thrilled to learn that Mike and Jim had written "Defense of Jisr Al-Doreaa" in the style of Duffer's Drift.

The reader must understand that the mission given to the platoon leader in the book is very different from the type of mission faced by the typical Cavalry platoon leader. It is through his critical thinking, compassion for the citizens of Jisr Al-Doreaa, and learning via a series of mistakes, that the young Lieutenant is able to successfully accomplish his mission. This book should be a part of the cirriculum of Army schools from the Primary Leadership Development Course to Branch Basic Officer's Courses.

Our country should be proud to have Mike and Jim wear it's uniform. I am proud to call Mike and Jim my friends.

Jeffrey Brown
Tiger MEDO (Ancient)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for Deploying Leaders April 26, 2009
This novella should be required reading for leaders deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan. Marckwardt and Burgoyne live up to their model in the classic penned by Swinton. Having been deployed to Iraq myself a few times, the lessons learned by LT Conners reflects the lessons I and countless other leaders learned in 8 years of war, all distilled into 70 pages. You can read the book on the plane and still have time for six dreams of your own and will have been an infinitely better counter-insurgent for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful update of "Duffers Drift" for the modern-day LT September 12, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In 'The Defense of Jisr-Al-Doreaa' the authors - relatively junior yet experienced company-grade officers of the US Army - have sought to update the Boer War vintage The Defence of Duffer's Drift to reflect modern military operations. While the modern version doesn't quite match the wit and flair of the original (which is included as an annex), this is a quick and easy read that closely follows the format of the original and imparts useful lessons/reminders for junior readers ranging from fundamental leader responsibilities to basic COIN conduct. This modern day 'Duffers Drift' has considerable potential as a training tool and catalyst for professional discussion for junior leaders, and will be of potential interest to any laymen interested in the theoretical and broad responsibilities of a junior officer in a COIN or security operation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book !!! September 21, 2012
Back in 2010, a friend of mine gave me, "The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa: With E. D. Swinton's "The Defence of Duffer's Drift," just before I headed off to Army Officer Candidate School (OCS). I used the book for the company book report at OCS although if you try and do the same, you'll have to first get it approved by the cadre. I enjoyed reading the book and it is the kind of book I would have read on my own. A lot of qualities covered by the book apply to both the Military and Civilian side. The book touches on a lot of things, including but certainly not limited to, leadership, respect, responsibility and attention to detail. The sooner you realize how ignorant you really are, the safer the lives of your men will be...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Officer Candidates March 9, 2011
By Buck
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this for preparation in pursuing a career as a military officer. The modern retelling of The Defense of Duffer's Drift really opened my eyes to some of the problems a platoon officer faces in warfare, especially in current conflicts. I learned a great deal from this book, some of which might save not only my life, but perhaps the lives of men that may be under my command.

If you are serious about becoming a military officer, especially one geared towards an infantry role, give this book a read, or several reads!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The authors provide a good framework for the duties of a Brigade Commander, Battalion Commander, Company Commander AND a Platoon Leader. My expectation is that the Platoon Leader's chain-of-command would do their jobs so that the pointy end of the stick isn't expected to do the work of everyone above him. Our young soldiers and officers are incredibly bright, innovative and courageous. Making it appear that these junior officers and NCOs are the only ones on the battlefield is a disservice to every level of command.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good adaption of an old classic July 7, 2011
By Bents
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Author has done a sound job of adapting the orginal to a modern (though not necessarily different) conflict. The author covers off on considerations for operating within an asymmetric environment and presents it in a style that is easy to understand.

As an Army Officer I would recommend this book to any young LT/NCO about to deploy to Afghanistan or similar theatre.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Real Examples of COIN Dilemma
Ordered this book not knowing much about it other than it was COIN based. Finishing up my bachelor's degree and considering a masters in International Relations, my focus has been... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jim Marye
5.0 out of 5 stars READ AND LEARN
READ THIS: Anytime you think you know it all ... which I have been guilty of on occasion ..... this will definitely change your mind. It is well worth reading. Read more
Published 18 months ago by DOLORES
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Updating of a Classic Scenario
THE DEFENCE OF DUFFER'S DRIFT has now inspired a third tale (that I'm aware of) which is included as the first half of this two-part volume. DUFFER'S DRIFT features Lieutenant N. Read more
Published on February 8, 2013 by Fred Kiesche
4.0 out of 5 stars Usefull
For those looking for a modern version of The Defence of Duffers Drift, or the Defence of Hill 187 this is it. Read more
Published on January 17, 2013 by Rancher
1.0 out of 5 stars This was a confidence trick!
I bought this electronic stuff thinking that I was buying Swinton's Boer War story - which should have cost nothing, I imagine! Read more
Published on January 10, 2013 by Mr. William J. Walter
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading for voters.....
As a civilian with a less than firm grasp on the realities and practical aspects of warfare I found this book fascinating and informative. Read more
Published on September 4, 2009 by Michael H. Jones
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