Military history

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

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

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.


BOOK I - BARBARIANS AT THE GATE - The Origins of Guerrilla Warfare

Chapter 1. Romans vs. Jews, AD 66

Chapter 2. The Peloponnesian War, Alexander the Great in Central Asia, the Maccabees, and the Bar Kokhba Revolt, 426 BC–AD 132

Chapter 3. Tribal Wars of Mass Destruction

Chapter 4. Mesopotamia, 2334–2005 BC

Chapter 5. Persians vs. Scythians, 512 BC

Chapter 6. The Origins of Counterinsurgency in Assyria and Rome, 1100 BC–AD 212

Chapter 7. The Barbarian Invasions, AD 370–476

Chapter 8. Ancient Chinese Warfare beyond Sun Tzu

Chapter 9. Xiongnu vs. Han, 200 BC–AD 48

Chapter 10. Why the Weak Beat the Strong

Chapter 11. Scotland vs. England, 1296–1746

Chapter 12. The Counterinsurgents’ Advantage

BOOK II - LIBERTY OR DEATH - The Rise of the Liberal Revolutionaries

Chapter 13. Hussars, Pandours, and Rangers, 1648–1775

Chapter 14. The Revolution against Britain, 1775–1783

Chapter 15. The Peninsular War, 1808–1814

Chapter 16. The Haitian War of Independence, 1791–1804

Chapter 17. The Greek War of Independence, 1821–1832

Chapter 18. Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Struggle for Italian Unification, 1833–1872

Chapter 19. The Liberal Achievement


Chapter 20. Why Did So Few Guerrillas Resist the European Advance?

Chapter 21. The “Forest Wars” in Eastern North America, 1622–1842

Chapter 22. Braves vs. Bluecoats, 1848–1890

Chapter 23. The Holy War against Russia in Chechnya and Dagestan, 1829–1859

Chapter 24. The First Anglo-Afghan War, 1838–1842

Chapter 25. Britain and the Pashtuns, 1897–1947

Chapter 26. Lyautey in Morocco, 1912–1925

Chapter 27. Britain’s Near-Defeat in South Africa, 1899–1902

Chapter 28. Why Imperialism Carried the Seeds of Its Own Destruction

BOOK IV - THE BOMB THROWERS - The First Age of International Terrorism

Chapter 29. The Assassins, AD 1090–1256

Chapter 30. The Terrorist Who Helped Start the Civil War, 1856–1859

Chapter 31. Ku Kluxers and the War against Civil Rights, 1866–1876

Chapter 32. Anarchists, ca. 1880–ca. 1939

Chapter 33. The Nihilists on the Trail of Alexander II, 1879–1881

Chapter 34. Socialist Revolutionaries in Russia, 1902–1917

Chapter 35. The Irish War of Independence, 1919–1921

Chapter 36. Sinners or Saints?

BOOK V - THE SIDESHOWS - Guerrillas and Commandos in the World Wars

Chapter 37. Blood Brothers and Brownshirts, 1914–1945

Chapter 38. “Lawrence of Arabia,” 1916–1935

Chapter 39. The Birth of the Special Forces in World War II

Chapter 40. A “Wayward Genius” in Palestine, Abyssinia, and Burma, 1936–1944

Chapter 41. Yugoslavia, 1941–1945, and the Limits of Scorched-Earth Counterinsurgency

Chapter 42. Did Commandos Make a Difference?

BOOK VI - THE END OF EMPIRE - The Wars of “National Liberation”

Chapter 43. The Slipping European Grip

Chapter 44. Mao Zedong’s Long March to Power, 1921–1949

Chapter 45. The Indochina War, 1945–1954

Chapter 46. The Algerian War of Independence, 1954–1962

Chapter 47. Briggs, Templer, and the Malayan Emergency, 1948–1960

Chapter 48. Why the British Succeeded—at Least Sometimes

BOOK VII - RADICAL CHIC - The Romance of the Leftist Revolutionaries

Chapter 49. The Guerrilla Mystique in the 1960s–1970s

Chapter 50. Edward Lansdale and the Huk Rebellion, 1945–1954

Chapter 51. Lansdale and Diem, 1954–1956

Chapter 52. The Limitations of Firepower in Vietnam, 1960–1973

Chapter 53. Castro’s Improbable Comeback, 1952–1959

Chapter 54. Che’s Quixotic Quest, 1965–1967

Chapter 55. The Raid on Entebbe and the Terrorism of the 1970s

Chapter 56. What Terrorism Did and Did Not Achieve for the Palestinians

Chapter 57. The End of the (Marxist) Affair in the 1980s

BOOK VIII - GOD’S KILLERS - The Rise of Radical Islam

Chapter 58. Tehran, Mecca, Islamabad, and Kabul, November 4–December 24, 1979

Chapter 59. The Red Army vs. the Mujahideen, 1980–1989

Chapter 60. The “Party of God” in Lebanon, 1982–2006

Chapter 61. Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, 1988–2011

Chapter 62. Al Qaeda in Iraq since 2003

Chapter 63. David Petraeus and the Surge, 2007–2008

Chapter 64. The Failures and Successes of the Global Islamist Insurgency

EPILOGUE: Meeting in Marjah, October 23, 2011

IMPLICATIONS: Twelve Articles, or The Lessons of Five Thousand Years