Conventional and Unconventional War

A History of Conflict in the Modern World

by Thomas R. Mockaitis


How will conventional and unconventional methods of warfare continue to evolve in the 21st century?

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Cover image for Conventional and Unconventional War

February 2017


Pages 369
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Military History/Conflict and Wars
  Military History/Military Technology and Weapons

This volume offers a comprehensive history of warfare since 1648, covering conventional and unconventional operations and demonstrating how most modern wars have been hybrid affairs that involved both. The book uses a broad range of conflicts to explore the societal forces that have shaped wars.

Written by noted military historian Thomas R. Mockaitis, this book explores conventional and unconventional conflicts and considers the relationships between them. It considers how epic struggles like the American Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the conflicts in the Middle East, among many others, shaped human history. The coverage serves to highlight four themes: the relationship between armed forces and the societies that create them; the impact of technology (not just armaments) on warfare; the role of ideas and attitudes towards violence in determining why and how wars are fought; and the relationship between conventional and unconventional operations.

The book also covers the advent and evolution of unconventional warfare, including counterinsurgency, the War on Terror, and current conflicts in the Middle East. It concludes with consideration of the forms armed conflict will take in the future. The book includes valuable excerpts from the writings of military thinkers such as Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources, and supporting maps and diagrams.


  • Provides an in-depth discussion of terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the context of conventional and unconventional war
  • Presents authoritative information and critical insights from the perspective of an acknowledged expert on military history, counterinsurgency, and terrorism
  • Addresses the future of warfare, such as cyberwarfare and the use of drones, in the final chapter
  • Explains how specific technological advances affected warfare, such as the invention of gunpowder and the resulting revolution, and how the development of nuclear weapons and the risk of nuclear holocaust led to a return to limited war during a period in which deterrence rather than victory became the goal of strategists
Author Info

Thomas R. Mockaitis, PhD, is professor of history at DePaul University, Chicago, IL, where he teaches courses on conventional and unconventional conflict. His published works include numerous books and articles on counterinsurgency and terrorism, among them ABC-CLIO's The Iraq War: A Documentary and Reference Guide; Osama bin Laden: A Biography; Iraq and the Challenge of Counterinsurgency; The "New" Terrorism: Myths and Reality; and Peacekeeping and Intrastate Conflict: The Sword or the Olive Branch? Other books include British Counterinsurgency: 1919–1960 and British Counterinsurgency in the Post-Imperial Era. Mockaitis conducts counterterrorism programs internationally with other experts through the Center for Civil-Military Relations at the Naval Post-Graduate School. A frequent media commentator on terrorism and security matters, he has provided commentary on Public Television, National Public Radio, BBC World News, all major Chicago television stations, and various local radio programs. He appears regularly as a terrorism expert for WGN TV News. Mockaitis earned his bachelor's degree in European history from Allegheny College and his master's degree and doctorate in modern British and Irish history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He maintains a blog on contemporary security issues:



"Placing historical examples of irregular, guerrilla, asymmetric, and insurgent warfare in context is the author's strong suit, and he takes care to explain where those concepts overlap as well as where they do not. . . . Useful insights, both historical and historiographical, for general readers as well as academics and military professionals. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries."Choice

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