Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism, and Guerrilla War, from the American Revolution to Iraq

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Sep 18, 2007 - History - 304 pages

In the current Middle East, insurgency tactics are used with frequency and increasing success. But guerrilla war-fare is not just the tool of modern-day terrorists. Its roots stretch back to our very own revolution.

In Violent Politics, William Polk takes us on a concise, brilliant tour of insurgencies throughout history, starting with the American struggle for independence, when fighters had to battle against both the British and the loyalists, those colonists who sided with the monarchy. Instinctively, in a way they probably wouldn't have described as a coherent strategy, the rebel groups employed the tactics of insurgency.

From there, Polk explores the role of insurgency in several other notable conflicts, including the Spanish guerrilla war against Napoleon, the Irish struggle for independence, the Algerian War of National Independence, and Vietnam. He eventually lands at the present day, where the lessons of this history are needed more than ever as Americans engage in ongoing campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq—and beyond.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

VIOLENT POLITICS: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism, & Guerrilla War, from the American Revolution to Iraq

User Review  - Kirkus

A captivating but disquieting examination of how insurgencies begin, grow, persist and either succeed or fail.Former State Department advisor Polk (The Birth of America: From Before Columbus to the ... Read full review

Contents

The American Insurgency
1
The Spanish Guerrilla Against the French
20
The Philippine Insurrection
35
Copyright

11 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

William R. Polk taught Middle Eastern history and politics and Arabic at Harvard until 1961, when he became a member of the Policy Planning Council of the U.S. Department of State. In 1965, he became Professor of History at the University of Chicago, where he established the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. His many books include The Birth of America and Understanding Iraq.

Bibliographic information