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Thread: Small Wars: a wide reading list

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    Default Small Wars: a wide reading list

    Moderator's Note

    Today I merged four other threads into this thread, which is one of the first ever threads (OK 75th). There are a number of similar reading lists (my search term today) which are more specialist: amphibious operations, advisers and the elusive General Mattis reading list. I am sure other lists exist, e.g. Searching for first hand accounts of UW:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=4613 (ends).


    What are you reading in regards to Small Wars? It doesn't necessarily have to be a narrow list focusing on Small Wars either, feel free to list anything that might bring more applicable knowledge to warfare.

    The Elaine Grossman book list is good a place to start.

    Some of the following authors are mentioned in the above list.

    Ralph Peter's essays and books.

    Chapter Ten in Colin Gray's 'Modern Strategy' covers Small War theory and practice.

    Thomas X. Hammes 'The Sling and The Stone'.

    H. John Poole's works.

    Max Boot's 'The Savage Wars of Peace'.

    'The Geography of Thought' by Richard Nisbett covers the Social psychological differences between Asian and Western thinking.

    India's version of Machiavelli: Kautilya's Arthasastra.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-30-2013 at 12:04 PM. Reason: Add Mod's note

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    I find rereading the original Small Wars Manual and the new draft Marine Corps version to be instructive as well.

    Shooter, by Jack Coughlin and others, while not strictly Small Wars does offer some new ways of looking at sniper employment that may prove useful or thought provoking. In a more historical vein, Taking Haiti is interesting but in some places overblown. Actually, I'm working my way through a great deal of stuff on the US involvement in Central America. Mars Learning is perhaps the best look at how the Marine Corps developed its small wars doctrine. Well worth a read (or two).

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    Default Small Wars Readings

    I would highly recommend the following:

    1. Defeating Communist Insurgency by Robert Thompson

    2. Low Intensity Operations by Frank Kitson

    3. Lester Grau's articles on the Battles of Gronzy

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    Default Les Grau's Articles

    I have a lot of Les' articles filed here - Chechnya in the SWJ reference library. Read Tim Thomas' articles also. Both are retired Army LTCs and curently work for the US Army Foreign Military Studies Office. Anything written by Grau and Thomas is worth a look.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default See my post on reference listings

    See my post on Military History.

    I am a fan of both Les Grau and Tim Thomas. Both offer truly valuable insights into the cultural manifestations in the small wars of the USSR and now Russia.

    For Latino and Caribbean basin watchers, look at the work Larry Yates did for CSI on the DomRep and Panama.

    Somalia see Larry Yates and Bon Baumann, again CSI.

    On the Middle East, George Gawrych at CSI. George (now at Baylor) and I team taught Middle East military history in the mid-1980s.

    Scott McMichael's study on light infantry covers Malaysia and is excellent, again CSI.

    On Africa, I have 2 books on the Congo on the CSI site: LP14 on the Dragon Operations in the Congo in 1964; and a study on the Shaba II War in Zaire in 1978. Dave Dillegge will be loading a chapter from my memoirs, Journey into Darkness: Genocide in Rwanda, here next month.

    You can also find some classics like TE Lawrence and Duffer's Drift on the CSI site.

    A 2013 working link:http://regimentalrogue.tripod.com/du...fers_Drift.htm


    Ralph Peters should stick to fiction. His analysis is unbalanced to say the least.

    Best

    Tom Odom
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-26-2013 at 08:53 PM. Reason: Updated

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    Council Member zenpundit's Avatar
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    Default Reading list....

    Just finished reading:

    Blueprint For Action by Thomas P.M. Barnett

    Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

    The Sling and he Stone by Thomas X. Hammes

    Currently reading:

    Unrestricted Warfare by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui

    Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam by Gilles Keppel

    Reading next:

    Shield of Achilles by Phillip Bobbitt

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    I highly recommend a book not yet mentioned: Inside War: The Guerrilla Conflict in Missouri During the American Civil War, by Michael Fellman.

    Published in 1989 by Oxford University Press, it is much more than a simple history of guerrilla fighting in Missouri. It is an in-depth analysis of the psycho-social interrelationships between the two sides in conflict and the civilian population caught in-between. The book, when read in the context of current ops, makes for quite interesting reading - especially the sections on Loyalty, Neutrality and Survival Lies and Collapse of the Sense of Security in the chapter on Civilians in Guerrilla War.

    The book studies official attitudes of both sides, and compares them with the combatants' perception of self and others in the context of the conflict. There is much of value to be gained from this study in viewing today's war in Iraq. Cross-cultural perceptions between our forces and the various Iraqi players in the conflict are far more complex than those in 1860's Missouri during the Civil War - but I felt this book puts a valuable perspective on the combat effects of such views of the other side.

