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Private Military Security Companies Reading List


The content provided on the reading lists is for educational and informational purposes. The sources of the content are cited, and the content used represents a small portion of the whole.

The use of the content, in such context and circumstance, falls under “Fair Use” pursuant of Section 107 of the Copyright Act. If you are the copyright owner and wish to have your content removed, please contact Corey Parson at

Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror

Erik Prince, 2013

“In Civilian Warriors, Prince pulls no punches and spares no details. He explains his original goal of building an elite center for military and law enforcement training. He recounts how the company shifted gears after 9/11. He honors our troops while challenging the Pentagon's top leadership. And he reveals why highly efficient private military contractors have been essential to running our armed forces, since long before Blackwater came along. Above all, Prince debunks myths about Blackwater that spread while he was forced to remain silent-myths that tarnished the memory of men who gave their lives for their country but never got the recognition they deserved.”

Prince, Erik. Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror. Portfolio, 2013.

Executive Outcomes: Against All Odds

Eeben Barlow, 2007


“Executive Outcomes is the model on which all Private Military Companies (PMCs) operating in Iraq and Afghanistan are based. Founder Eeben Barlow in the early 1990s originally offered courses in intelligence to South Africa's Special Forces and security work to De Beers' diamond mining industry. This was greatly expanded in 1993 when an oil company offered EO a contract to provide security for its staff while they recovered valuable drilling equipment stranded at the Angolan oil port of Soyo - after its capture by UNITA rebels.”

Barlow, Eeben. Executive Outcomes: Against All Odds. Galago, 2007.

Composite Warfare: The Conduct of Successful Ground Forces Operations in Africa

Eeben Barlow, 2015


“This book is intended as a guide and textbook for African soldiers and scholars who wish to understand the development of hostilities, strategy, operational design, doctrine and tactics. It also illustrates the importance of nonpartisanship and the mission and role of the armed forces. Officers, NCOs and their subordinates need to, furthermore, understand their role in defending and protecting the government and the people they serve.”

Barlow, Eeben. Composite Warfare: The Conduct of Successful Ground Forces Operations in Africa. 30 Degrees South, Pinetown, South Africa, 2015.

Blood Money: Stories of an ex-Recce’s Missions in Iraq

Johan Raath, 2018


“Johan Raath and a security team were ambushed in May 2004 while on a mission to reconnoitre a power plant south of Baghdad for an American firm. He had been in the country for only two weeks. This was a taste of what was to come over the next few years as he worked as a private military contractor (PMC) in Iraq.

“His mission? Not to wage war but to protect lives. Raath and his team provided security for engineers working on reconstruction projects in Iraq. Whether in the notorious Triangle of Death, in the deadly area around Ramadi or in the faction-ridden Basra, Raath had numerous hair-raising experiences. Key to his survival was his training as a Special Forces operator, or Recce.

“This riveting account offers a rare glimpse into the world of private military contractors and the realities of everyday life in one of the world’s most violent conflict zones.”

Congo Warriors

Mike Hoare, 1991


“An account of the part that mercenaries played during the uprising in the Congo in 1964. Prime Minister Moise Tshombe called in white mercenary soldiers to support the Congolese National Army in suppressing the armed soldiers, or "Simbas". The author commanded a unit of these mercenaries.”

Hoare, Mike. Congo Warriors. Robert Hale Ltd, 1991.

Contractors and War: The Transformation of United States’ Expeditionary Operations (Stanford Security Studies)

Christopher Kinsey, Malcolm Hugh Patterson (editors), 2012


“The U.S. military is no longer based on a Cold War self-sufficient model. Today's armed forces are a third smaller than they were during the Cold War, and yet are expected to do as much if not more than they did during those years. As a result, a transformation is occurring in the way the U.S. government expects the military to conduct operations—with much of that transformation contingent on the use of contractors to deliver support to the armed forces during military campaigns and afterwards.

