During World War I, Oxford-trained archeologist Lawrence of Arabia used his knowledge of the Middle East to help organize the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire. In this entertaining and insightful book, Jason Ridler profiles the intellectuals, outsiders, and eccentrics who followed in Lawrence’s footsteps across the next hundred years of warfare and who relied on creativity, curiosity, and outside-the-box thinking to shape battlefields from World War II and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. They were Ivy Leaguers and Oxford scholars, anthropologists and archeologists, an ad executive, an international activist, a Peace Corps veteran, an émigré journalist (and former teenage member of the French Resistance), a diplomat—mavericks and oddballs, men and women—who, not always heralded or heeded and sometimes hated, challenged traditional military thought and helped win wars, secure peace, and change the face of modern war.
Jason S. Ridler holds a PhD in war studies from the Royal Military College of Canada and is a former visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. He has published numerous articles on special forces, unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency, and military history. He is an adjunct professor at Norwich University and a teaching fellow at Johns Hopkins University. He lives in Berkeley, California.