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War of the Running Dogs: Malaya, 1948-1960 Paperback – April 1, 2007
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The War of the Running Dogs is now little-known in the United States, in large part because here it was eclipsed first by the Korean War and then by Indochina. It should be better known. Among the Communist/nationalist insurrections of South-east Asia of the 1940's and `50s, the Malayan one arguably had the greatest strategic significance, given the geopolitical importance of Singapore. Second, unlike what happened in Indochina, in Malaya the Communist challenge to Western democracy was repelled. And third, in doing so, the British developed and employed principles of counter-insurgency that contrasted with how the French and Americans proceeded in Viet Nam.
In THE WAR OF THE RUNNING DOGS, British journalist Noel Barber tells the story of the Malayan insurrection in a lively, moderately journalistic fashion. On a few occasions he underscores the contrasts between Malaya and Viet Nam, insinuating that the British were smarter than were the Americans (but without ever really discussing what the differences between the two situations might have been).
The Communist insurgency was a guerilla war, waged by at most 5- to 8,000 "liberation" troops operating out of jungle camps.Read more ›
The book does a wonderful job on breaking down all the players in this war, what they did and why. He also looks at the different ethnicities and their motivations for supporting the Communists or British. I have to disagree with the other reviewer this book was a wonderful read and not boring at all, even for a history book. I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen next (i.e. it was addictive to read).
On the negatives, this book was written in the '60's (so a little dated), and it is written with an nostalgia tone of the old imperial Britain and its greatness. It ruffled my feathers a bit in the begging but later he tries to correct this tone and for the time period the author really goes out of his to make a case for the other people that were living in this country at the time, their plight and living standards.
Overall this book does a wonderful job showing why the counterinsurgency in Malaysia was a success. It is unfortunate the circumstances that brought this book back into circulation, but it is a forgotten work that deserves to be recognized for its contribution to the counterinsurgency, insurgency, terrorism and Malayan history. A very good read.
of the absolute best on counterinsurgency,
ever, is a profound explication of one of the
historical truths of guerrilla war:
In guerrilla war, political superiority defeats military superiority.
The Chinese communists never could have prevailed--the Brits forged
a strategy for victory in guerrilla war in Malaya from day one
that reinforced the already-formidable political power which the
Malay Muslims had from jumpstreet.
The many bold, pragmatic lessons won in blood in Malaya from 1948-1960
are laid out left, right and center in this great book, which should
be required reading at West Point, the US Naval Academy, the US Air Force
Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, and at every war college.
It is also just a damn fine read, and would be a welcome addition to any
History Department and English Department, worldwide. Bravo, Noel Barber.
long life and blue skies,
Counterterrorism Specialist and Author
Logar, Afghanistan 18 April, 2009
IN EARLY 1942 THE JAPANESE INVADED MALAYA,WHICH WAS NOT A FREE COUNTRY BECAUSE IT WAS UNDER THE
BRITISH YOKE NO MATTER ALL THE BENEFITS THR BRITISH RULE BROUGHT TO MALAYA.
THE BRITISH TO FIGHT THE JAPANESE ALLIED THEMSELVES WITH THE MALAYAN REDS MOSTLY OF CHINESE ORIGIN.
THE MPAJA (MALASIAN PEOPLE ANTIJAPANESE ARMY) WAS COMANDED BY CHIN PENG.
IT WAS A COSTLY MISTAKE , AFTER 1945 WHEN JAPAN SURRENDERED, THE BRITISH TOOK CONTROL , HOWEVER THEY
CREATED AN ENEMY INFINITELY MUCH WORSE.THRER YEARS LATER THE REDS STARTED A BLOODY WAR THAT
LASTED TWELVE YEARS;FORTUNATELY FOR MALAYA AND THE FREE WORLD THEY WERE DEFEATED BY THE
COMBINED EFFORT OF BOTH BRITAIN AND THE MALAYS OF THE 3 MAIN ETHNICS GROUPS (MALAY.HINDU AND CHINESE).
THIS BOOK GIVES A VERY DETAILED EXPLANATION OF ALL THE ACTORS INVOLVED IN THIS CONFLICT.
IN 1957 MALAYA OBTAINED INDEPENDENCE ON BRITISH TERMS NOT ON COMMUNIST TERMS.
STILL THE BRITISH BEAR PART OF THE RESPONSABILITY FOR THIS BLOODY CONFLICT,BECAUSE OF THE MISGUIDED SUPPORT OF THE
REDS OF THE MPAJA FROM 1942 TO 1945,SOME OF THE MPAJA LEADERS WENT TO LONDON TO PARTICIPATE IN THE VICTORY,OR SHOULD I SAY THE PHYRRIC VICTORY DAY.
THE MAIN LESSON FROM THIS WAR IS THAT THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS NOT ALWAYS MY FRIEND BUT IT COULD BE A MUCH WORSE ENEMY.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well researched, great in depth analysis of the most important people who managed the war and good explanations of the political as well as military tactics.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a must read for travelers to Malaysia who want to be more than tourists. Well written and well paced. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Worth Weller
Superbly written,and an excellent account of the Malaysian emergency.Published 12 months ago by pamela clark
Absolutely excellent gripping account of this now overlooked war. I learned a great deal about the different factions in Malaya.Published 17 months ago by Thelma Wheatley Orchard
Noel Barber is brilliant. Each of his books is an enlightening adventure into little known historical periods (read
The Sultans also). Read more
I was in Malaya as a conscripted National Serviceman in a British army infantry regiment in 1955 on jungle ops and find this book very factual in the political execution and... Read morePublished on July 23, 2014 by Richard scott
Barber's book is a terrific history of a little known jungle war. Well written with great detail, you can get a visual feel of the drama by viewing the excellent 1950s British... Read morePublished on June 27, 2014 by Dr. Morbius
Well written for a historical book. The British were a lot smarter than the French and American governments. It offers a new look at this subject.Published on February 14, 2014 by bratwurst