Leo J. Daugherty III. Counterinsurgency and the United States Marine Corps, Volume 1, The First Counterinsurgency Era, 1899-1945. Jefferson: McFarland, 2015. Illustrations, maps. 412 pp. $55.00 (paper), ISBN 978-0-7864-9698-3.
Reviewed by Douglas Luccio (Air University, Air War College)
Published on H-War (April, 2016)
Commissioned by Margaret Sankey
Leo J. Daugherty III's book The First Counterinsurgency Era, the first volume in his multivolume work Counterinsurgency and the United States Marine Corps, provides a historical account of the US Marine Corps involvement in small wars from 1899 to 1945. The value of Daugherty's research is the level of attention and supporting documentation that he provides in his discussion of oft-forgotten conflicts in American history. While General David Patraeus is frequently heralded as the modern scholar on counterinsurgency (COIN), this book demonstrates that scholarly work and application has a history that was proven long before the Global War on Terror. Examples include involvement in the Philippines (1899-1903), the banana wars in Central America (1904-34), China (1923-29), Nicaragua (1926-33), and World War II (1941-44). COIN practitioners and historians will find value in this intellectual work. Attention to Evan Carlson's 2nd Raider Battalion is especially relevant to Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC), which refers to their regiment, three battalions, and Critical Skills Operators (CSOs) as Raider—a tie in to Carlson's and Merritt Edson's Raider Battalions of World War II.
Daugherty presents political context and diplomatic interests before presenting his ten vignettes. The vignettes richly detail task organizations, training schedules, maps, and pictures of key leaders. The author articulates challenges and successes of field commanders, troops, and implications to the populations they desired to influence. The presentation includes substantial primary source documentation and political context. The reader is able to appreciate the strategic and operational pressures on this largely tactical application of war. Detailed lists of commanders, staffs, and other participants enhance the nuance of historic reference that Daugherty presents.
This book has wide appeal. Historians will find value in the balanced view of the vignettes and extensive supporting bibliography. Scholars through Professional Military Education (PME) will find insight and details that offer a deep understanding of context as well as applicability to modern conflicts. Marines of all levels (noncommissioned officers through generals) will find this book to be a gold mine of the struggles and triumphs of legends. COIN scholars and trainers will appreciate the wide range of examples that can be used as learning points for their marines, soldiers, or special operators preparing for deployments.
This is an exceptional book that examines the Marine Corps COIN from 1899 to 1945. The labor of care the author demonstrates is apparent; he offers context that takes the reader to the time and place of events he describes. I am a big fan and look forward to reading Daugherty's previous books (The Marine Corps and the State Department: Enduring Partnership in the United States Foreign Policy, 1798-2007 ; Pioneers of Amphibious Warfare, 1898-1945: Profiles of Fourteen American Military Strategists ; and The Allied Resupply Effort in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II ), as well as future books that he is likely to write.
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Douglas Luccio. Review of Daugherty III, Leo J., Counterinsurgency and the United States Marine Corps, Volume 1, The First Counterinsurgency Era, 1899-1945.
H-War, H-Net Reviews.
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