Anthony James Joes argues that the U.S. experience in Vietnam was atypical of America's overall experience with guerrilla warfare. He examines several twentieth-century conflicts that should have better prepared the country for Vietnam: the Philippines in 1898, Nicaragua in the 1920s, Greece in the late 1940s, and the Philippines again during the Huk War of 1945-52. In a controversial interpretation, he suggests that valuable lessons were forgotten or ignored in Southeast Asia. Later, during the long Salvadoran conflict of the 1980s, American leaders seemed to recall what they had learned. Joes presents a total of nine case studies, from the role of Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, in driving Cornwallis to Yorktown and eventual surrender to the U.S. support of Afghan rebels that hastened the collapse of the Soviet Empire. He analyzes the origins of each conflict, traces American involvement, and seeks patterns and deviations. Studying numerous campaigns, including ones staged by Confederate units during the Civil War, Joes suggests the combination of elements that can lead a nation to success in guerrilla warfare or doom it to failure.
Introduction: the Americans and guerrilla insurgency -- American guerrillas: the War of Independence -- Confederate guerrillas: the War of Secession -- The Philippine War: forgotten victory -- Nicaragua: a training ground -- Greece: civil war into Cold War -- Back to the Philippines: the Huks -- Vietnam: a case of multiple pathologies -- El Salvador: a long war in a small country -- Afghanistan: cracking the red empire -- Implications and provocations
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