Varied Fare Chasing Ghosts: Unconventional Warfare in American History. John ]. Tierney Jr. Potomac Books. An AUSA Book. 289 pages; black and white photographs; index; $26.95.
The United States has a long history with unconventional warfare. From the American Revolution to the war in Iraq, Americans have fought both as guerrillas and against them. In Chasing Ghosts, John Tierney examines each unconventional fight and identifies patterns and similarities.
The book is divided into two sections. The first examines guerrilla warfare on the home front, from the American Revolution to the Indian wars. Tierney also includes the civil warfare of the Revolution, as Whigs and Tories retaliated against each other in increasing violence. The fight against the British in the Southern states is a classic example of unconventional warfare against an occupying army. Later, during the Civil War, it was the South that perfected the guerrilla campaign, with raids into the North and attacks on Union supply lines. The battles against the Western Indians and the Seminoles of Florida were only won by heavyhanded tactics, such as waging war against entire Indian communities. But these were lessons learned only after defeat and frustration over wellexecuted Indian strategy.
The second section focuses on foreign lands, where the American Army, largely conventional, fought insurrectionists, revolutionaries and even conventional forces. The list of countries is daunting: The Philippines, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua and Vietnam. U.S. forces also conducted guerrilla campaigns during World War II in France, Burma, China and (again) the Philippines. …