Vietnam War Bibliography:

Theories of Limited War and Counterinsurgency

Dale Andrade and Lt. Col. James H. Willbanks, USA, Ret., "CORDS/Phoenix: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Vietnam for the Future." Military Review, 86:2 (March/April 2006), pp. 9-23.

James R. Arnold, Jungle of Snakes: A Century of Counterinsurgency Warfare from the Philippines to Iraq. Bloomsbury Press, 2009. 304 pp.

Ivan Arreguín-Toft, How the weak win wars : a theory of asymmetric conflict. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. xv, 250 pp. The chapter on Vietnam (pp. 144-168) appears to me to be based on inadequate knowledge of Vietnam.

Brigadier C.N. Barclay, British Army, Retired, "The Western Soldier versus the Communist Insurgent" Military Review, February 1969, pp. 86-94. Treats Communist defeat in Vietnam as inevitable; "no serious military commentator contemplates the defeat of the forces of the United States, South Vietnam and the other allies." (p. 89)

Roger A. Beaumont, "The Military Utility of Limited War" Military Review, May 1967 (vol. XLVII, no. 5), pp. 53-57.

Ian F.W. Beckett, Modern Insurgencies and Counter-Insurgencies: Guerrillas and Their Opponents since 1750. London and New York: Routledge, 2001. ix, 268 pp.

Ian F.W. Beckett and John Pimlott, eds., Armed Forces & Modern Counter-Insurgency. London: Croom Helm, 1985. vi, 232 pp. New York: St. Martin's, 1985. 232 pp.

Ian F.W. Beckett, Encyclopedia of Guerrilla Warfare. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1999. xxiii, 303 pp.

Ian Beckett, ed., Modern Counter-Insurgency. Ashgate, 2007. 512 pp. Part I, "The British Experience," contains thirteen articles; Part II, "The United States Experience," contains four; Part III, "The Soviet and Russian Experience," contains three.

Major John B. Bellinger, Jr., USA, "Civilian Role in Antiguerrilla Warfare." Military Review, XLI:9 (September 1961), pp. 91-94.

Douglas A. Blaufarb, The Counter-Insurgency Era: U.S. Doctrine and Performance, 1950 to the Present. New York: The Free Press, 1977. xxi, 356 pp. The author was station chief in Laos in the early 1960's.

James J. Brask, "Counterinsurgency as an Instrument of American Foreign Policy: A Framework for the Analysis of Vietnam Counterinsurgency Evaluation". Doctoral dissertation, Political Science, Northern Illinois University, 1990.

Lt. Col. William J. Buchanan, USA, and Lt. Col. Robert A. Hyatt, USA, "Capitalizing on Guerrilla Vulnerabilities." Military Review, August 1968 (vol. XLVIII, no. 8). Part I, "Determination of Vulnerabilities" (pp. 3-18); Part II, ""Determination of Functions" (pp. 19-29); Part III, "The Role of the Army (pp. 30-39); Part IV, "Conclusions" (p. 40).

Lt. Col. William J. Buchanan, USA, and Lt. Col. Robert A. Hyatt, USA, "Building a Counterinsurgent Political Infrastructure." Military Review, September 1968 (vol. XLVIII, no. 9), pp. 25-41. The authors were both in the 1968-69 class at the National War College. Based on theories developed by Dr. Michael C. Conley of American University. Buchanan had served two tours in Vietnam, the first in III and IV Corps 1962-63. For part of the second he commanded the 2/12 Cavalry. Hyatt had served in the 25th Division 1966-67.

Larry E. Cable, Conflict of Myths: The Development of American Counterinsurgency Doctrine and the Vietnam War. New York: New York University Press, 1986 (pb. 1988).

Major Robert M. Cassidy, USA, "Why Great Powers Fight Small Wars Badly." Military Review, 82:5 (Sept-Oct 2002).

Eliot A. Cohen, "Constraints on America's Conduct of Small Wars", International Security 9:2 (Autumn 1984), pp. 151-181. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the text directly or go through the JSTOR International Security browse page.

James S. Corum, Bad Strategies: How Major Powers Fail in Counterinsurgency. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Zenith Press, 2008. 304 pp.

James S. Corum, "The U.S. Air Force Confronts Counterinsurgency: Sixty Years of Conflict between Official and Unofficial Doctrine." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Military History, Murfreesboro, TN, April 4, 2009. Considers the Greek Civil War of the late 1940s, the Huk insurrection in the Philippines, Vietnam, and more recent events.

