Cover image for Encyclopedia of guerrilla warfare
Encyclopedia of guerrilla warfare
Beckett, I. F. W. (Ian Frederick William)
Publication Information:
Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 303 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
An encyclopedia of articles examining guerilla warfare throughout the world, focusing on military tactics utilized by minority groups within a state or indigenous population to oppose the ruling government or foreign occupying forces.


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
U240 .B43 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Although many consider Mao Tse Tung (Mao Zedong) and Che Guevara to be its inventors, guerrilla warfare was already old hat in biblical times.

âeuro;¢ Detailed bibliography promotes further study

âeuro;¢ Chronology of important events

Author Notes

Ian F. W. Beckett is head of the Department of History at the University of Luton, Bedfordshire, England.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Written by a British military historian, this comprehensive work begins with a table of contents and a clearly written introduction on how indigenous peoples have fought against occupiers or oppressors throughout history. The alphabetically arranged entries average one-half page although they are longer when necessary, such as nearly three pages for Northern Ireland. Although the introduction refers to guerrilla fighting in ancient history, the entries focus on the past few centuries, beginning in the American colonies. The coverage is truly all-encompassing, from the Peninsular War against Napoleon (where the term guerrilla originated) to the Maori wars in New Zealand in the nineteenth century and from an uprising in Soviet Central Asia after the 1918 revolution to Cyprus after World War II. In addition to individual wars and campaigns, entries include individuals (George Armstrong Custer, Ernesto Che Guevara), groups (Italian army, Kuomintang, Tamils), locations (Ho Chi Minh Trail, Nicaragua), and terms (foco, the strategy that brought Fidel Castro to power in Cuba). Biographical entries include known theorists and leaders and the lesser known, for example, the developer of Soviet counterinsurgency (Mikhail Nikolaievich Tukhachevsky) and the leader of the Angolan independence movement (Dr. Agostinho Antonio Neto). Entries are well written and current (the death of Pol Pot in April 1998 is included) and are followed by helpful see also references and suggestions for further reading. An extensive bibliography includes many recent titles, and an accurate index completes the work. Black-and-white photos are scattered throughout. Although elements of guerrilla warfare can be located in other works, the thoroughness and comprehensiveness of this unique volume make it a useful title for many high-school, public, and academic libraries.

Library Journal Review

The author of The Amateur Military Tradition (St. Martin's, 1992) and coeditor of The Oxford Illustrated History of the British Army (1994), Beckett here does a very good job of compiling articles dealing with guerrilla warfare. The coverage, which begins in the last half of the 18th century and continues to the insurgencies of the present, deals with every topic and leader associated with guerrilla warfare. As in most good encyclopedias, there are numerous cross references and suggestions for further reading. Beckett has also included a helpful section on acronyms to prevent the "alphabet soup" problem endemic to studying guerrilla movements. A chronology of guerrilla actions since 1755 is included. This should interest subject specialists and general readers alike. For public and academic libraries.ÄMark E. Ellis, Albany State Univ. Lib., Leesburg, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Beckett, a recognized authority on guerrilla war, supplies a useful preliminary guidebook for students of the phenomenon. "Encyclopedia" is perhaps overambitious as a title, but the work provides good capsule summaries of the most important groups, movements, events, and people involved with guerrilla activity during this and the past two centuries. The suggestions for further reading following the entries are usually apt, and the extensive bibliography, despite some gaps, amply covers the field. There is a list of acronyms and an excellent index. An ill-advised 3 1/2-page chronology begins (oddly enough) with the May 1755 defeat of Braddock at the hands of the French and Native Americans on the Mononghela, and ends with the April 1998 death of Pol Pot in Cambodia; it seems to have been constructed without much rhyme or reason. Finally, despite stressing the distinctions between guerrilla, partisan, revolutionary, and counterguerrilla warfare, some of the entries tend to obscure the differences between terrorism and guerrilla war as tactical and strategic options. Recommended to students, professional researchers, and libraries for its utility, accuracy, and coverage. V. T. Le Vine Washington University