Contractors and War explains the reasons behind this transformation and evaluates how the private sector will shape and be shaped by future operations. The authors are drawn from a range of policy, legislative, military, legal, and academic backgrounds. They lay out the philosophical arguments supporting the use of contractors in combat and stabilization operations and present a spectrum of arguments that support and criticize emergent private sector roles. The book provides fresh policy guidance to those who will research, direct, and carry out future deployments.”

Kinsey, Christopher and Malcolm Hugh Patterson (eds.). Contractors and War: The Transformation of United States’ Expeditionary Operations (Stanford Security Studies). Stanford Security Studies, 2012.

Corporate Soldiers and International Security: The Rise of Private Military Companies (Contemporary Security Studies)

Christopher Kinsey, 2006


“Christopher Kinsey examines the mercenary companies that filled the ranks of many European armies right up to the 1850s, the organizations that operated in Africa in the 1960s and early 1970s, the rise of legally established private military companies in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and today’s private and important actors in international security and post-conflict reconstruction.”

Kinsey, Christopher. Corporate Soldiers and International Security: The Rise of Private Military Companies (Contemporary Security Studies). Routledge, 2006.

Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, Updated Edition (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs)

P.W. Singer, 2007


“In Corporate Warriors, Singer provides the first account of the military services industry and its broader implications. Corporate Warriors includes a description of how the business works, as well as portraits of each of the basic types of companies: military providers that offer troops for tactical operations; military consultants that supply expert advice and training; and military support companies that sell logistics, intelligence, and engineering.”

Singer, P. W. Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, Updated Edition (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs). Cornell University Press, 2007.

From Mercenaries to Market: The Rise and Regulation of Private Military Companies

Simon Chesterman, Chia Lehnardt (editors), 2007


“Executive Outcomes turned around an orphaned conflict in Sierra Leone in the mid-1990s; Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI) was instrumental in shifting the balance of power in the Balkans, enabling the Croatian military to defeat Serb forces and clear the way for the Dayton negotiations; in Iraq, estimates of the number of private contractors on the ground are in the tens of thousands. As they assume more responsibilities in conflict and post-conflict settings, their growing significance raises fundamental questions about their nature, their role in different regions and contexts, and their regulation. 

“This volume examines these issues with a focus on governance, in particular the interaction between regulation and market forces. It analyzes the current legal framework and the needs and possibilities for regulation in the years ahead. The book as a whole is organized around four sets of questions, which are reflected in the four parts of the book. First, why and how is regulation of PMCs now a challenging issue? Secondly, how have problems leading to a call for regulation manifested in different regions and contexts? Third, what regulatory norms and institutions currently exist and how effective are they? And, fourth, what role has the market to play in regulation?”

Chesterman, Simon (ed.) and Chia Lehnardt (ed.). From Mercenaries to Market: The Rise and Regulation of Private Military Companies. Oxford University Press, 2007.

Gunship Ace: The Wars of Neall Ellis, Helicopter Pilot and Mercenary

Al J. Venter, 2012


“This book describes the full career of the storied aerial warrior, Neall Ellis, from the bush and jungles of Africa to the forests of the Balkans and the merciless mountains of today's Afghanistan. Along the way the reader encounters a multiethnic array of enemies ranging from ideological to cold-blooded to pure evil, as well as well as examples of incredible heroism for hire.”

Venter, Al J. Gunship Ace: The Wars of Neall Ellis, Helicopter Pilot and Mercenary. Casemate, 2012.

Master of War: Blackwater USA's Erik Prince and the Business of War

Suzanne Simons, 2009


“Master of War is the riveting true story of Eric Prince, the ex-Navy SEAL who founded Blackwater and built the world’s largest military contractor, privatizing war for client nations around the world. A CNN producer and anchor, Suzanne Simons is the first journalist to get deep inside Blackwater—and, as a result of her unprecedented access, Master of War provides the most complete and revelatory account of the rise of this powerful corporate army and the remarkable entrepreneur who brought it into being, while offering an eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Simons, Suzanne. Master of War: Blackwater USA's Erik Prince and the Business of War. Harper, 2009.

