Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present Max Boot

As fitting for the twenty-first century as von Clausewitz’s On War was in its own time, Invisible Armies is a complete global history of guerrilla uprisings through the ages.

Beginning with the first insurgencies in the ancient world—when Alexander the Great discovered that fleet nomads were harder to defeat than massive conventional armies—Max Boot, best-selling author and military advisor in Iraq and Afghanistan, masterfully guides us from the Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire up through the horrors of the French-Indochina War and the shadowy, post-9/11 battlefields of today. Relying on a diverse cast of unforgettable characters—not only Mao and Che but also the legendary Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi, the archaeologist-turned–military commander T. E. Lawrence, and the “Quiet American” Edward Lansdale, among others—Boot explodes everything we thought we knew about unconventional combat. The result is both an enthralling read and our most important work on nontraditional warfare.

Max Boot is one of America’s leading military historians and foreign-policy analysts. The Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, he is the author of two-widely acclaimed books: “The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power” and “War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today.” His latest book–“Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present”–will be coming out in January 2013. He is also a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. He has advised military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his books have been assigned reading by the military services. He has been called “a master historian” by the New York Times and a “a penetrating writer and thinker” by The Wall Street Journal. For more information, see http://www.maxboot.net.

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Book TV: Max Boot, “Invisible Armies”


Max Boot, fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, presents a history of guerrilla warfare. The author posits that unconventional warfare, often thought of as a modern means of war, has a long tradition that dates back to antiquity. Max Boot speaks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Max Boot – Invisible Armies


Published on Mar 25, 2013

This program is generously sponsored by the The Council on Foreign Relations.

Invisible Armies
by Max Boot examines the evolution of guerrilla warfare and terrorism, spanning 5,000 years of global history, leading up to the contemporary conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The author provides a detailed history and analysis of guerrilla fighters, strategists, and terrorists, from King David to Atila the Hun, from Mao Zedong to Fidel Castro, from Yasser Arafat to Osama bin Laden. Boot also profiles history’s most esteemed military thinkers, from French army general Hubert Lyautey to T.E. Lawrence, to General David Petraeus, the man who created modern U.S. counterinsurgency strategy. Boot condenses his observations and lessons on guerrilla warfare into “Twelve Articles.” One article notes that, while technology has been less important in guerrilla war than in conventional war, that may be changing because of weapons of mass destruction: “A small terrorist cell the size of a platoon might then have more killing capacity than the entire army of a nonnuclear state like Brazil or Egypt. That is a sobering thought.”

Max Boot is one of America’s leading military historians and foreign-policy analysts. The Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, he is also a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and the Los Angeles Times, and a regular contributor to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, and other publications.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.

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