The most recommended guerrilla warfare books

Who picked these books? Meet our 18 experts.

18 authors created a book list connected to guerrilla warfare, and here are their favorite guerrilla warfare books.
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Book cover of Drugs, Guns & Lies: My life as an undercover cop

Sandi Logan Author Of Betrayed: The incredible untold inside story of the two most unlikely drug-running grannies in Australian history

From my list on life’s adventures featuring crime, drugs, and travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I learned from a young age to question everything. The law always interested me, but I was an impatient high school graduate who instead completed a journalism cadetship in Sydney, Australia. I always loved police reporting and the ability to get inside the ‘real’ story where few others could. There is a certain pleasure observing the lives of (witting or unwitting) criminals and an element of “there by the grace…” too! I’ve always empathised with the underdog and the Drug Grannies were indeed just that. I believed there was more to their story. Earning their trust was important. I threw myself into their fight – more an activist than a journalist!

Sandi's book list on life’s adventures featuring crime, drugs, and travel

Sandi Logan Why did Sandi love this book?

This is an outstanding inside look that goes well, well beyond the typical “whistleblower”-type tomes.

Keith Banks was a copper for 20 years in one of Australia’s most corrupt police organisations – the Queensland Police Force. During the 1980s, he let his hair grow, then down, and went undercover as a drug cop. As Banks says: “Undercover was like guerrilla warfare; to understand your enemy, you had to walk amongst them, to become them.”

Some of the decisions he had to make about allowing drugs – including heroin – get onto the street, and into the arms of kids barely into their teens in order to track down the major suppliers, are heartbreaking. This has to be one of the best Australian true crime/memoirs in many decades.

By Keith Banks, Ben Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Drugs, Guns & Lies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Banks has told his story in a raw and honest autobiography. It is the best true crime book published in Australia in a decade.' -John Silvester, Crime Reporter for The Age

Undercover was like guerrilla warfare; to understand your enemy, you had to walk amongst them, to become them. The trick was to keep an eye on that important line between who you were and who you were pretending to be.

This is the true story of Keith Banks, one of Queensland's most decorated police officers, and his journey into the world of drugs as an undercover operative in the…


Book cover of I Didn't Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita And Alastair Smith Author Of The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics

From my list on rulers behaving badly in Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith are professors of politics at New York University. They use the mathematical approach of game theory to understand the incentives of leaders in different settings. The Dictator’s Handbook distills decades of academic work into a few essential rules that encapsulate how leaders come to power and remain there.

Bruce's book list on rulers behaving badly in Africa

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita And Alastair Smith Why did Bruce love this book?

Wrong’s account of Eritrea’s bid for independence from Ethiopia highlights the conflict between the needs of the people and the wants of leaders. The title of her book is taken from what a soldier liberating Ethiopia from Italian rule told a local and sets the tone of the book. Time and again Wrong describes how leaders will starve their own people or bomb their own soldiers provide it help keep them in power.

By Michela Wrong,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Didn't Do It for You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One small East African country embodies the battered history of the continent: patronised by colonialists, riven by civil war, confused by Cold War manoeuvring, proud, colorful, with Africa's best espresso and worst rail service. Michela Wrong brilliantly reveals the contradictions and comedy, past and present, of Eritrea.

Just as the beat of a butterfly's wings is said to cause hurricanes on the other side of the world, so the affairs of tiny Eritrea reverberate onto the agenda of superpower strategists. This new book on Africa is from the author of the critically acclaimed In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz.

Eritrea…


Book cover of Our Fighting Sisters: Nation, Memory and Gender in Algeria, 1954-2012

Jessica Ayesha Northey Author Of Civil Society in Algeria: Activism, Identity and the Democratic Process

From my list on understanding the importance of Algerian History.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved Algeria since I lived there for 3 years from 2007. The experiences of the 20th century, particularly the War of Independence, make Algeria such an important country. The anti-colonial War overturned an entrenched colonialism, not only in Algeria, but set in train a movement for freedom across an entire continent. I have written extensively on the growth of civil society associations and how these helped people recover from tragedies; and more recently, the developments that sprung from the Algerian Hirak of 2019. This saw millions of protesters march peacefully, for over a year, to bring about significant changes and new understandings of citizenship in the 21st century.

Jessica's book list on understanding the importance of Algerian History

Jessica Ayesha Northey Why did Jessica love this book?

Our Fighting Sisters is a wonderful, inspiring, and stylishly written book, drawing on in-depth interviews with celebrated women fighters from the liberation struggle in Algeria.

It is one of the first books to fully engage with the experiences of women who lived through the struggles of the Independence War. It documents the roles women played, both as intellectuals and combatants, in overturning the brutal colonial rule, thus liberating Algeria and in many ways, the African continent.

It still has implications for the future of resistance movements in Algeria and beyond. 

By Natalya Vince,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our Fighting Sisters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Between 1954 and 1962, Algerian women played a major role in the struggle to end French rule in one of the twentieth century's most violent wars of decolonisation. This is the first in-depth exploration of what happened to these women after independence in 1962. Based on new oral history interviews with women who participated in the war in a wide range of roles, from urban bombers to members of the rural guerrilla support network, it explores how female veterans viewed the post-independence state and its multiple discourses on 'the Algerian woman' in the fifty years following 1962. It also examines…


Book cover of Tomorrow, When the War Began

Rachel Drummond Author Of The South Forsaken

From my list on ways to manage the end of the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Rachel Drummond, and I've had a passion for reading since primary school. Drawn to the books where the protagonist finds themselves needing to survive on their own. My mum challenged me to actually try write something to publish and I finally took her up on this. I wanted to create a world that skates the edge of ‘this could happen’ and superimpose a fictional situation over a place that is so recognisable, that if you drove through the town, you could use the book as a map. I write because I enjoy it, and because sometimes you need to kill someone without getting your hands dirty.

Rachel's book list on ways to manage the end of the world

Rachel Drummond Why did Rachel love this book?

Every Australian my age would have grown up with this classic series, but in case you haven’t read them, this is a must. Following a group of kids caught away from their families when Australia is invaded, we are dragged along as they find their feet, becoming adults and guerrilla soldiers almost overnight. The heartbreak, anger, and fear are real, it is impossible to read this without feeling like you are right there next to them. This was probably the first book that sparked my love of reading and writing. I vividly remember trying to check it out of the school library in year 6 and being told it was ‘too old’ for me and not being allowed to take it out. Jokes on them, I read it curled up in the corner of the library. 

By John Marsden,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tomorrow, When the War Began as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

'Compulsively readable' New York Times

Somewhere out there Ellie and her friends are hiding.

Their country has been invaded. Everyone they know has been captured. Their world has changed overnight.

They've got no weapons - except courage.

They've got no help - except themselves.

They've got nothing - except friendship.

How strong could you be, if the world was full of people trying to kill you?

Fans of Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins and Michael Grant - prepare to be hooked by the Tomorrow series.


Book cover of A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War

Lisa Alther Author Of Blood Feud: The Hatfields and the McCoys: The Epic Story of Murder and Vengeance

From my list on the Hatfield–McCoy feud.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father’s favorite first cousin Ava married Homer McCoy, a direct descendant of the Fighting McCoys. Homer’s aunt married a Hatfield, so my family is distantly related by marriage to both the Hatfields and McCoys. As a girl, Ava witnessed the aftermath of the feud: The elders in her household froze whenever they heard pounding hoofbeats in the night. She assured me that the reasons for the feud were far more complicated than escaped hogs or the derring-do of sociopathic veterans nostalgic for the bloodbaths of the Civil War. I started reading whatever I could find and visiting feud sites, trying to understand what had really gone on and why.

Lisa's book list on the Hatfield–McCoy feud

Lisa Alther Why did Lisa love this book?

In researching Blood Feud, I discovered that some of my ancestors were Union guerrillas who operated near the future feud area. Devil Anse Hatfield led a unit of Confederate home guards in that same region. Hatfield’s uncle, who is widely believed to have murdered Harmon McCoy in the opening salvo of the feud, was said subsequently to have killed a cousin of my father’s uncle during a guerrilla skirmish. I had always understood the Civil War to entail vast battalions of uniformed soldiers mowing each other down as they marched toward enemy lines. A Savage Conflict made me realize that the brutal depredations of guerrillas played a major role in the war and left a legacy of bitter factional hatred that factored into the subsequent feuds.