Mercenaries and their Masters: Warfare in Renaissance Italy

Michael Edward Mallet, 1974 (republished in 2009)


“The book concentrates on the fifteenth century, a confused period of turbulence and transition when standing armies were formed in Italy and more modern types of military organization took hold across Europe. But it also looks back to the middle ages and the fourteenth century, and forward to the Italian wars of the sixteenth century when foreign armies disputed the European balance of power on Italian soil.”

Mallet, Michael Edward. Mercenaries and their Masters: Warfare in Renaissance Italy. Pen and Sword, 2009.

Mercenaries in Asymmetric Conflicts

Scott Fitzsimmons, 2012


“Scott Fitzsimmons argues that small mercenary groups must maintain a superior military culture to successfully engage and defeat larger and better-equipped opponents. By developing and applying competing constructivist and neorealist theories of military performance to four asymmetric wars in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, he demonstrates how mercenary groups that strongly emphasize behavioral norms encouraging their personnel to think creatively, make decisions on their own, take personal initiative, communicate accurate information within the group, enhance their technical proficiency and develop a sense of loyalty to their fellow fighters will exhibit vastly superior tactical capabilities to other mercenary groups. Fitzsimmons demonstrates that although the victorious mercenary groups occasionally had access to weapon systems unavailable to their opponents, the balance of material capabilities fielded by the opposing military forces had far less influence on the outcome of these asymmetric conflicts than the culturally determined tactical behavior exhibited by their personnel.”

Fitzsimmons, Scott. Mercenaries in Asymmetric Conflicts. Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Mercenaries in the Classical World: To the Death of Alexander

Stephen English, 2012


“Mercenaries were a significant factor in many of the wars of the Classical world, being employed in large numbers by many states. By far the most famous were Xenophon's 'Ten Thousand', who had to cut their way out of the Persian Empire after the death of their employer and such Greek infantry were for long the most dominant type (even a Spartan king hiring himself out in one case), but there was a wide variety of mercenaries available. Some, such as Celts and Thracians were hired largely for their love of fighting, while others were valued for their specialist skills, such as Cretan archers or slingers from Rhodes or the Balearic Islands. This will be the first full-length book on the subject since 1997. It will examine the role of the mercenaries and their influence on the wars of the period down to the death of Alexander the Great, who employed them and why, and will also look at the social and economic pressures that drove tens of thousands to make a living of fighting for the highest bidder, despite the intense dangers of the ancient battlefield.”

English, Stephen. Mercenaries in the Classical World: To the Death of Alexander. Frontline Books, 2012.

Mercenaries, Pirates, and Sovereigns: State-Building and Extraterritorial Violence in Early Modern Europe

Janice E. Thomson, 1994


The contemporary organization of global violence is neither timeless nor natural, argues Janice Thomson. It is distinctively modern. In this book, she examines how the present arrangement of the world into violence-monopolizing sovereign states evolved over the six preceding centuries.

Thomson, Janice E. Mercenaries, Pirates, and Sovereigns: State-Building and Extraterritorial Violence in Early Modern Europe. Princeton University Press, 1994.

Mercenaries: Putting the World to Rights with Hired Guns

Al J. Venter, 2014


“In this book noted author and foreign correspondent Al Venter provides a fascinating look at modern merc actions in the Middle East and Africa. From brushfire wars in the Congo to outright genocides in Biafra, highly skilled mercenaries were called upon to fight for order, and also for a living. Whether facing fanatics in Somalia or revolutionaries in Rhodesia, staving off cannibals in Sierra Leone or assisting a civil war in Angola the mercs put their lives on the line for a cause.”

Venter, Al J. Mercenaries: Putting the World to Rights with Hired Guns. Casemate, 2014.

