The Accidental Guerrilla by David Kilcullen 8/10
Really well written book about counter insurgency taking case studies from the authors vast personal experience, the book explains point by point the factors that produce insurgents and the best practice counter insurgency policies that have been most effective, breaking down areas where CI operations have failed.
Anyone who is familiar with counter insurgency theory at all is unlikely to find anything new in this book (because what works has been known for so long) but the case studies themselves are fascinating and full of really great details and things I was unaware of about many of the cultures involved.
He focuses on european extremism and why current policies for dealing with it really suck, he also talks about the thai insurgency (whose origins seem like a more clumsy but very similar situation to Frances recent and current policies) and the insurgency of East Timor where militants mobilised under a catholic shared identity despite a general lack of interest in catholic doctrine before and since the emergency. (And also kind of during it.)
Some criticisms I might make would be:
Many of Kilcullens anecdotes use somewhat elaborate prose that seems like it has an eye on NYT reviewers. Thats fine, I found it dull, many might like it, but it seems likey to alienate and turn off the people I think would most benefit from reading this book- Soldiers on the pointy end of CI policies understanding better what their actual job is and the bulk of the voting public whose view of what the current problems are, and solutions ought to be, seem pretty out of touch with best practice recommendations.
The narrator on audible was excellent and did a great job with pronouncing words from multiple languages, but an aussie accent might have been nice to help remind me that this was coming from the perspective of an Australian writer/observer as opposed to an American. It made some of the statements sound a little odd.
All in all, I really recommend this book along with The War of the Flea, which is a book on cold war insurgencies with remarkably similar conclusions and observations. A really short book too if I recall, less than 150 pages.