By Daniel E. Sutherland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Savage Conflict as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

While the Civil War is famous for epic battles involving massive armies engaged in conventional warfare, A Savage Conflict is the first work to treat guerrilla warfare as critical to understanding the course and outcome of the Civil War. Daniel Sutherland argues that irregular warfare took a large toll on the Confederate war effort by weakening support for state and national governments and diminishing the trust citizens had in their officials to protect them.


Book cover of Between Two Fires: Guerrilla War In The Spanish Sierras

Joan Fallon Author Of Spanish Lavender

From my list on the Spanish Civil War through oral history and narrative.

Why am I passionate about this?

Joan Fallon is a Scottish novelist who has lived in the province of Málaga, in southern Spain, for almost thirty years. She has a great passion for all aspects of Spanish history and culture. While writing a book about the lives of Spanish women after the Civil War, she learned about the unbelievable massacre of thousands of innocent people as they left their homes and fled to Almería in 1937. Women, children and old men were gunned down by cruising gunboats. A historian, teacher and now an author, Joan wanted to know why nobody ever spoke about this tragedy.

Joan's book list on the Spanish Civil War through oral history and narrative

Joan Fallon Why did Joan love this book?

This book takes a different look at the Spanish Civil War. It looks at the history of the guerrilla war in the Spanish sierras, where poorly armed men waged a drawn out battle against the Nationalist troops for years. It is also in the province of Málaga.

By David Baird,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Between Two Fires as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SPAIN'S FORGOTTEN WAR
This book reveals:*  how the USA secretly trained Spanish Communists to engage in a guerrilla war*  how a brutal crime was covered up for more than 50 years
Spain's Civil War did not end in 1939. Guerrillas determinedto oust Franco's ruthless military dictatorship fought on in the mountains in awar that went virtually unreported.
In Andalusia a legendary chieftain named Roberto led the"people of the sierra". Caught in the middle, torn by family and politicalallegiances, were the countryfolk . . . unknowing victims of decisions taken inMoscow, Paris, London and Washington.
This book relates what happens when…


Book cover of The Last September

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Irish historian and biographer living in London and have always been fascinated by the confused attitudes that bedevil the relationship between Ireland and England. Educated in Ireland and the USA, I came to teach at the University of London in 1974, a period when IRA bombings had penetrated the British mainland. In 1991, I moved to Oxford and taught there for twenty-five years. As I constantly move between the two countries and watch my children growing up with English accents but Irish identities, I remain as fascinated as ever by the tensions, parallels, memories, and misunderstandings (often well-meaning) that prevail on both sides of the narrow Irish Sea.

Roy's book list on illuminating books about the turbulent relationship between Ireland and England

Roy Foster Why did Roy love this book?

Elizabeth Bowen once described the Ireland-England relationship as ‘a mixture of showing-off and suspicion, nearly as bad as sex’. Her 1928 novel demonstrates this beautifully, eviscerating the attitudes of  Anglo-Irish grandees in their Big House as the country around them crackles with guerilla war and showing the incomprehension between the Irish (at all social levels) and the British soldiers sent ostensibly to keep the peace.

Though it ends in tragedy, social comedy, as so often, shows the brutal realities beneath the surface. And the atmosphere of the Irish landscape, at once idyllic and brooding, comes alive in Bowen’s supercharged prose.

By Elizabeth Bowen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Last September as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Read Elizabeth Bowen's accessible feminist take on the Irish aristocracy

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY VICTORIA GLENDINNING

The Irish troubles rage, but up at the 'Big House', tennis parties, dances and flirtations with the English officers continue, undisturbed by the ambushes, arrests and burning country beyond the gates. Faint vibrations of discord reach the young girl Lois, who is straining for her own freedom, and she will witness the troubles surge closer and reach their irrevocable, inevitable climax.


Book cover of The East Asian War, 1592-1598: International Relations, Violence and Memory

Kenneth M. Swope Author Of Dragon's Head and A Serpent's Tail: Ming China and the First Great East Asian War, 1592-1598

From my list on the Great East Asian War of 1592-1598.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by this war since I first learned about it in graduate school. It inspired my dissertation, which focused on the Three Great Campaigns of the Wanli Emperor, which in turn resulted in my book, A Dragon’s Head & A Serpent’s Tail.  That book has inspired two sequels of sorts thus far, with another one to come.

Kenneth's book list on the Great East Asian War of 1592-1598

Kenneth M. Swope Why did Kenneth love this book?

This is a valuable edited collection that brings together scholarship from experts in Korea, Japan, Europe, and the United States. The translation of works by East Asian scholars is particularly useful as these materials are largely inaccessible to Western readers. The book spans events from before the war to various memories of the war in the countries involved, touching on specialized topics including Hideyoshi’s planning process, guerrilla warfare in Korea, how the war figured in the grand strategy of the Ming dynasty, and how the war impacted subsequent cultural exchanges between the countries involved.  However, note that this book assumes a basic level of knowledge about the war, so readers are advised to check out one or more of the books above first.

By James B. Lewis (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The East Asian War, 1592-1598 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As East Asia regains its historical position as a world centre, information on the history of regional relations becomes ever more critical. Astonishingly, Northeast Asia enjoyed five centuries of international peace from 1400 to 1894, broken only by one major international war - the invasion of Korea in the 1590s by Japan's ruler Hideyoshi. This war involved Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Southeast Asians, and Europeans; it saw the largest overseas landing in world history up to that time and devastated Korea. It also highlighted the nature of the strategic balance in the region, presenting China's Ming dynasty with a serious threat…


Book cover of Tiger the LURP Dog

Michael Lee Lanning Author Of Inside the LRRPs: Rangers in Vietnam

From my list on long range reconnaissance patrols and Rangers In The Vietnam War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I served as an infantry platoon leader, reconnaissance platoon leader, and rifle company commander in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. I was an instructor in the Florida Phase of the U.S. Army Ranger School for two years.

Michael's book list on long range reconnaissance patrols and Rangers In The Vietnam War

Michael Lee Lanning Why did Michael love this book?

By far the best novel on LRRPs in Vietnam, and perhaps the best fiction to come out of the war. Highly decorated Miller extended his tour three times with F Company 58th Infantry (LRP) and L Company Rangers in order to “out guerrilla the guerilla.” Book awarded the Bernal Diaz Prize for military fiction.

By Kenn Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tiger the LURP Dog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A landmark novel of the Vietnam War

The men of the Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrol - Stagg, Wolverine, Mopar, Marvel Kim, and Gonzales - are commando-style soldiers, called “Lurps” for short. Five men, completely dependent on one another. Proud to the point of arrogance. They’re joined by Tiger, their mascot: a flea-bitten scavenging stray or “dust dog,” a sneak and a coward, lazy and haughty. But, like his masters in this dirtiest of all wars, a survivor.

When their buddies on Team Two-One disappear, the Lurp team members have to fight their own brass to go on a mission to find…


Book cover of SAS Ghost Patrol

John Sadler Author Of Blitzing Rommel

From my list on the War in the Desert 1940 – 1943.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a successful published author of military history nonfiction and fiction with 44 titles in print and have been a lifelong obsessive on the subject of WWII which was my parents’ war. I started on a diet of black & white war movies, then epics such as Tobruk, Raid on Rommel et al. I have been lecturing on the subject at the former Centre for Lifelong Learning at Newcastle University (Now the ‘Explore’ Programme) for 25 years. I am also an experienced and much travelled WWII Battlefield tour guide, with experience of guiding all the major Western Front campaigns. I’m a lifelong historical interpreter and re-enactor.

John's book list on the War in the Desert 1940 – 1943

John Sadler Why did John love this book?

A gripping account of the Big Raids in September 1942 with an abundance of firsthand accounts, this episode of the Desert War is often overlooked, soon to be overshadowed by the 2nd battle of El Alamein but the story has much to teach students of guerrilla tactics today, i.e., the dangers of ‘mission-creep.’

By Damien Lewis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked SAS Ghost Patrol as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Lewis has done a terrific job in resurrecting Heaven Platoon, portraying them as the brave, buccaneering heroes they undoubtedly were' Daily Mail

'Another true tale of military derring-do from Lewis' Sunday Express

'Intensively researched and powerfully written. One of the great untold stories of WWII' Bear Grylls

'In SAS Ghost Patrol Lewis reveals a tale of suicidal bravery, untold daring and breath-taking deceit. Told with the panache and verve of a born storyteller, Lewis is in a class of his own' Saul David

'Amazing tale of WWII great escaper's Nazi ruse ... The extraordinary Second World War saga of the…