Roger Darling, "A New Conceptual Scheme for Analyzing Insurgency." Military Review, 54:2 (February 1974), pp. 27-38.

Roger Darling, "A New Conceptual Scheme for Analyzing Counterinsurgency." Military Review, 54:6 (June 1974), pp. 54-66.

Seymour J. Deitchman, Limited War and American Defense Policy. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press, 1964. x, 273 pp. 2d ed., rev., Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press, 1969. xvi, 302 pp.

Seymour J. Deitchman, "Limited War" Military Review, July 1971, pp. 3-16.

S. J. Deitchman, "A Lanchester Model of Guerrilla Warfare," Operations Research, vol. 10, 1962, pp. 818-827.

Seymour J. Deitchman, The Best-Laid Schemes: A Tale of Social Research and Bureaucracy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1976. xiv, 483 pp.

Edward F. Downey, Jr., "Theory of Guerrilla Warfare." Military Review, 39:5 (May 1959), pp. 45-55. Not bad, but vague. The emphasis on the fact that Americans may need guerrilla warfare as the only practical way of resisting the Soviets after a Soviet conquest of the United States looks odd in retrospect.

Colonel Jay B. Durst, "Limited Conventional War--Can it be successful?" Military Review, January 1970, pp. 56-63

Colonel Stanley W. Dziuban, USA, Ret., "Choose Your Weapon" Military Review, October 1966 (vol. XLVI, no. 10), pp. 90-96. In counterinsurgency, it is important to choose weapons on the basis of avoiding harm to innocents, not just inflicting maximum harm on ones enemies.

Bernard B. Fall, "Insurgency Indicators" Military Review, April 1966 (vol. XLVI, no. 4), pp. 3-11. An important and very interesting discussion of the ways the actual patterns of government and guerrilla control may vary from the officially acknowledged pattern.

Geoffrey Fairbairn, "Approaches to Counter-Insurgency Thinking since 1947," South-East Asian Spectrum [published by SEATO Headquarters, Bangkok], Vol. 2, no. 2 (January 1974), pp. 21- . The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project at Texas Tech University.

David Fitzgerald, Learning to Forget: US Army Counterinsurgency Doctrine and Practice from Vietnam to Iraq. Stanford, CA: Stanford Security Studies, 2013. x, 285 pp. One chapter (pp. 19-38) deals with the Vietnam War.

David French, The British Way in Counterinsurgency, 1945-1957. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. x, 283 pp.

David Galula, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. New York: Praeger, 1962. xiv, 143 pp. This book has recently been reprinted by Hailer Publishing.

John M. Gates, The U.S. Army and Irregular Warfare. Part II, "Vietnam," is made up of four chapters:
          Chapter 5: "The Philippines and Vietnam"
          Chapter 6: "Careerists in Uniform"
          Chapter 7: "Vietnam: The Debate Goes On"
          Chapter 8: "People's War in Vietnam"

Gian Gentile, Wrong Turn: America’s Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency. New York: The New Press, 2013. xviii, 189 pp. Colonel Gentile, who commanded a cavalry squadron in western Baghdad in 2006, teaches history at West Point. One chapter (pp. 59-84) deals with Vietnam.

Lt. Col. Gustav J. Gillert, Jr., USA, "Counterinsurgency." Military Review, XLV:4 (April 1965), pp. 25-33. Gillert had served with Special Forces in Laos, 1961-62.

Lt. Col. Gustav J. Gillert, Jr., USA, "Whispers in a Windstorm" Military Review, June 1965 (vol. XLV, no. 6), pp. 8-16. Counterinsurgency doctrine.

Donald W. Hamilton, The Art of Insurgency: American Military Policy & the Failure of Strategy in Southeast Asia. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998. xxiii, 186 pp.

Lt. Col. William M. Hartness, USAR, Ret., "From the Cell to the Battlefield" Military Review, March 1967 (vol. XLVII, no. 3), pp. 80-86. The organizational structure of Communist insurgencies. Before retirement, Hartness had been chief of the Counterinsurgency Committee at the US Army Intelligence School, Fort Holabird, Maryland. He was currently a consultant to the Special Warfare Agency at Fort Bragg.

Otto Heilbrunn, "How Many Men to Vietnam?" Military Review, XLV:12 (December 1965), pp. 27-33. Discusses the theory that a ten-to-one numerical superiority is necessary to defeat a guerrilla force.

Otto Heilbrunn, "When Counterinsurgents Cannot Win" Military Review, October 1969, pp. 36-43. A condensed version of an article originally published in Journal of the Royal United Service Institution (Great Britain), March 1969.

