A Vision So Noble


A counterinsurgency reading list

Lt. Col. John Nagl was one of the most respected voices for reforming the U.S. Army's approach to counter-insurgency. Recently he retired from active service to continue his agitation as a civilian, and most recently he posted this list of best books (and a video) on Amazon. Click on the cover image or title for the U.S. Amazon page, or search out the titles at Amazon stores elsewhere. Note that Nagl himself is the author of one of his picks, which I am reading now. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

Galula: Counterinsurgency Warfare
Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice

(David Galula)

"The best available explanation of insurgency and counterinsurgency strategy, by a French counterinsurgent"

Nagl: Eating Soup With A Knife
Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam

(John Nagl)

"How to learn to defeat an insurgency while fighting it, by an Iraq war veteran"

Hammes: The Sling and the Stone
The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century

(Thomas X. Hammes)

"The best explanation of Fourth Generation Warfare, by a Marine with Iraq experience"

Lawrence: Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Seven Pillars of Wisdom

(T. E. Lawrence)

"The classic account of insurgency, by the most famous insurgent in history"

War for Muslim Minds
The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West

(Gilles Kepel)

"An outstanding explanation of the civil war inside Islam and how the West must adapt to help mainstream Muslims defeat it"

Understanding Terror Networks
Understanding Terror Networks

(Marc Sageman)

"A former CIA officer with degrees in sociology and psychology intellectually dismantles Al Queda"

Battle for Algiers
The Battle of Algiers

"Brutally honest 1966 movie on the French counter-insurgency experience in Algeria. Depicts the moral quagmire that often results from these difficult and messy wars"

Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford