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How to Stage a Military Coup: From Planning to Execution Paperback – March 26, 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Book Description

The coup remains the most common form of power change throughout the world. The government being targeted by a coup attempt could be democratically elected, a dictatorship, or a junta put in place by the previous month's coup. The motivation is usually a combination of power, greed and exploitation disguised as patriotism. How to Stage a Military Coup explores these violent and often bloody appropriations of authority, alongside the political, military, and social conditions out of which they arise. Taking into account factors such as timing, media control, popular support, and government organizational structure, and by drawing on examples of coups worldwide, both failed and successful, the authors reveal exactly what it takes to carry out a successful government take-over.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ken Connor was the longest-serving member of the elite British Special Air Service (SAS). His book, Ghost Force: The Secret History of the SAS, was published to acclaim in Britain. He lives in Britain.


David Hebditch is a writer and documentary filmmaker. He lives in Britain.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (March 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602393753
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602393752
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Abraham Gubler on December 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The new book by David Hebditch and Ken Connor, author of "Ghost Force: The Secret History of the SAS", appears to be a guide to planning and executing a military coup...

Clearly from the title alone this is NOT the sort of book that should be required reading for defence force personnel.

But Hebditch and Connor's book is far from an endorsement of illegal activities by defence forces but rather a highly informative guide to the evil practice of coups written in a surprisingly entertaining format.

Taking advantage of a fictional narrative introducing each chapter, about what appears to be British special forces launching a coup in the UK, and Hebditch's ironic writing style the reader is treated to the equivalent of a university education on coups without hardly noticing it.

Throughout the book Ken Connor makes many observations from his own personal experience as the longest serving member of the British Special Air Service, 23 years that put him up close with the realities of military coups.

The book explores the history of the modern coup, there were 14 coups or coup attempts in 2004 alone, and looks at why and how they happen.

Its does so by referring to the human experience of these coups, not high-blown academic interpretation, and still retains a certain dark humour.

Ultimately the book is a work of military history and illuminates this rarely talked about unsavoury element of the military experience that is fortunately outside the modern history of English speaking nations.

However with many soldiers serving overseas from western countries understanding military coups is vital not only to protect our own force but also to promote respect for legitimate government in our allied forces.
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Format: Hardcover
I was looking for a bit more of an academic study to complement Edward Luttwak's Coup D'Etat; what I got was an engaging but light read on coups written with a sort of jovial cynicism that may be entertaining to some some readers. For example, there is sample speech for the new head of state (or coup PR man) to deliver, complete with helpfully labeled blanks such as "INSERT NAME OF HATED FOREIGN STATE" or "INSERT NAME OF FOUNDING FATHER OF NATION/POPULAR HERO"; or the reference to "political science" being "an oxymoron in the same league as "military intelligence." One of the authors of the book is Ken Connor, who, according to the dust jacket, is the longest serving member of Britain's SAS. If that is the case, surely there were times in his career where he benefitted from good intelligence, we would hope at least as often as he suffered from a lack of it. But regardless, it's hard to take the book seriously when it goes for the cheap laugh with an old joke. Given the recent coup in Thailand, I'm still looking for something that better explains the complex interplay between the state, its citizens, and the military, whose own relations to the first two entities is likely in most countries to be far different from that which we take for granted in the US.
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Format: Paperback
When I initially borrowed this book from my friend, I had high expectations for the prospective knowledge I would attain during my subsequent 8 hours of reading. As I sat down with pen and notebook in hand to summarize the important aspects of each chapter, I grew increasingly despondent and disconsolate with the message the authors conveyed.

Firstly, this book is not entirely a guide on how to stage a military coup, which is what the cover untruthfully displays. It is partially a fictional story, partially an historical survey of military coups, and finally (the desired information I sought) a guide to staging military coups using some scholarly discourse and innovative ideas. Unfortunately, the latter steadily declines as the book progresses and the historical survey gains a severely biased political undertone.

It becomes increasingly evident at least one of the authors is a staunch opponent of 20th century US and/or UK foreign policy. As this negative mood surfaces between the lines, the book focuses less on the coups and more on the negative qualities of its participants. For instance, and I quote, "In the 1970 presidential elections, the voters responded to this scary stuff by electing Allende by a majority that George W. Bush would have died for."

Another example being: "And travel agents describe the islands as one of the most beautiful places on earth. So, what was the problem? Well, it seems that the United States determined that the Seychelles lay in an area of strategic interest. Hold on, you say, wasn't that in the Pacific? Actually, it was anywhere America wanted it to be."

In all honesty, spare us your personal political annotations; they are irrelevant.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I probably should have browsed other comments before clicking the buy button for this book. Technically I found this book to be banal and the witty style falls flat on its face. Disappointing and I almost certainly will be passing this book along to clear up shelf space.
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