Cover image for The sling and the stone : on war in the 21st century
The sling and the stone : on war in the 21st century
Hammes, Thomas X.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
St. Paul, MN : Zenith Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiv, 321 pages ; 24 cm
Four generations of warfare -- The first two generations of modern war -- Transition to third-generation warfare -- Changes in society -- Mao and the birth of fourth-generation war -- The Vietnamese modification -- The Sandanista refinement -- The Intifada : civilians versus an army -- The al-Aqsa Intifada -- Al-Qaeda : a transnational enemy -- Afghanistan : a tribal network -- Iraq : high-tech versus fourth-generation -- Technology : not a panacea -- Characteristics of fourth-generation war -- Where to from here? -- Evaluating the threat -- The future is flexibility.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
U241 .H38 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Ongoing events in Iraq show how difficult it is for the world's only remaining superpower to impose its will upon other peoples. From Vietnam, French and US, to Afghanistan, Russian and US, to Israel and the Palestinians, to Somalia and Kosovo, recent history is replete with powerful military forces being tied up by seemingly weaker opponents. This is Fourth Generation War (4GW), and Colonel Thomas Hammes, United States Marine Corps, tells you all about it. The author explains asymetrical warfare (4GW) as the means by which Davids can defeat Goliaths.Answers to the "hows" of this along with recommendations for prescriptive actions are found in Thomas Hammes insightful book on the strengths and weaknesses of coventional military power. Hammes, a full colonel on active duty in the Marine Corps is an expert at asymetrical warfare, perhaps better known as fourth generation warfare (4GW). This is the means by which Davids can defeat Goliaths.Colonel Hammes is well placed to write this study. As a career-Marine he has trained 4GW warriors in some places and fought against them in others. He has also made a lifelong study of military history which helps him illuminate the previous three generations of armed conflict and define and detail the newest, fourth generation of war.- An insider's look at the military dilemma now facing U.S. forces worldwide- Gives historical examples to support the ideas behind the transformation of warfare in the 21st century- A handbook to understanding asymetrical warfare"Colonel Hammes cuts to the quick in defining the conundrum of dealing with twenty-first century warfare, the competing concepts of its nature and its management. His is a controversial analysis which is bound to raise the hackles of today's techno warriors ."-Bernard Trainor, Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret.), NBC News military analyst, co-author of The Generals"Based in history and current events, Tom Hammes explains the nasty, long-term, broad-spectrum wars we have fought

Author Notes

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a career Marine, Thomas X. Hammes has spent most of his twenty-nine years on active duty serving in infantry and intelligence assignments. One of the first authors to define fourth generation warfare, Colonel Hammes has written numerous articles for defense journals and lectured at war and staff colleges. His writing has also appeared on the opinion page of The Washington Post. Hammes lives with his family in Northern, Virginia

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Hammes is a career Marine Corps officer, and with this selection, he argues that the U.S. has adapted poorly in response to the new generation of guerrilla warfare. Fourth-generation warfare, as Hammes calls it, is what American forces encounter in Iraq and Afghanistan and Israelis find in Palestine, and it is the way of the future: guerrilla warfare characterized by political acumen and patience, using communications networks and strategic strikes to demoralize and exhaust conventionally superior militaries. For many military strategists, including those presently running the Defense Department, this new world order amounts to a call to newfangled technological arms, but for Hammes, smart bombs and spy drones are not the answer. The solution is to study our enemies as they have studied us and build a networked, flexible, and, here's the kicker, less hierarchical military structure that employs humans to fight the humans fighting us. As few as five years ago, such analysis would have had limited appeal, but in today's political climate, this concise, surprisingly readable book will attract a broad readership. --Brendan Driscoll Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Retired marine colonel Hammes maintains that modern warfare has evolved in four "generations," moving from the massed citizen armies of Napoleonic warfare to the apogee of firepower in World War I to the triumph of maneuver warfare in World War II. Finally, Hammes brings us up to fourth-generation warfare, or 4GW, from Mao to Vietnam, from the Sandinistas to the present. These conflicts show that superior political will can wear down a militarily superior adversary. A 4GW opponent fights across political, economic, social, and military spectrums to sap an adversary's will to continue fighting. Despite the emergence of transnational 4GW opponents like al Qaeda, the absence of a credible conventional threat, and past 4GW experiences in Vietnam, Somalia, and now Iraq, the U.S. defense establishment remains fixated on defeating a 3GW enemy. Instead of expensive weapons, we must, according to Hammes, invest in human capital, developing expertise in an adversary's language, culture, and history. Hammes offers a compellingly reasoned and supported argument that we need to reconsider how to defeat nonconventional threats to our national security. Recommended for military history and national security collections.-Edward J. Metz, USACGSC Combined Arms Research Lib., Ft. Leavenworth, KS (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. vii
1 Four Generations of Warfarep. 1
2 The First Two Generations of Modern Warp. 16
3 Transition to Third-Generation Warfarep. 23
4 Changes in Societyp. 32
5 Mao and the Birth of Fourth-Generation Warp. 44
6 The Vietnamese Modificationp. 56
7 The Sandinista Refinementp. 76
8 The Intifada: Civilians versus an Armyp. 89
9 The al-Aqsa Intifadap. 111
10 Al-Qaeda: A Transnational Enemyp. 130
11 Afghanistan: A Tribal Networkp. 153
12 Iraq: High-Tech versus Fourth-Generationp. 172
13 Technology: Not a Panaceap. 190
14 Characteristics of Fourth-Generation Warp. 207
15 Where to from Here?p. 224
16 Evaluating the Threatp. 246
17 The Future Is Flexibilityp. 273
End Notesp. 292
Referencesp. 296
Indexp. 311