Walter Darnell Jacobs, "This Matter of Counterinsurgency." Military Review, XLIV:10 (October 1964), pp. 79-85.

Lt. Col. James R. Johnson, USA, "People's War and Conventional Armies." Military Review, 54:1 (January 1974), pp. 24-33.

Wray R. Johnson, Vietnam and American Doctrine for Small Wars. Bangkok: White Lotus Press, 2001. xiii, 334 pp.

Captain Richard A. Jones, USA, "The Nationbuilder: Soldier of the Sixties." Military Review, XLV:1 (January 1965), pp. 63-67. We need to give more serious training, such as languages, to military advisers being sent into counterinsurgency situations.

Lt. Col. George B. Jordan, "Objectives and Methods of Communist Guerrilla Warfare." Military Review, 39:10 (January 1960), pp. 50-59. A very inept effort, by the former U.S. senior advisor to the Quang Trung Training Center in South Vietnam.

Andrew J. Kauffman, "On 'Wars of National Liberation'" Military Review, October 1968 (vol. XLVIII, no. 10), pp. 32-44. Condensed from an article published in Transition (Foreign Service Institute, Department of State), June 1968. Kauffman was a Foreign Service officer.

Lt. Col. Irvin M. Kent, USA, and Major Richard A. Jones, USA, "The Myth of the Third Man" Military Review, May 1966 (vol. XLVI, no. 5), pp. 48-56. Systems for the control of population and resources are critical to success in counterinsurgency.

Lt. Col. Jonathan F. Ladd, USA, "Some Reflections on Counterinsurgency." Military Review, XLIV:10 (October 1964), pp. 79-85. Lt. Col. Ladd had served a 1962-63 tour in Vietnam, and would later command the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam.

Colonel William E. LeGro, USA, "The Why and How of Limited War" Military Review, July 1970, pp. 32-39

Richard M. Leighton and Ralph Sanders, eds., Insurgency and Counterinsurgency: An Anthology. Washington, D.C.: Industrial College of the Armed Forces, October 1962. vi, 386 pp. These essays tend to be very general in topic, not accounts of particular counterinsurgency experiences in particular countries. This has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project at Texas Tech University, in multiple parts: pp. i-vi, 1-38 (Part I: Insurgency: Its Nature and Background);   pp. 39-84 (Part II: The Environment of Insurgency: essays by W.W. Rostow, Max F. Milikan, and Donald L.M. Blackmer);   pp. 85-122 (Part II continued, essay by Lucian Pye; Part III, Insurgency in Communist Theory: excerpts from Khrushchev and Lenin);   pp. 123-169;   pp. 170-217;   pp. 219-269;   pp. 271-316 (Lt. Col. Donald S. Bussey, "National Defense Organization for Counterinsurgency); U. Alexis Johnson, "The Orchestration of a Counterinsurgency Program";   "Logistical Support of Guerrilla Warfare";   Gen. W. S. Steele, USAF, "Counterinsurgency through Military Assistance";   Brig. Gen. Edward Lansdale, USAF, "Civic Action");   pp. 317-355 (Lansdale, continued;   ...);   pp. 357-386.

Austin Long, "First war syndrome: Military culture, professionalization, and counterinsurgency doctrine." Ph.D. dissertation, M.I.T., 2010.

Michael McClintock, Instruments of Statecraft: U.S. Guerrilla Warfare, Counterinsurgency, Counterterrorism, 1940-1990. New York: Pantheon, 1992. xix, 604 pp.

Montgomery McFate and Andrea V. Jackson, "The Object Beyond War: Counterinsurgency and the Four Tools of Political Competition." Military Review, 86:1 (Jan/Feb 2006), pp. 13-26. Criticizes Westmoreland's emphasis on conventional military operations.

Major General Lionel C. McGarr, "The Power of Thought--New Horizons." Military Review, September 1959, pp. 3-19. General McGarr (commandant of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and soon to be commander of MAAG, Vietnam), argued for greater flexibility in U.S. Army doctrine, including doctrine for limited wars. But he made only brief references to "unconventional warfare," and did not mention guerrilla warfare or counterinsurgency at all. His concern was that the Army incorporate new high-tech weapons into its doctrine as quickly as possible; he urged the development of "smaller . . . tactical nuclear weapons for use in limited war." (p. 14)

Andrew Mack, "Why Big Nations Lose Small Wars: The Politics of Asymmetric Conflict," World Politics, 27:2 (January 1975), pp. 175-200.

Jefferson P. Marquis, "The 'Other War': An Intellectual History of American Nationbuilding in South Vietnam, 1954-1975." Ph.D. dissertation, History, Ohio State University, 1997. viii, 496 pp. DA9731673.

Military Affairs (journal of the American Military Institute, which today is called the Society for Military History), special issue on irregular warfare, XXIV:3 (Fall 1960). Full text is available online if you browse the Internet through an institution that subscribes to JSTOR.

John A. Nagl, Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam: Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife. Westport: Praeger, 2002. xxi, 249 pp. Paperback, with a new preface by Nagl, discussing his September 2003 to September 2004 tour as Operations Officer of the 1/34 Armored, conducting actual counterinsugency in al-Anbar province, Iraq, and the light it shed on the ideas in his book, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. xxix, 249 pp.

Colonel Nemo [pseud], "The Place of Guerrilla Action in War" (digested from Revue Militaire Générale, January 1957), in "Foreign Military Digests", Military Review, XXXVII:8 (November 1957), pp. 99-107.

Col. Rod Paschall, "Low-Intensity Conflict Doctrine: Who Needs It?", Parameters: Journal of the U.S. Army War College, 15:3 (Fall 1985).

Douglas Porch, Counterinsurgency: Exposing the Myths of the New Way of War. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 434 pp. Largely but not exclusively concerned with British and American counterinsurgency. The chapter "Vietnam, counterinsurgency, and the American way of war," is pp. 201-23.

John S. Pustay, Counterinsurgency Warfare. New York: Free Press, 1965. Major (later Lt. Gen.) Pustay was a professor at the Air Force Academy.

George H. Quester, "The Guerrilla Problem in Retrospect" Military Review, 56:8 (August 1976), pp. 44-55. Reprinted from Military Affairs, December 1975.

Rand Corporation (later, RAND Corporation). This "think tank" financed by the U.S. military conducted a great deal of research on the Vietnam War. Most Rand publications can be purchased in hard copy through the RAND Corporation online bookstore, but many also can be read online for free. Some Rand publications relevant to this section of my bibliography are listed below, but many others are in other sections, especially The Communists; In the Villages: Pacification; Temporary Peace and Renewed War, 1954–1964, and The Big War, 1964-1972.

Lt. Col. Donald V. Rattan, "Antiguerrilla Operations: A Case Study from History." Military Review, May 1960, pp. 23-27. A study of U.S. Cavalry General George Crook's campaign of the 1870s against the Apache Indians, used as an illustration of the principles of anti-guerrilla operations that were being taught at the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College in 1960. The principles mostly look pretty sensible (though the virtue of the offensive is exaggerated, in line with a tendency of U.S. Army doctrine), but the conclusion shows a remarkable faith in the generalizability of doctrine: "The current USA CGSC antiguerrilla doctrine and the methods used by General Crook are virtually identical. If these methods worked against such a foe as the Apache, they will work against any present-day guerrilla force." (p. 27)

Jeffrey Record, Beating Goliath: Why Insurgencies Win. Washington, D.C.: Potomac, 2007. xii, 180 pp. Considerable discussion of the American way of war. Record was an assistant province adviser in the Mekong Delta, 1968-69.

Paul B. Rich and Richard Stubbs, The Counter-Insurgent State: Guerrilla Warfare and State Building in the Twentieth Century. New York: St. Martin's, 1997. viii, 235 pp. Deals with a variety of case studies, but I do not believe the First or Second Indochina Wars are among them.

Stephen P. Rosen, "Vietnam and the American Theory of Limited War", International Security 7:2 (Autumn 1982), pp. 83-113. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the text directly or go through the JSTOR International Security browse page.

Robert H. Scales, Jr., Firepower in Limited War. Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1990. xv, 291 pp. Most of the book is devoted to the two Indochina wars. There is briefer consideration of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and of the Falkland Islands campaign.

Capt. H. B. Seim, "Are We Ready to Wage Limited War?", Proceedings, March 1961.

Theodore Shackley, The Third Option: An American View of Counterinsurgency Operations. New York: Reader's Digest Press/McGraw-Hill, 1981. xiii, 185 pp. Shackley had been CIA chief of station in Laos (mid 1966 to late 1968) and in South Vietnam (late 1968 to early 1972).

D. Michael Shafer, Deadly Paradigms: The Failure of U.S. Counterinsurgency Policy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989. A comparison of Greece, the Phillippines, and Vietnam.

