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Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare (Companion) Paperback – July 20, 2010

2.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“This paperback edition holds new chapters reviewing counterinsurgency methods, comparing works and perspectives of leading analysts in the U.S. and Canada in a must have reference for any military collection.” ―The Midwest Book Review (October 2010)

About the Author

Daniel Marston is a Senior Lecturer in War Studies at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. His book Phoenix from the Ashes won the Templer Medal Book Prize in 2003. In addition to teaching, Dr Marston is responsible for overseeing the counterinsurgency modules for Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and the Field Army. He has lectured widely on the principles and practices of counterinsurgency to units of the American, Australian, British and Canadian armed forces, as well as serving as a reviewer of and contributor to counterinsurgency doctrine for all of the above. In 2005 he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Carter Malkasian directs the Small Wars Program at the Center for Naval Analyses. Prior to this he was
assigned to the I Marine Expeditionary Force as an advisor on counterinsurgency. He deployed with I MEF to Iraq from February to May 2003, February 2004 to February 2005, and February 2006 to August 2006. His writings include several articles and two books, A History of Modern Wars of Attrition (Praeger) and The Korean War, 1950-1951 (Osprey). He completed his doctorate in the history of war at Oxford University.


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Product Details

  • Series: Companion
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (July 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849081646
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849081641
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a collection of essays on diverse campaigns and historical periods (is pre-WW1 actually "modern warfare"?) without a rigorously-enforced unifying theme, "Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare" is a bit uneven in scholarly content and quality - including the standard of objectivity. As the resulting work does not clearly articulate common principles or enable straightforward comparisons, it is not really suitable as either an introduction to the topic or as a significant, articulate, contribution to understanding the theory of COIN.

There are a number of positives for the reader already familiar with the topic, however - the essays on COIN campaigns that attract relatively little coverage (including Colombia, Dhofar and the Philippines) are interesting, and more perspectives on COIN campaigns in Central/South America or SE Asia conducted by indigenous governments may have been more valuable than some of the commentary on more familiar (or ongoing) campaigns by major external actors. While British practice in Malaya is often cited as "world's best practice" and evidence of British excellence in the field, the accounts of at best tactical success compromised by strategic irresolution and failure in Palestine (to 1948), Aden and Southern Iraq perhaps offer a more comprehensive picture. Also of interest is the temptation to some counterinsurgent forces of adopting the more heavy-handed yet apparently successful practices they were on the receiving end of previously (for example, the influence of German anti-resistance practices on French practice in Algeria, or the Israeli reliance on British legal instruments for West Bank operations).

For the reader with a professional or scholarly interest in COIN, there is some thought-provoking material in here, but it is not really suitable as a stand-alone introduction or a significant contribution to the "COIN canon" by itself.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a collection of essays about counterinsurgency campaigns during the last 110 years (so the "modern" part of the title can be a bit misleading). As with most collections of essays, the result is rather uneven and imbalanced. The list of the campaigns covered is not exhaustive, not even representative of the subject, since the book is focused on insurgencies faced by the major colonial and imperialist powers of the 20th century (9 out of the 14 essays have to do with the UK and US), ignoring several other more important ones. Some essays are really good (for example the piece on Vietnam), others lacking in scholastic value and a few seem to be less than objective. The main focus of most essays is on the military side of each campaign, with only a few delving into the wider political and ideological issues involved in each case. All in all, I could not recommend this book: too confusing for the beginner, not satisfying for the advanced student of (counter-)insurgency warfare.
A final note: As of today, 24/11/2011 the Amazon.com website lists in the table of contents of both the paperback and the hardcover edition a chapter about the Banana Wars. Such a chapter does not exist, at least in the paperback edition (which is the one I bought); instead there is a chapter about the Dhofar insurgency.
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Format: Paperback
I strongly disagree with the negative reviewers on this page. The chapters are almost all very competent and some are by the leading experts in their respective fields. Each chapter provides a clearly written and accessible introduction to a particular theme or case study. I have used it to teach two courses in military sociology, and have found it extremely useful for teaching American students topics which are pretty remote from their previous education, like the Rhodesian and Malayan wars. Although the book is something of a product of the current international boom in counter-insurgency literature, most of the authors are too smart to swallow the recent naive belief of many journalists and military theorists in the easy win-ability of guerrilla wars. While not scintillating, this is an extremely workmanlike and serviceable text.
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