Mercenaries: The History of a Norm in International Relations

Sarah Percy, 2007


“The book examines four puzzles about mercenary use, and argues that they can only be explained by understanding the norm against mercenaries. First, the book argues that moral disapproval of mercenaries led to the disappearance of independent mercenaries from medieval Europe. Second, the transition from armies composed of mercenaries to citizen armies in the nineteenth century can only be understood with attention to the norm against mercenaries. Third, it is impossible to understand why international law regarding mercenaries, created in the 1970s and 1980s, is so ineffective without understanding the norm. Finally, the disappearance of companies like Executive Outcomes and Sandline and the development of today's private security industry cannot be understood without the norm.”

Percy, Sarah. Mercenaries: The History of a Norm in International Relations. Oxford University Press, 2007.

Patriots for Profit: Contractors and the Military in U.S. National Security (Stanford Security Studies)

Thomas Bruneau, 2011


“This book develops a new approach to the analysis of civil-military relations by focusing on the effectiveness of the armed forces in fulfilling roles & missions, and on their efficiency in terms of cost. The approach is applied to the United States using official documents and interviews with policy-makers. In addition to analyzing the impact of defense reform initiatives over the past thirty years, the book includes the recent phenomenon of "contracting-out" security that has resulted in greater numbers of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan than uniformed military personnel.”

Bruneau, Thomas. Patriots for Profit: Contractors and the Military in U.S. National Security. Stanford Security Studies, 2011.

Private Armies and Military Intervention

David Shearer, 1998


“The nature and role of paid foreign forces have altered considerably in the late twentieth century. ‘Military companies’ – private firms providing active military assistance, in some cases involving combat – have exploited the increasing reluctance of Western governments and multilateral organizations to intervene directly in civil conflicts. As a result, their influence has increased. David Shearer argues that the debate over the use of these companies – notably the South African firm Executive Outcomes (EO) – has not, however, kept pace with their development. Companies such as EO are widely seen as merely modern-day mercenary outfits exploiting violence for private gain.”

Shearer, David. Private Armies and Military Intervention. Routledge, 1998.

Private Contractors and the Reconstruction of Iraq: Transforming Military Logistics

Christopher Kinsey, 2009


Private Contractors and the Reconstruction of Iraq examines the controversial role of military contractors in the reconstruction of Iraq. When 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' was launched in March 2003, few, if any, of the Coalition's political leaders could have envisaged that within a few months the number of private contractors engaged to keep the troops supplied would exceed their actual combat strength. This alternative 'army' was not only to become the largest assemblage of contractors in living memory to accompany a military force into a war zone, but was also responsible for a fundamental transformation of how military logistics were delivered.

Kinsey, Christopher. Private Contractors and the Reconstruction of Iraq: Transforming Military Logistics. Routledge, 2009.

Private Military and Security Companies and States: Force Divided (New Security Challenges)

Christopher Spearin, 2017


“This book identifies and explains the functional and ideational boundaries regarding what states and Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) both do and possess regarding land power, sea power, and air power. Whereas the mercenaries, privateers, and chartered companies of years past held similar characteristics to state military forces, the PMSCs of today are dissimilar for two reasons: a conventional forces norm amongst states and a state proclivity towards the offensive. These factors reveal both the limitations of and the possibilities for contemporary security privatization. This volume is ideal for civilian and military practitioners and students wishing to develop a detailed understanding of what the private military and security industry has to offer and why it is structured the way it is.”

Spearin, Christopher. Private Military and Security Companies and States: Force Divided. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Private Military and Security Companies in International Law: A Challenge for Non-binding Norms: The Montreux Document and the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers

Corinna Seiberth, 2014


“Many states view Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) as crucial to implement their security policy. However, reoccurring incidents of human rights violations have led the international community, private sector and civil society to acknowledge the need for more control. This book examines the promises and dangers of emerging non-binding PMSC regulation alongside more traditional forms of law-making such as plans for an international convention on the use of PMSCs.”
Seiberth, Corinna. Private Military and Security Companies in International Law: A Challenge for Non-binding Norms: The Montreux Document and the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers. Intersentia, 2014.

Private Military and Security Companies: Ethics, Policies and Civil-Military Relations (Routledge Military Studies)

Andrew Alexandra, Deane-Peter Baker, Marina Caparini (editors), 2008


“This edited volume provides an interdisciplinary overview of PMSCs: what they are, why they have emerged in their current form, how they operate, their current and likely future military, political, social and economic impact, and the moral and legal constraints that do and should apply to their operation. The book focuses firstly upon normative issues raised by the development of PMSCs, and then upon state regulation and policy towards PMSCs, examining finally the impact of PMSCs on civil-military relations. It takes an innovative approach, bringing theory and empirical research into mutually illuminating contact. Includes contributions from experts in IR, political theory, international and corporate law, and economics, and also breaks important new ground by including philosophical discussions of PMSCs.”

Alexandra, Andrew, Deane-Peter Baker and Marina Caparini (eds.). Private Military and Security Companies: Ethics, Policies and Civil-Military. Routledge, 2008.

Private Security Companies during the Iraq War: Military Performance and the Use of Deadly Force (Cass Military Studies)

Scott Fitzsimmons, 2016


“The work focuses on and compares the activities of the US companies Blackwater and Dyncorp. Despite sharing several important characteristics, such as working for the same client (the US State Department) during the same time period, the employees of Blackwater fired their weapons far more often, and killed and seriously injured far more people in Iraq than their counterparts in DynCorp. In order to explain this disparity, the book undertakes the most comprehensive analysis ever attempted on the use of violence by the employees of these firms.”

Fitzsimmons, Scott. Private Security Companies during the Iraq War: Military Performance and the Use of Deadly. Routledge, 2017.

Private Security Companies: Transforming Politics and Security in the Czech Republic (Central and Eastern European Perspectives on International Relations)

Oldrich Bureš, 2015


“This study presents intriguing analysis of the impact of private security companies' practices upon the fields of security and politics in the Czech Republic. It situates cases concerning ABL, the biggest Czech private security company, in the larger social, political, legal and economic contexts of the booming private security business. This company's extensive linkages with Czech politics suggest that the continued absence of specific legislation for the regulation of private security companies' activities is due to too much, rather than too little, political interest in their activities. This is problematic, arguably, because the practices of private security companies have already contributed to a significant transformation of the Czech security field by enhancing the commodification and depoliticization of security, while ABL's use of security methods for political purposes and a business approach to politics have profoundly transformed the field of politics. Reflecting the growing interest in the privatization of security, this timely study unpacks the relationship between politics, business and security in the Czech Republic.”

Bureš, Oldrich. Private Security Companies: Transforming Politics and Security in the Czech Republic.  Palgrave Macmillian, 2015.

Private Security Contractors and New Wars: Risk, Law, and Ethics (Contemporary Security Studies)

Kateri Carmola, 2010


“This book analyzes the growing industry of the private military and security companies (PMSCs) used in warzones and other high risk areas. PMSCs are the result of a unique combination of circumstances, including a change in the idea of soldiering, insurance industry analyses that require security contractors, and a need for governments to distance themselves from potentially criminal conduct. The book argues that PMSCs are a unique type of organization, combining attributes from worlds of the military, business, and humanitarian organizations. This makes them particularly resistant to oversight.  The legal status of these companies and those they employ is also hard to ascertain, which weakens the multiple regulatory tools available. PMSCs also fall between the cracks in ethical debates about their use, seeming to be both justifiable and objectionable. This transformation in military operations is a seemingly irreversible product of more general changes in the relationship between the individual citizen and the state.”

Carmola, Kateri. Private Security Contractors and New Wars: Risk, Law, and Ethics. Routledge, 2011.

