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The Darkest Days of the War
America's Sailors in the Great War
Victory Fever on Guadalcanal
U.S. Military Intervention in the Post-Cold War Era
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Black Ops, Vietnam
The River Was Dyed with Blood

Insurgency and CounterinsurgencyInsurgency and Counterinsurgency

A Global History

Jeremy Black

Narrated by Doug Greene

Available from Audible

Book published by Rowman & Littlefield

This timely book offers a world history of insurgencies and of counterinsurgency warfare. Jeremy Black moves beyond the conventional Western-centric narrative, arguing that it is crucial to ground contemporary experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq in a global framework. Unlike other studies that begin with the American and French revolutions, this book reaches back to antiquity to trace the pre-modern origins of war within states. Interweaving thematic and chronological narratives, Black probes the enduring linkages between beliefs, events, and people on the one hand and changes over time on the other hand. He shows the extent to which power politics, technologies, and ideologies have evolved, creating new parameters and paradigms that have framed both governmental and public views.

Tracing insurgencies ranging from China to Africa to Latin America, Black highlights the widely differing military and political dimensions of each conflict. He weighs how, and why, lessons were “learned” or, rather, asserted, in both insurgency and counterinsurgency warfare. At every stage, he considers lessons learned by contemporaries, the ways in which norms developed within militaries and societies, and their impact on doctrine and policy. His sweeping study of insurrectionary warfare and its counterinsurgency counterpart will be essential reading for all students of military history.

Jeremy Black is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He is author of more than 100 books including Fighting for America: The Struggle for Mastery in North America, 1519-1871 and War and the Cultural Turn. Black received the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize from the Society for Military History in 2008.


“The nature of war has changed, especially since the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Now the public no longer worries about nuclear Armageddon, but instead fears suicide bombers in European capitals. Consequently, the face of war has been altered. In his new study, respected military historian Black seeks to enlighten readers by highlighting not only the mainstream analysis of guerrilla operations but, more importantly, the evolution of counterinsurgency doctrine. Commentators have even given insurgency a new name: asymmetrical war. Although the author takes readers on a brief tour of insurgencies throughout history, especially those in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, his prime focus remains on the situations found in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. But to get there, Black traces the beginnings, when the component parts of both the former Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union sought independence. It was those conflicts, Black stresses, that were the beginning of a new revolution in military affairs that the powers-that-be still grapple with today. A significant and timely contribution to understanding the new meaning of war. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.”


“The problem of insurgencies and how to defeat them still poses tremendous challenges to modern militaries. Industrial weapons, modern systems of organization, and now computerized information have all proven elusive as war winners against adaptive insurgents. Jeremy Black brings much-needed historical perspective to this problem, which will be invaluable for all who wrestle with trying to understand where insurgents come from and how to reduce the threat they pose.”

—Michael S. Neiberg, author of Potsdam: The End of World War II and the Remaking of Europe

“A masterful survey from the Roman Empire to present-day Syria. ”

—Kaushik Roy, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India, and Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Norway

“Jeremy Black does it again in this comprehensively researched, clearly presented analysis of insurgency and counterinsurgency in a global historical context. A major resource for courses and individual readers alike.”

—Dennis Showalter, Colorado College

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University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks