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America's Dirty Wars
Irregular Warfare from 1776 to the War on Terror


  • Date Published: September 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107003132

£ 72.00

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About the Authors
  • This book examines the long, complex experience of American involvement in irregular warfare. It begins with the American Revolution in 1776 and chronicles big and small irregular wars for the next two and a half centuries. What is readily apparent in dirty wars is that failure is painfully tangible while success is often amorphous. Successfully fighting these wars often entails striking a critical balance between military victory and politics. America's status as a democracy only serves to make fighting - and, to a greater degree, winning - these irregular wars even harder. Rather than futilely insisting that Americans should not or cannot fight this kind of irregular war, Russell Crandall argues that we would be better served by considering how we can do so as cleanly and effectively as possible.

    • Accessible to educated general readers, policy specialists, and scholars and their students
    • Examines the long, complex experience of American involvement in irregular warfare from 1776 to the present
    • Interspersed with short intermezzi chapters that chronicle the experiences over the same time period of other global powers such as Great Britain and France
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Russell Crandall has provided us with an extremely valuable history of America's involvement in 'dirty wars' throughout our history - with vignettes of comparison with similar engagements by other nations. He documents events dimly remembered, if at all. He usefully explores the political and ethical difficulty of effectively pursuing such campaigns in a democratic state ostensibly committed to human rights and respect for the rule of law.' Martin L. Cook, Admiral James Bond Stockdale Chair of Professional Military Ethics, US Naval War College

    'A fascinating account and analysis, one that displays both a remarkable range of command and includes a steady stream of stories well told. Crandall punctures some of the myths about American counterinsurgency, even while showing why we've never been able to avoid it for long.' Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, Fellow, New America Foundation; former member of the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff

    'Although waging irregular wars has become unpopular of late, such conflicts cannot be wished away. Russell Crandall's America's Dirty Wars provides an exhaustive historical account of the United States' successes and failures in combating elusive foes. He demonstrates that although success in these wars is hardly assured, neither is it impossible.' Thomas G. Mahnken, Jerome E. Levy Chair of Economic Geography and National Security, US Naval War College

    'Russell Crandall's gracefully written America's Dirty Wars not only provides a clear and valuable account of the many irregular conflicts in which the United States has been entangled since its eighteenth-century Revolution, it also shows how the country has learned - and failed to learn - from its own history.' Michael Mandelbaum, Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy, The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and author of The Road to Global Prosperity

    'Russell Crandall has quickly established himself as a leader in a new generation of social science/foreign policy analysts. His latest book is a sweeping but focused overview and analysis of one of the more fascinating aspects of American history - counterinsurgency warfare. Crandall's goal is to provide a panoramic view of the US experience in dirty wars - lessons learned, lessons forgotten. Through his sophisticated research and effective presentation, Crandall fully offers the most comprehensive work of its kind to date. I recommend this volume without hesitation.' Riordan Roett, Director of the Latin American Studies Program and Western Hemisphere Studies, The Johns Hopkins University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107003132
    • length: 598 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 38 mm
    • weight: 0.88kg
    • contains: 21 b/w illus. 22 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Irregular warfare 101
    Part I. The American Revolution to Chasing Sandino, 1776–1930s:
    3. The American Revolution
    4. Confederates and Indians
    5. Intermezzo: the Boer War
    6. America, Aguinaldo, and the Philippines, 1898
    7. Chasing Villa, 1916
    8. A cold winter in Siberia
    9. The Banana Wars, 1898–1930s
    10. Intermezzo: T. E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt, 1916–18
    11. Chasing Sandino, 1927–32
    Part II. The Cold War, 1940s–1989:
    12. Cold War counterinsurgencies
    13. Intermezzo: Mao Zedong
    14. Fighting communism in Greece
    15. Intermezzo: France in Algeria, 1954–62
    16. Intermezzo: David Galula
    17. Intermezzo: Malaya emergency, 1948–60
    18. Ramón Magsaysay and the Hukbalahap Rebellion in the Philippines, 1946–56
    19. Vietnam
    Part III. Latin America and the Cold War, 1950s–1980s:
    20. From Guatemala, 1954, to Cuba and the Bay of Pigs, 1961
    21. Guatemala, post-1963
    22. Cuba, post-1963
    23. Intermezzo: Che Guevara and guerrilla warfare
    24. Carter, Reagan, and the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, 1979–90
    25. El Salvador, 1979–92
    Part IV. Post–Cold War, 1990s–2000s:
    26. Dirty wars after the Cold War
    27. Colombia
    28. Iraq
    29. Intermezzo: the counterinsurgency field manual and postmodern insurgencies
    30. Post-9/11 COIN in the Philippines
    31. Intermezzo: Afghanistan, graveyard of empires
    32. The longest war: America in Afghanistan
    33. The fall of Muammar Qaddafi, 2011
    34. Intermezzo: JSOC raids and drone strikes
    35. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Russell Crandall, Davidson College, North Carolina
    Russell Crandall is a Professor of International Politics and American Foreign Policy at Davidson College. His previous books include The United States and Latin America after the Cold War (Cambridge, 2008); Gunboat Democracy: US Interventions in the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Panama (2006); and Driven by Drugs: US Policy Toward Colombia (2008). Interwoven with his academic career, Crandall has held high-level foreign policy appointments within several sectors of the US government, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon and the National Security Council at the White House.

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