In the midst of seemingly perpetual conflicts, it’s interesting to understand the nuanced nature of war and the variety of views that are used to justify action that steps beyond non-violent resistance. On Guerilla Warfare vividly illustrates the desperation that leads a group of people to resort to guerilla tactics. Rather than simply demonizing guerilla fighters as a disruption to efforts in attaining some form of global tranquility, Mao Tse-tung explains the mindset of the guerilla fighter.
Translated by Samuel B. Griffith II, On Guerilla Warfare provides a concise venture into the mindset of a guerilla fighter. Extending beyond a simple explanation of tactics, Mao Tse-tung explains the delicate balance between the guerilla as a soldier and the guerilla as an activist/organizer. Although brief in nature, the book manages to explain the realities of guerilla warfare rather than perpetuating the stereotype of the hardened, professional traipsing through the jungle.
Tse-tung explains the many facets of guerilla warfare including organizational structure, overarching strategy, methods of resupply, and recruitment. In addition Tse-tung delineates the varying methods through which guerillas can be utilized alongside regular military troops. Although On Guerilla Warfare is full of information on the technicalities of military insurgency, it also peppered with inspirational and philosophical knowledge regarding the nature of resistance.
Personally, I think On Guerilla Warfare is useful information for any soldier. It explains the mindset of the guerilla fighter (or the insurgent fighter) and illuminates the similarities in tactics between traditional and non-traditional soldiers. Tse-tung brings a certain sense of relevance in showing that war is not simply a one-sided endeavor.