Colonel Raymond L. Shoemaker, et. al., "Readiness for the Little War--Optimum Integrated Strategy." Military Review, XXXVII:1 (April 1957), pp. 14-26. Written by eight officers on the faculty of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. I presume the Lt. Col. John K. Singlaub among the authors is the future commander of SOG in Vietnam. Argues that the United States must be prepared to pursue aggressors across national borders. "Provide No Sanctuaries" is a section title (p. 24).

Richard T. Shultz, "The Intellectual Origins and Development of Counterinsurgency Theory in American Foreign Policy Doctrine: The Vietnam Case Study." Ph.D. dissertation, Political Science(?), Miami University, 1976. 552 pp. 77-995.

Small Wars and Insurgencies. London: Frank Cass, 1990- . Publishes quite a lot of articles dealing with the Indochina Wars. Issues since 2001 are available online if you are browsing the Internet from an institution that has paid the fee for Taylor & Francis Journals.

Robert C. Suggs and Brenda M. Wolak, "Mao's Three Stages" Military Review, November 1966 (vol. XLVI, no. 11), pp. 92-97. The three-stage model of guerrilla warfare.

John J. Tierney, Jr., Chasing Ghosts: Unconventional Warfare in American History. Washington: Potomac Books, 2006. xvii, 289 pp.

U.S. Army

Lt. Col. Josiah A. Wallace, Jr., USA, "The Principles of War and Counterinsurgency" Military Review, December 1966 (vol. XLVI, no. 12), pp. 72-81.

Hugh G. Wood, "American Reaction to Limited War in Asia: Korea and Vietnam, 1950-1968." Ph.D. dissertation, History, University of Colorado, 1974. 596 pp. 74-22411.

Major J.W. Woodmansee, Jr., Revolutionary Warfare, vol. II, Guerrilla Warfare in World War II. West Point: Department of Military Art and Engineering, United States Military Academy, 1967. Texts intended for cadet use. This has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project at Texas Tech University, in three parts: front matter and pp. 1-43, "Guerrilla Warfare in World War II," by Major J.W. Woodmansee, Jr., and "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1941-1944)," by Charles V.P. von Luttichau;   pp. 45-86, "France (1940-1944)," by Charles B. MacDonald, followed by the map of Yugoslavia that goes with the next section;   pp. 87-117, "Yugoslavia (1941-1944)," by Earl Ziemke;   pp. 119-157, "Greece (1942-1944)," by D.M. Condit.

Major J.W. Woodmansee, Jr., Revolutionary Warfare, vol. III, China and "The People's War". West Point: Department of Military Art and Engineering, United States Military Academy, 1968. ii, 212 pp. Texts intended for cadet use. This has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project at Texas Tech University, in three parts: front matter and pp. 1-51;   pp. 52-106;   pp. 107-153;   pp. 155-186, Edgar Snow, "Mao Tse-tung: 'Genesis of a Communist'";   pp. 187-212, Lin Piao [Lin Biao], "Long Live the Victory of the People's War", and map.

Major J.W. Woodmansee, Jr., ed., Revolutionary Warfare, vol. V, French Counterrevolutionary Struggles: Indochina and Algeria. West Point: Department of Military Art and Engineering, United States Military Academy, 1968. Texts intended for cadet use. This has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project at Texas Tech University, in three parts: front matter and pp. 1-33, "Indochina (1946-54)," by Bernard B. Fall;   pp. 35-64, "Operations in North Vietnam, 1950-1952," by Bernard B. Fall (extracted from Fall's book Street Without Joy); pp. 65-86, "Victory for the People's Army," by Vo Nguyen Giap (extracted by Woodmansee mostly from Giap's book People's War, People's Army [it might be interesting to compare Giaps's views as edited by Woodmansee with the originals]);   pp. 87-96, "Victory for the People's Army," continued; pp. 97-129, "Algeria (1954-1962)," by Major J.W. Woodmansee; Maps.

Thijs W. Brocades Zaalberg, Soldiers and Civil Power: Supporting or Substituting Civil Authorities in Modern Peace Operations. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press, 2005. 528 pp. Mostly this deal with Dutch, Australian, and American operations in the 1990s in Somalia, Cambodia, and Bosnia, but Part I includes discussion of the British in Malaya and the Americans in Vietnam.

For more recent writings on insurgency and counterinsurgency, see the section Doctrine on Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in my Iraq Wars Bibliography.

Return to Table of Contents

Next section: The Media

Copyright © 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, Edwin E. Moise. This document may be reproduced only by permission. Revised April 21, 2014. Opinions on this page are my own. They could not very well be the opinions of Clemson University, which does not have opinions on this subject.