“A remarkable book. . . . Col Schaefer’s book does a fine job in summarizing the breadth and depth of the conflict, and making the latest military thinking about insurgencies accessible, while steering clear of polemic or bias. This book tells you a lot about the Caucasus. And also about the brainpower assets of the American military."
"Schaefer’s debut is an in-depth critical assessment of the Russo-Chechen conflict that reflects a deep understanding of counterinsurgency in general and how it relates to that region specifically. . . . His reasoning is honest, well-researched and refreshingly free of partisan rhetoric. A tour de force in breadth and depth."
"A first-rate study that is part history, part counterinsurgency theory, and part predictive analysis. . . . The North Caucasus is a complex and bewildering ethnic and cultural mix that is hard for a foreigner to understand. Robert Schaefer has done much to overcome this through his thorough research and balanced approach. His history of the region and the post-Soviet phase is especially well done. . . . Strongly recommend."
"Enormously helpful in understanding the ongoing conflict in the North Caucasus, and the gnawing feeling of dread as Russia prepares to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. . . . Free of cynicism and romance. . . . It makes one wish military analysts had taken on the Afghan puzzle with similar energy, say, a decade or so back."
"Thoughtful and comprehensive analysis . . . useful to the policymaker. . . . Helps answer the paradox that most of those who have studied the region grappled with: Why have the Russians never succeeded in extinguishing this 300-year-old insurgency while, at the same time, the Chechens have never been able to win their independence?"
"A 'must-read' for those who are looking for answers about how to stop the brutality and violence in Southern Russia."
"Comprehensive and informative. . . . Schaefer’s informed analysis of the Chechen insurgency makes this a book that every student of counterinsurgency or the Caucasus region should own."
"This book presents the facts and gives the reader a basis for interpreting how much is hype, often Russian-proliferated hype, and how it differs from reality on the ground. It is a fascinating, engaging read about a region that receives too little coverage and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about the geopolitical realities of the North Caucasus."
"This work is perhaps the most current book on this Chechen war and is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the nuances of the conflict in the Caucasus. Schaefer’s work cuts through much of the anti-Chechen disinformation of other works and succeeds in providing a masterful overview of the ongoing Chechen insurgency in Russia with applications for those studying insurgencies in other areas such as Iraq or Afghanistan."
"Are you curious why Chechnya’s 400 year-old insurgency persists and the Sochi Olympics will likely 'bomb'? The answers are here. With laser-like precision, a matter-of-fact clarity and an adept pen, this Special Forces practioner demystifies our longest running graduate-level conflict. A practiced ‘COIN eye’ will recognize the nature of the Chechen war as the ensuing chapters move back and forth between the Maoist stages of protracted warfare and a 'bez predel' (without limits) conflict.
"Incisive, insightful -- in short, invaluable."
"A most interesting approach to understanding the Chechen and North Caucasus insurgency in the light of Western thinking about insurgency and counterinsurgency. The author rightly sees these phenomena as a single linked pattern and exposes Russia's strategic operations and their failures to the unforgiving light of day. Western students of the Chechen wars and of counterinsurgency and insurgency alike will benefit from this work that brings Russia's hidden war into the open."