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Required Reading

Jan 21, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 18 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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You may remember contributing editor Max Boot’s article a couple of issues back on the fascinating career of Orde Wingate, the British officer who commanded forces fighting on the side of liberty in Israel, Ethiopia, and Burma. The book from which it was drawn, Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present, has now been published. The Scrapbook congratulates Boot​—​and highly recommends the new volume to our readers.

Required Reading

From the origins of insurgency in Mesopotamia, up through the American counterinsurgency that bloodied al Qaeda in those same lands, Boot documents the campaigns of low--intensity conflict and describes the men who led them​—​on both sides. While there are plenty of heroes, from Alexander the Great to Garibaldi, and from Bar Kokhba to Yonatan Netan-yahu, not all of the characters from this virtually encyclopedic account of the history of insurgencies, guerrilla warfare, and terrorism are, like -Wingate, on the side of the angels.

As Boot explains in his prologue, his research included some harrowing travel to Colombia, the Philippines, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan, where he visited frequently to confer with U.S. military commanders. He argues that low-intensity conflicts are the historical norm and will become more prevalent again in the future. And there’s no better guide to both the past and the future than Invisible Armies, the tour de force of a scholar as well as a man who’s seen American adversaries and soldiers at work up close

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