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The Accidental Guerrilla


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About the Author

David Kilcullen was formerly counterinsurgency advisor to General David Petraeus in Iraq and to the NATO Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and currently serves as a consultant to the U.S. government. Kilcullen is also Adjunct Professor of Security Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security.


If you have regular customers who are military types, then The Accidental Guerilla is unlikely to be a hard sell. Indeed, they may already be familiar with David Kilcullen's reputation as a very senior and respected former Australian army officer. For the rest of your customers, The Accidental Guerilla may need more careful placement. Kilcullen's book is pretty dense and-unsurprisingly for a book about military tactics-is heavy on the acronyms. However, this decidedly non-military reader was very engaged by Kilcullen's reports of time spent on the ground in various war-torn parts of the world and his erudite analysis of what works and what doesn't when engaging in modern warfare. I've come out of reading the book with a much clearer picture of what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan than years of reading on the topic has provided. To Kilcullen, counterinsurgency-smaller, ongoing skirmishes with various involved parties who may have different motivations-is modern warfare. The density of information did take some getting used to, but Kilcullen's written style overcomes any issues. For your customers who are engaged with modern geopolitics and have an interest in serious analysis of current affairs, The Accidental Guerilla may just be perfect. Eliza Metcalfe is a freelance writer and editor

"For a wider perspective on the lessons drawn over the past seven years of the 'war on terror', the reader can do no better than turn to Mr. Kilcullen's excellent book. The Accidental Guerrilla has an anthropologist's sense of social dynamics and a reporter's eye for telling detail. If T.E. Lawrence evoked the means of waging irregular warfare in his 1926 classic, 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom', Mr. Kilcullen describes the practitioner's art of combating insurgents."--The Economist

"This book should be required reading for every American soldier, as well as anyone involved in the war on terror. Kilcullen's central concept of the 'accidental guerrilla' is brilliant and the policy prescriptions that flow from it important. And that's not all; the book has many more insights drawn from various battlefields."--Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek

"Kilcullen's influence on how the U.S. military thought about counterinsurgency campaigning cannot be overstated."--Thomas E. Ricks, author of The Gamble and Fiasco

"There are some standard texts on [counterinsurgency]. The Accidental Guerrilla is sure to become one."--The Wall Street Journal

"This book is essential.... Kilcullen skillfully interprets the future of counterinsurgency, the proper use of military force and what we must learn from our losses and mistakes. After reading The Accidental Guerrilla, one is left to wonder why the Pentagon did not listen to his sage advice back in 2003."--New York Times Book Review

"Kilcullen's compelling argument merits wide attention."--Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"David Kilcullen, man of action and man of ideas, has produced a rare-and indispensible-guide to understanding and winning the so-called "war on terror" by combining ideas of military theory with those of culture and tradition among tribal peoples."--Professor Akbar Ahmed, Chair of Islamic Studies, American University, Washington DC

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