Abu Muqawama and Charlie put our heads together across the Atlantic Ocean and came up with this, the long-awaited Counterinsurgency Reading List. This list is not exhaustive, but the "essentials" and "intermediate" lists include all the books and articles the two of us think you should read. There's also some fiction and films -- and even a section on political Islam because while it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with COIN, it certainly has relevance to the operating environments in which some of our readership live and work. Click on the links, and they should -- with a few exceptions -- either take you to the article or to the link on amazon.com.
Wan to know what we think about specific books and articles? Check out our COIN Book Club entries, which review select offerings from this Reading List.
Counterinsurgency Reading List
(updated November 2007)
(updated March 2008)
(updated May 2009)
The Bare Bones Essentials
David Galula, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice
David Kilcullen, "28 Articles", Military Review, May-June 2006
Kalev Sepp, "Best Practices in COIN", Military Review, May-June 2005
Robert Bateman, "Lawrence and his Message"
C.E. Callwell, Small Wars
John Cann, Counterinsurgency in Africa: The Portuguese Way of War 1961-1974
Carl von Clausewitz, On War
Bernard Fall, The Street without Joy
David Galula, Pacification in Algeria: 1956-1958
Tony Geraghty, The Irish War
Charles Gwynn, Imperial Policing
Alistair Horne, A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962
Frank Kitson, Gangs and Counter-Gangs
Robert Komer, Bureaucracy Does its Thing
Andrew Krepinevich, The Army and Vietnam
John Nagl, Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam
Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie
Robert Taber, War of the Flea
Robert Thompson, Defeating Communist Insurgency
Roger Trinquier, Modern Warfare
Mao Tse-Tung, On Guerrilla Warfare
Bing West, The Village
Ralph Baker, "The Decisive Weapon", Military Review, May-June 2006
David Barno, “Fighting ‘The Other War’: Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, 2003-2005,” Military Review, September-October 2007
Stephen Biddle, “Seeing Baghdad, Thinking Saigon,” Foreign Affairs, March-April 2006
Burgoyne & Marckwardt, The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa
Peter Chiarelli, "Winning the Peace", Military Review, July-August 2005
Nigel Alwyn Foster, "Changing the Army for COIN Operations", Military Review, November-December 2005
Les Grau, The Bear Went Over the Mountain
T.X. Hammes, The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century
T.X. Hammes, “Fourth Generation Evolves, Fifth Emerges,” Military Review, May-June 2007
Hecker & Rid, War 2.0: Irregular Warfare in the Information Age
Chris Hickey, "Principles and Priorities for Training in Iraq", Military Review, March-April 2007
Frank Hoffman, "Hybrid Threats"
David Kilcullen, The Accidental Guerrilla
David Kilcullen, "Anatomy of a Tribal Revolt"
David Kilcullen, “Counterinsurgency Redux,” Survival, Winter, 2006
John Kizley, "Learning About Counterinsurgency", Military Review, March-April 2007
Sean MacFarland and Niel Smith, "Anbar Awakens," Military Review, March-April 2008
Marston & Malkasian, Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare
H.R. McMaster, “On War: Lessons to be Learned.” Survival, February-March 2008
Steven Metz, Rethinking Insurgency
Elizabeth Rubin, "Battle Company Is Out There"
Rupert Smith, The Utility of Force
Various, FM 3-24, "Counterinsurgency"
Hannah Arendt, On Revolution
Hannah Arendt, On Violence
Robert Asprey, War in the Shadows
Robert Bates, Prosperity and Violence
Jarret M. Brachman and William F. McCants, "Stealing Al-Qaeda's Playbook," CTC Report, February 2006
Scott A. Cuomo and Brian J. Donlon, "Training a 'Hybrid' Warrior," Marine Corps Gazette
Loup Francart, Maitriser la violence
Robert M. Gates, "Beyond Guns and Steel: Reviving the Nonmilitary Instruments of American Power"
Antonio Giustozzi, Koran, Kalashnikov, and the Laptop: The Neo Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan
John Bagot Glubb, War in the Desert
Daniel Helmer, "Flipside of the COIN: Israel’s Lebanese Incursion Between 1982-2000"
Stathis Kalyvas, The Logic of Violence in Civil Wars
Alan B. Krueger, What Makes a Terrorist
Mark Lichbach, The Rebel’s Dilemma
Yezid Sayigh, Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949-1993
James Scott, Moral Economy of the Peasant
Frederic M. Wehrey, “A Clash of Wills: Hizballah’s Psychological Campaign Against Israel in South Lebanon.”
Jeremy Weinstein, Inside Rebellion: Politics of Insurgent Violence