Galula: The Life and Writings of the French Officer Who Defined the Art of Counterinsurgency

Galula: The Life and Writings of the French Officer Who Defined the Art of Counterinsurgency

Galula: The Life and Writings of the French Officer Who Defined the Art of Counterinsurgency

Galula: The Life and Writings of the French Officer Who Defined the Art of Counterinsurgency

Synopsis

This comprehensive analytical biography is the definitive work on the life and writings of history's most significant counterinsurgency doctrinaire, David Galula, elucidating the context for his reflections and examining the present and future applicability of his treatise for scholars and practitioners alike.

Excerpt

In the book of Mark, we learn that “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” Jesus of Nazareth could have added “and in his own time” to make the verse even more applicable, not just to himself, but also to Lieutenant Colonel David Galula. Galula was a French officer who did his most important fighting in Algeria, his most significant writing in the United States, and had the most influence he would ever enjoy forty years after his untimely demise in 1967. He was so without honor at home that his most important book, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice, was not translated into his native French language until 2008. His ideas took more than forty years to make the voyage home, but when they did, they had been endorsed by American General David Petraeus and heavily influenced U.S. Army and Marine Corps counterinsurgency doctrine as well as the conduct of the two biggest wars of the early twenty-first century.

How this unlikely series of events came to pass is the story of this overdue biography, penned by Canadian Army Major A. A. Cohen. Like the subject of his work, Cohen is a young, bilingual army officer who benefits from both practical experience in the field and a passion for a series of ideas that can, and now have, changed the course of wars and of history. Cohen’s work benefits from the compassion of one soldier for another and from its author having lived, as his subject did, through a revolution in warfare.

David Galula cut his teeth on revolutionary war. Graduating from Saint Cyr just in time for the fall of France, he fought for the liberation of his country and then was posted to Beijing in time to observe Mao’s war of the people firsthand. Revolutions were sweeping the globe, populations empowered by . . .

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