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

by A.A. Cohen
Foreword by John A. Nagl


David Galula's seminal work, Counterinsurgency: Theory and Practice evolved directly from a thesis he had written while attending the U.S. Armed Forces Staff College in 1960. The thesis itself was the product of 15 years of deliberation on how to counter communist subversion and revolution. Today, Galula's writings continue to be highly applicable and relevant to modern conflicts and theaters of war.

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Cover image for Galula

August 2012


Pages 347
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Military History/Military Strategy

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.

The product of years of extensive research made possible by exclusive access to Galula's personal papers as well as first-hand accounts from colleagues, family members, and friends, this book traces Galula's life from early childhood until death, describing his upbringing, education, and military career in the tumultuous historical context of his era. The author—a former counterinsurgency practitioner himself—pays particular attention to how the Chinese Revolution and the Algerian War affected Galula's views, and identifies Galula's mentors and the schools of thought within the French military that greatly influenced his writings.

A conclusion illuminates the contemporary and likely future validity of his works. In the epilogue, the author speaks to Galula's influence over modern military thought and U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine. This book is essential reading for individuals with an interest in counterinsurgency, Galula's writings, or Galula himself, such as military officers and civilian administrators undertaking counterinsurgency courses and training.


  • Based on never-before published information from Galula’s personal archives and exclusive interviews with family, friends, classmates, subordinates, and colleagues
  • Presents insightful descriptions of the revolutionary wars and characters that influenced Galula
  • Sheds light on Galula’s influence over U.S. and NATO counterinsurgency doctrines employed in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Provides enlightening contemporary analysis of Galula’s core themes, spotlighting their timelessness to morphing ideological struggles and insurrectionary paradigms
Author Info

A.A. Cohen is a decorated military veteran and has served as a strategic international trade advisor. He fought in Operation Enduring Freedom in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he was awarded the Chief of Defense Staff Commendation for outstanding initiative and motivation, and for establishing vital relationships with the local population.

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