- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (April 15, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199754098
- ISBN-13: 978-0199754090
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.1 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 101 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One Reprint Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Kilcullen, adviser on counterinsurgency to General Petraeus, defines accidental guerrillas as locals fighting primarily because outsiders (often Westerners) are intruding into their physical and cultural space, but they may also be galvanized by high-tech, internationally oriented ideologues. This interaction of two kinds of nonstate opponents renders both traditional counterterrorism and counterinsurgency inadequate. Kilcullen uses Afghanistan and Iraq as primary case studies for a new kind of war that relies on an ability to provoke Western powers into protracted, exhausting, expensive interventions. Kilcullen presents two possible responses. Strategic disruption keeps existing terrorists off balance. Military assistance attacks the conditions producing accidental guerrillas. That may mean full-spectrum assistance, involving an entire society. Moving beyond a simplistic war on terror depends on rebalancing military and nonmilitary elements of power. It calls for a long view, a measured approach and a need to distinguish among various enemies. It requires limiting the role of government agencies in favor of an indirect approach emphasizing local interests and local relationships. Not least, Kilcullen says, breaking the terrorist cycle requires establishing patterns of virtue, moral authority, and credibility in the larger society. Kilcullen's compelling argument merits wide attention. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"For a wider perspective on the lessons drawn over the past seven years of the 'war on terror', the reader can do no better than turn to Mr. Kilcullen's excellent book. The Accidental Guerrilla has an anthropologist's sense of social dynamics and a reporter's eye for telling detail. If T.E. Lawrence evoked the means of waging irregular warfare in his 1926 classic, 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom', Mr. Kilcullen describes the practitioner's art of combating insurgents."--The Economist
"This book should be required reading for every American soldier, as well as anyone involved in the war on terror. Kilcullen's central concept of the 'accidental guerrilla' is brilliant and the policy prescriptions that flow from it important. And that's not all; the book has many more insights drawn from various battlefields."--Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek
"Kilcullen's influence on how the U.S. military thought about counterinsurgency campaigning cannot be overstated."--Thomas E. Ricks, author of The Gamble and Fiasco
"There are some standard texts on [counterinsurgency]. The Accidental Guerrilla is sure to become one."--The Wall Street Journal
"This book is essential.... Kilcullen skillfully interprets the future of counterinsurgency, the proper use of military force and what we must learn from our losses and mistakes. After reading The Accidental Guerrilla, one is left to wonder why the Pentagon did not listen to his sage advice back in 2003."--New York Times Book Review
"Kilcullen's compelling argument merits wide attention."--Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"David Kilcullen, man of action and man of ideas, has produced a rare-and indispensible-guide to understanding and winning the so-called "war on terror" by combining ideas of military theory with those of culture and tradition among tribal peoples."--Professor Akbar Ahmed, Chair of Islamic Studies, American University, Washington DC
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Top customer reviews
I have read Kilcullen's book Counter-Insurgemcy. It was also great, but this one has give me a different perspective on Counter-insurgency and the Global War on Terror. He makes some important points and also illuminates the problems with the U.S.'s strategy in the Global War on Terror. He differentiates domestic groups with grievance against their government and the global radical religious movement, which is seen as a global insurgency. The radical religious movements will exploit situations where local groups contest government rule. According to Kilcullen, the US has made a mistake in treating the local verus the global insurgents as the same movement. Kilcullin lays out the mistakes that have been made in the GWT and offers practical guidance to policymakers.
in the insurgent world for much of his life. His views are not met with agreement in all quarters but they deserve serious consideration especially given the results of the attempts of the West and particularly the US in preventing non state conflicts or successfully solving them when they occur.
Our lack of understanding of the people we are engaged with has in many ways caused more harm than the original problem, if allowed to play out would have. Prior to the last several years our political and military people on average have had no real world back ground in the societies we are dealing with. The author has laid out several paths to bring these conflicts into perspective if not our control.
I agree with Fareed Zakaria that everyone who has anything to do with combating violent extremism should read this book. The author's analysis is insightful, thorough and honest. While not avoiding analysis of past mistakes he is very tactful and non-accusatory in his wording. I suppose that is due, at least in part, to his ongoing relationship with and employment by our government in counter-insurgency study and advice. Or perhaps just good manners. But while he is careful not to point fingers he pulls no punches about what has been and is being done wrong.
This book ranks with David Galula's "Counterinsurgency Warfare" and extends his principles into today's world. I cannot more strongly recommend this book.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a useful lens through which to see our current (and ongoing) wars.