July 23, 2005
An Annotated List
Ten Best Books On Fourth Generation Warfare
By Anthony A. Lukin, Ph.D.
Dr. Lukin is President of Lukin and Associates, Inc., an international consulting and training consortium that specializes in criminal justice and security matters. He is currently a special consultant on homeland security and terrorism to the California Department of Justice, Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) and on the faculty of the California University of Protection and Intelligence Management (CUPIM).
Arquilla, John, and David F. Ronfeldt. Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror,
Crime, and Militancy. RAND Corporation, 2002. ISBN: 0833030302.
This collection of essays develops the theory of network-based warfare, “netwars” that have become integral to the concept of 4GW. Readers will come away with a greater understanding of the al Qaeda “network,” and the “netwar” we better be winning.
Asprey, Robert. War in the Shadows: The Guerrilla in History. Backinprint.com, 2002.
An updated and abridged, it still is over 700 pages, version of Asprey’s 1975 classic that covers the history of guerrilla war from ancient Persia to modern Afghanistan. Well researched and written. Asprey has written some of the best books in the military history genre. This book is a must for every serious student of 4GW.
Bunker, Robert, Ed. Non-State Threats and Future Wars. Frank Cass Publishers, 2002.
A collection of some of the best writing on 4GW that is available. This is an excellent place to start if you are not familiar with the concepts and theories behind 4GW.
Hammes, Thomas X. The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st. Century. Zenith Press,
2004. ISBN: 0760320594.
Hammes, a Marine Colonel, does an outstanding job of defining and explaining the evolution of 4GW. Hammes stresses the value of people, “networking,” over technology, and the concept that superior will power can overcome superior economic and military power.
Lawrence, T.E. Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Anchor, 1991.
One of the great classics of history and literature. Written shortly after WW I, it remains important to any student of Middle East culture, geography and history. It is also a great military book that is essential in any 4GW library.
Mao Tse-Tung. On Guerrilla Warfare. University of Illinois Press, 2000.
Many credit Mao as the first practitioner of a successful 4GW, the Chinese Revolution. This book presents the strategies and tactics that Mao employed, and that were copied over and over again in revolutions from Algeria to Vietnam. The birth of 4GW as written by one of the parents.
Musashi, Miyamoto. The Book of Five Rings. Kodansha International, 2002.
The classic Japanese book on strategy and winning. Since 4GW is essentially Eastern in origin and thought, a thorough knowledge of Eastern thought is not only relevant, it is critical. This book, written nearly five hundred years ago, is more important today than ever.
Nagl, John. Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaysia and Vietnam. Praeger, 2002.
Nagl’s doctorate dissertation is a brilliant analysis of two “insurgency” wars, the British victory in Malaya, and the American defeat in Vietnam. I wish more of our leaders had read Nagl’s description of the “slow and messy” war against insurgencies that is necessary for victory, prior to invading Iraq. Incidentally, Nagl, an Army officer, is currently fighting in Iraq.
O’Neill, Bard E. Insurgency and Terrorism: Inside Modern Revolutionary Warfare.
Potomac Books, 2001. ISBN: 1574883356.
A modern “classic.” Dr. O’Neill’s treatise is now required reading in American and British military schools and “war colleges.” Analytical and insightful, O’Neill compares and contrasts many recent “insurgencies” and provides a theoretical framework in which to view current and future struggles.
Sun Tzu. The Art of War. Dover Publications, 2002. ISBN: 0486425576.
As with The Book of Five Rings, Asian philosophy, strategy and tactics. This ancient Chinese classic has stood the test of time. Concise yet meaningful Sun Tzu is far more complicated than initial reading might suggest. Study and learn.
Honorable Mention and Recommended:
Bell, J. Bowyer. On Revolt: Strategies of National Liberation.
Boot, Max. The Savage Wars of Peace.
Clausewitz, Carl Von. On War.
Joes, Anthony James. America and Guerrilla Warfare.
Kaplan, Robert. The Coming Anarchy.
Merom, Gil. How Democracies Lose Small Wars.
Peters, Ralph. Beyond Terror.
Richards, Chester W. A Swift, Elusive Sword: What If Sun Tzu and John Boyd Did a
National Defense Review?
Taber, Robert. The War of the Flea.
Van Creveld, Martin. The Transformation of War.