Privatizing War: Private Military and Security Companies under Public International Law

Lindsey Cameron, Vincent Chetail, 2013


“A growing number of states use private military and security companies (PMSCs) for a variety of tasks, which were traditionally fulfilled by soldiers. This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the law that applies to PMSCs active in situations of armed conflict, focusing on international humanitarian law. It examines the limits in international law on how states may use private actors, taking the debate beyond the question of whether PMSCs are mercenaries. The authors delve into issues such as how PMSCs are bound by humanitarian law, whether their staff are civilians or combatants, and how the use of force in self-defence relates to direct participation in hostilities, a key issue for an industry that operates by exploiting the right to use force in self-defence. Throughout, the authors identify how existing legal obligations, including under state and individual criminal responsibility should play a role in the regulation of the industry.”

Cameron, Lindsey and Vincent Chetail. Privatizing War: Private Military and Security Companies under Public International Law. Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Routledge Handbook of Private Security Studies

Rita Abrahamsen, Anna Leander (editors), 2015


“The increasing privatization of security across the globe has been the subject of much debate and controversy, inciting fears of private warfare and even the collapse of the state. This volume provides the first comprehensive overview of the range of issues raised by contemporary security privatization, offering both a survey of the numerous roles performed by private actors and an analysis of their implications and effects. Ranging from the mundane to the spectacular, from secretive intelligence gathering and neighbourhood surveillance to piracy control and warfare, this Handbook shows how private actors are involved in both domestic and international security provision and governance. It places this involvement in historical perspective, and demonstrates how the impact of security privatization goes well beyond the security field to influence diverse social, economic and political relationships and institutions. Finally, this volume analyses the evolving regulation of the global private security sector. Seeking to overcome the disciplinary boundaries that have plagued the study of private security, the Handbook promotes an interdisciplinary approach and contains contributions from a range of disciplines, including international relations, politics, criminology, law, sociology, geography and anthropology.”

Abrahamsen, Rita and Anna Leander (eds.). Routledge Handbook of Private Security Studies. Routledge, 2015.

Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq

David Isenberg, 2008


“From their limited use in China during World War II, for example, to their often clandestine use in Vietnam ferrying supplies before the war escalated in 1964 and 1965 when their role became more prominent-and public-private military contractors (PMCs) have played made essential contributions to the success and failures of the military and United States. Today, with an emphasis on force restructuring mandated by the Pentagon, the role of PMCs, and their impact on policy-making decisions is at an all time peak. This work analyzes that impact, focusing specifically on PMCs in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Isenberg dissects their responsibilities, the friction that exists between contractors and military commanders, problems of protocol and accountability, as well as the problems of regulation and control that PMC companies create for domestic politics.”

Isenberg, David. Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq. Praeger, 2008.

State Control over Private Military and Security Companies in Armed Conflict (Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law)

Hannah Tonkin, 2011


“The past two decades have witnessed the rapid proliferation of private military and security companies (PMSCs) in armed conflicts around the world, with PMSCs participating in, for example, offensive combat, prisoner interrogation and the provision of advice and training. The extensive outsourcing of military and security activities has challenged conventional conceptions of the state as the primary holder of coercive power and raised concerns about the reduction in state control over the use of violence. Hannah Tonkin critically analyses the international obligations on three key states - the hiring state, the home state and the host state of a PMSC - and identifies the circumstances in which PMSC misconduct may give rise to state responsibility. This analysis will facilitate the assessment of state responsibility in cases of PMSC misconduct and set standards to guide states in developing their domestic laws and policies on private security.”
Tonkin, Hannah. State Control over Private Military and Security Companies in Armed Conflict. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

States, Citizens and the Privatisation of Security

Elke Krahmann, 2010


“Recent years have seen a growing role for private military contractors in national and international security. To understand the reasons for this, Elke Krahmann examines changing models of the state, the citizen and the soldier in the UK, the US and Germany. She focuses on both the national differences with regard to the outsourcing of military services to private companies and their specific consequences for the democratic control over the legitimate use of armed force. Tracing developments and debates from the late eighteenth century to the present, she explains the transition from the centralized warfare state of the Cold War era to the privatized and fragmented security governance, and the different national attitudes to the privatization of force.”

