View Full Version : Novels relevant to Small Wars and Unconventional Warfare

01-04-2015, 09:31 PM
Do you have favorite war novels that primarily concern guerrilla warfare, insurgency, or other brands of unconventional or irregular warfare? I'm compiling a list, and will share it when I'm done. It will include C. S. Forrester's RIFLEMAN DODD and THE GUN, Kipling's KIM, Larteguy's THE CENTURION, Boyd's THE ICE CREAM WAR, Mo's THE REDUNDANCY OF COURAGE, Ferrari's WHERE I LEFT MY SOUL and more. I'd be very interested in novels from Africa, Asia, and the Balkans that are available in English. NOTE: I am only interested in fiction in print: short stories, plays, novels, etc. Not memoirs, unless they're fictionalized (insert a dozen jokes about how all memoirs are fiction here!).

Also, the latest FM on COIN in the US (2014) does not include an annotated bibliography (which the 2006 did). Would love to know why it was removed, if folks know.


01-04-2015, 10:52 PM

There are a number of threads on reading lists, none on fiction itself. There is a useful SWJ article by Erich Summers 'On Teaching the COIN Canon and Speaking Truth through Fiction' from August 2011:http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/on-teaching-the-coin-canon-and-speaking-truth-through-fiction

An older 2009 thread is 'Why Is The SWJ Recommended Reading List Devoid of Fiction?':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=7339

After a quick thought I'd include Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series, plus 'Redcoat' set in that spate we had and the John Masters trilogy, with a Ghurka regiment from pre-war, through Burma and to partition.

01-05-2015, 02:27 AM
Thanks for the links. Much appreciated.


01-05-2015, 03:01 AM
"The Last Centurion" by John Ringo
"Ghost" and sequels by John Ringo
"A Desert Called Peace" and sequels by Tom Kratman
"Countdown: M Day" and sequels by Tom Kratman
"1632" and sequels by Eric Flint

01-05-2015, 10:02 AM
One could ad the "Falkenberg" series by Pournelle. SF but with very conventional set ups.

Roy Batty
03-27-2015, 07:25 AM
Jean Larteguy's novels The Centurions and The Praetorians. Excellent reads about the French fighting the Algerian War of Independence. The books are a little rare, so if you see them, grab them up. They're not only excellent fiction, but collectible as well.

Roy Batty
03-28-2015, 12:04 AM
Oops...my bad. I see the OP had already mentioned The Centurions.

One more to add (though it hardly concerns a small war) is Norman Mailer's World War II classic The Naked and The Dead. An great American novelist's existential examination of certain futilities of combat on a small pacific island held by the Japanese, who loved to fight in unconventional ways.

07-13-2015, 09:22 AM
People might be interested to know that The Centurions (http://www.amazon.com/The-Centurions-Jean-Larteguy/dp/0143107445) is back in print since May 2015 with a forward by Robert D. Kaplan. Already for sale on Amazon.

07-21-2015, 02:04 AM
There's a couple of David Drake's Hammers Slammers series that deal with insurgencies and low-intensity warfare.

09-20-2015, 11:36 PM
Make the Poor Boys Dance by G.F. Borden

The Knife by Ross Ritchell

02-28-2016, 02:26 AM
Night Work and also Long Range Patrol, both by Dennis Foley
Sniper Jackson by Frederick Sleath

01-06-2017, 09:31 PM
Like it or not, the Devil's Guard fits.

01-12-2017, 09:23 PM
Like it or not, the Devil's Guard fits.

Funny you mention that...


03-12-2017, 06:49 PM
Not a war novel, but I always appreciated the way in which Dune seamlessly married political conflict, religious fanaticism, economics, and insurgency together.

12-17-2017, 09:24 AM
One I like a lot is Barrett Tillman's 'Warriors' (https://www.amazon.com/Warriors-Barrett-Tillman/dp/0553348817/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1513502439&sr=1-1&keywords=warriors+barrett+tillman).