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    Council Member GatorLHA2's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Reading List

    The American War for Independence provides some good examples of the fundamentals of COIN & Stability Ops (how not to do them), Small Wars, and Insurgency, with out all the clutter of high tech because the fundamentals of human nature in these situations has not changed.

    Operations in the Southern Department i.e. Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia from 1779-1783 have many of the elements of small wars, stablility ops and insurgency. Much of the fighting in the South was actually a brutal sometimes uncontrolable civil war between Americans and presented quite a challenge to leaders on both sides.

    The tactics and strategies of Gen Nathaniel Greene and BG Francis Marion influenced North Vietnamese leaders. Gen Cornwallis learned enough from his experience in the Carolinas and Virginia to be able to successfully resolve an Irish rebellion then go on to be high respected as the Gov of India. The use of "Information Warfare" by the US leaders played a big role in turning the tide against the British in the South after the overwhelming and seemingly decisive US losses at Charleston and Camden.

    Some suggested readings include:

    "A People Numberous & Armed" by John Shy
    "Swamp Fox: The Life and Campaigns of General Francis Marion" by Bass, Robert D.
    "From Savannah to Yorktown" by Lumpkin, Henry
    "A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens" by Babits, Lawernce E.
    "Calendar and Record of the Revolutionary War in the South: 1780-1781" by Sherman, William Thomas (can be downloaded from the internet as a PDF or RTF file)


    There are other books on my "to read" list that are also of interest

    "The Partisan War" the South Carolina Campaign of 1780-82" by Weigley, Russell Frank

    "The Life and Correspondence of Nathanael Greene" Johnston, William reprint 1973

    "A History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781 in the Southern Provinces" by Tarleton, Banastre reprint 1968

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default SWJ Reading List

    The Small Wars Journal has compiled a reading list of Small Wars and related books. The list can be found here. Any recommended additions would be greatly appreciated.

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    Just a couple of thoughts:

    1. The Last Valley: Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam, Martin Windrow.
    "This is an outstanding work of military history. It tells the story of the ghastly French experience in Indo-China in a way that has never been done in English. The account of Dien Bien Phu is a masterpiece of meticulous historical narrative" Max Hastings.

    2. Bunch of Five, Frank Kitson. "General Kitson's lively and vivid war autobiography runs from 1952-1967, years generally regarded as years of peace. He spent them fighting, in Kenya, Malaya, Oman or trying to keep other people from fighting in Cyprus ..... He discusses work against armed dissidents frankly and freely, not shirking the revolting details that raise or lower moral and make of break success." The Economist

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    Quote Originally Posted by zenpundit

    Currently reading:

    Unrestricted Warfare by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui
    Unrestricted Warfare, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui

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    Hailer Publishing specializes in reprinting out of print Military books, specifically those recommended by knowledgeable people.

    Martin

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    War for Muslim Minds by Giles Kepel

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    War for Muslim Minds by Giles Kepel

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    I canít believe that About Face by David Hackworth isnít on the list.

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    More from a polical level approach than to military but still a good look at how to improve the military ability with the proper resources:

    _A Swift, Elusive Sword: What if Sun Tzu and John Boyd Did a National Defense Review?_ by Chester W. Richards
    ISBN: 1932019014

    For the OODA section alone:
    _The Mind of War: John Boyd and American Security_ by Grant Hammond
    ISBN 158834178X
    Last edited by Stratiotes; 01-24-2006 at 06:51 PM.
    Mark
    Discuss at: The Irregulars Visit at: UW Review
    "The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." - G. K. Chesterton

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    Jihad by Kepel

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh
    I highly recommend a book not yet mentioned: Inside War: The Guerrilla Conflict in Missouri During the American Civil War, by Michael Fellman.

    Published in 1989 by Oxford University Press, it is much more than a simple history of guerrilla fighting in Missouri.
    I would second that one - as well as The Devil Knows How to Ride by Edward Leslie on the same subject.

    If you are a movie watcher, there is a fantastic movie with a similar title but based on an historical fiction book rather than Leslie's book:
    "Ride With the Devil"

    Seeing guerrilla warfare thru the eyes of other Americans with whom we can relate can be an education in itself.

    For another great online resource, COIN - Rhodesian classic.
    Last edited by Stratiotes; 03-22-2006 at 02:24 AM.
    Mark
    Discuss at: The Irregulars Visit at: UW Review
    "The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." - G. K. Chesterton

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