Krahmann, Elke. States, Citizens and the Privatisation of Security. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

The Hessian Mercenary State: Ideas, Institutions, and Reform under Frederick II, 1760-1785

Charles W. Ingrao, 1986


“In 1776 Landgrave Frederick II of Hesse-Cassel dispatched 19,000 'auxiliaries' to assist the British in the American Revolution. While Frederick's action continues to color Americans' view of him, his 'enlightened' use of the funds from the soldier trade for domestic initiatives is less well known. In analyzing the origins, course, and effectiveness of domestic policymaking in Hesse-Cassel, Charles Ingrao finds that Frederick was neither as evil as we might think nor as enlightened as we might like to believe. By examining the interplay of Enlightenment ideas with entrenched Christian values, cameralist tenets, and militaristic tendencies, Professor Ingrao downplays the 'enlightenment' component in enlightened government. He also places greater emphasis on the constructive role and active cooperation of corporate bodies than have studies of similar states in the eighteenth century. The impact of the regime's numerous reforms was limited by its adherence to established values, its respect for existing institutions, its reluctance to sacrifice the welfare of any element of the population, and its failure to anticipate the unwelcome consequences of many of its initiatives. Professor Ingrao's findings stress the impracticality of dramatic change in the pre-revolutionary era - or in any pre-revolutionary society.”

Ingrao, Charles W. The Hessian Mercenary State: Ideas, Institutions, and Reform under Frederick II, 1760-1785. Cambridge University Press, 1986.

The Lost Army

Valerio Manfredi, 2009


“In The Lost Army Valerio Massimo Manfredi, one of the world's historical experts, has created a rip-roaring adventure seen from the perspective of the women who accompanied the soldiers on their long quest to seize the throne of Persia from Artaxerxes II. An intense account of the most celebrated march in man's history, by the acclaimed author of the Alexander trilogy.”

Manfredi, Valerio. The Lost Army. Pan Boks, 2009.

The Markets for Force: Privatization of Security Across World Regions

Molly Dunigan, Ulrich Petersohn (editors), 2015


“The Markets for Force examines and compares the markets for private military and security contractors in twelve nations: Argentina, Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Russia, Afghanistan, China, Canada, and the United States. Editors Molly Dunigan and Ulrich Petersohn argue that the global market for force is actually a conglomeration of many types of markets that vary according to local politics and geostrategic context. Each case study investigates the particular characteristics of the region's market, how each market evolved into its current form, and what consequence the privatized market may have for state military force and the provision of public safety. The comparative standpoint sheds light on better-known markets but also those less frequently studied, such as the state-owned and -managed security companies in China, militaries working for private sector extractive industries in Ecuador and Peru, and the ways warlord forces overlap with private security companies in Afghanistan.”

Dunigan, Molly and Ulrich Petersohn (eds.). The Markets for Force: Privatization of Security Across World Regions. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.

The Mercenaries

Anthony Mockler, 1969



The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order

Sean McFate, 2017


“In The Modern Mercenary, Sean McFate lays bare this opaque world, explaining the economic structure of the industry and showing in detail how firms operate on the ground. A former U.S. Army paratrooper and private military contractor, McFate provides an unparalleled perspective into the nuts and bolts of the industry, as well as a sobering prognosis for the future of war.”

McFate, Sean. The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order. Oxford University Press, 2017.

The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies

James Pattison, 2014


The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies provides a detailed assessment of the moral arguments for and against the use of PMSCs. In doing so, it considers objections to private force at the employee, employer, and international levels.” 
Pattison, James. The Morality of Private War: The Challenge of Private Military and Security Companies. Oxford University Press, 2014. 

The Routledge Research Companion to Security Outsourcing 

Joakim Berndtsson, Christopher Kinsey, 2016


“Conveniently structured into five sections, The Routledge Research Companion to Outsourcing Security offers an overview of the different ways in which states have come to rely on private contractors to support interventions.” 
Berndtsson, Joakim and Christopher Kinsey. The Routledge Research Companion to Security Outsourcing. Routledge, 2016. 

The Seychelles Affair

Mike Hoare, 2008 (originally published in 1986)


“The "Seychelles Affair" is one of the most infamous episodes in the tangled history of mercenary warfare in Africa. The story of the ill-fated coup begins in 1978 when representatives of the exiled Seychelles president approached legendary mercenary commander Mike Hoare - who had successfully led the uprisings in the Congo in the early 1960s - to overthrow the Marxist regime then in power. 
“In the exclusive new foreword to this Paladin reprint, Colonel Hoare sheds new light on the events leading up to the failed coup, discusses the lingering ramifications of the failure on the nation of Seychelles and relates how his conviction affected his life after he got out of prison.” 
Hoare, Mike. The Seychelles Affair. Paladin Press, 2008. 

Victory for Hire: Private Security Companies’ Impact on Military Effectiveness

Molly Dunigan, 2011


“At peak utilization, private security contractors (PSCs) constituted a larger occupying force in Iraq and Afghanistan than did U.S. troops. Yet, no book has so far assessed the impact of private security companies on military effectiveness. Filling that gap, Molly Dunigan reveals how the increasing tendency to outsource missions to PSCs has significant ramifications for both tactical and long-term strategic military effectiveness—and for the likelihood that the democracies that deploy PSCs will be victorious in warfare, both over the short- and long-term.” 
Dunigan, Molly. Victory for Hire: Private Security Companies’ Impact on Military Effectiveness. Stanford Security Studies, 2011. 

War Dog: Fighting Other People's Wars - The Modern Mercenary in Combat

Al J. Venter, 2006


“Mercenaries have been with us since the dawn of civilization, yet in the modern world they are little understood. While many of today’s freelance fighters provide support for larger military establishments, others wage war where the great powers refuse to tread. In War Dog, Al Venter examines the latter world of mercenary fighters effecting decisions by themselves. In the process he unveils a remarkable array of close-quarters combat action. 
“Having personally visited every locale he describes throughout Africa and the Middle East, Venter is the rare correspondent who had to carry an AK-47 in his research along with his notebook and camera. To him, covering mercenary actions meant accompanying the men into the thick of combat. During Sierra Leone’s civil war, he flew in the front bubble of the government’s lone Hind gunship—piloted by the heroic chopper ace “Nellis”—as it flew daily missions to blast apart rebel positions. In this book the author not only describes the battles of the legendary South African mercenary company Executive Outcomes, he knew the founders personally and joined them on a number of actions. After stemming the tide of Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA army in Angola (an outfit many of the SA operators had previously trained), Executive Outcomes headed north to hold back vicious rebels in West Africa.” 
Venter, Al J. War Dog: Fighting Other People's Wars - The Modern Mercenary in Combat. Casemate, 2008. 

Zero Footprint: The True Story of a Private Military Contractor's Covert Assignments in Syria, Libya, And the World's Most Dangerous Places

Simon Chase, Ralph Pezzullo, 2016


“The missions in Zero Footprint will shock readers, but so will the personal dangers. Chase and the men he works with operate without government backup or air rescue. If they die serving their country—they remain anonymous. There are no military honors or benefits. Contractors like Simon Chase are the unsung heroes in the war against terrorism, a strong, but largely invisible force—until now.” 
Chase, Simon and Ralph Pezzullo. Zero Footprint: The True Story of a Private Military Contractor's Covert Assignments in Syria, Libya, And the World's Most Dangerous Places. Mulholland Books, 2016. 

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