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THE MODERN MERCENARY

The Modern Mercenary is the critically acclaimed definitive work on contract warfare and durable disorder in the modern age.

Sean McFate delivers an arresting and divergent vision for the future of war that fastens itself on the brain and refuses to let go. The Modern Mercenary leverages a detailed analysis of private military companies and their role in recent wars to reveal a broader and more disturbing global trend: the dissipation of the current world order. This phenomenon, called Durable Disorder, encourages a free market for force in which anyone can buy the means to wage war. The world he reveals is dangerous, but there are opportunities to act strategically.

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THE MODERN MERCENARY

Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order

The United States can no longer go to war without contractors. Yet we don't know much about the private military industry. McFate lays bare this opaque world. He provides an unparalleled insider perspective as well as a sobering prognosis for the future of war. Private military companies are emerging from other countries. To understand how the proliferation of private force may influence international relations, McFate looks back to the European Middle Ages, when mercenaries and contract warfare were the norm. He concludes that the future may look more like the past. This "Back to the Future" situation is not necessarily negative, but it will produce a global system that contains rather than solves problems. 

“Fascinating and disturbing”
—The Economist

“Persuasive, unsettling and nonpolemical”

—Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review

AVAILABLE IN HARDCOVER, PAPERBACK, KINDLE, AND SOON AUDIO

 

REVIEWS

"Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand a new component of modern warfare. The prevalence of privatized military forces raises serious political, economic, and moral questions. In The Modern Mercenary, Sean McFate applies his years of experience as a US army paratrooper and private military contractor to explore these questions through invaluable case studies and penetrating analysis."

GENERAL STANLEY A. McCHRYSTAL, CO-FOUNDER, McCHRYSTAL GROUP

"The Modern Mercenary is an adrenalin-fueled jaunt through today's battlefields, where we find not just the armies of the state, but 'security professionals' whose considerable skills are available for hire. Writing from first-hand experience as a contractor in the field, Sean McFate helps us understand this complex world beyond the cartoon criticisms and film-inspired lore to see both the obvious dangers and the potential benefits provided by a shadowy industry."

ADMIRAL JAMES STAVRIDIS, FORMER SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER OF NATO, DEAN, THE FLETCHER SCHOOL OF LAW AND DIPLOMACY, TUFTS UNIVERSITY

 

"Mr. McFate writes with an insider's knowledge . . . the worrying trends he describes make this book a powerful call to arms to those who do not want a world awash with mercenaries."

THE ECONOMIST

"While making the case that contractors are a here-to-stay force, McFate points out that this has deep implications, both positive and negative, for modern warfare and international relations, and believes it's important to consider both sides."

THE NEW YORK POST

"The Modern Mercenary is filled with fascinating stuff, and its bottom line is that there is no stopping the continuing development of the market for force."

STRATEGY AND BUSINESS

"What McFate does best in this book is to add structure and sobriety to the discussion by classifying different types of mercenary services and firms, and to carefully and dispassionately lay out the arguments for and against a 'free market for force.' "

SCHOLARS AND ROGUES

"Thought-provoking . . . Some of [McFate's] stories have never been told before, which makes the book particularly valuable."

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

"The Iraq War and Blackwater may seem like yesterday's headlines, but the private military industry is still going strong. In The Modern Mercenary, a book powered by deep research and filled with fascinating details, Sean McFate deftly explores both the historic parallels of today's trade in military services for hire, and its likely future."

GP.W. SINGER, AUTHOR OF CORPORATE WARRIORS: THE RISE OF THE PRIVATIZED MILITARY AND CYBERSECURITY AND CYBERWAR: WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW

"McFate understands his subject from the inside. His excellent book shows convincingly the urgent need for our governments, and those who work for them, to grasp the consequences of their frequent use of private military companies before they lose control of them."

 

GENERAL SIR RUPERT SMITH, KCB DSO OBE QGM

"At last we have a serious academic study of the role of military contractors in the execution of modern warfare. The analysis of neo-medievalism and the privatization of conflict is especially thought-provoking--a must read for political leaders who are drawn into having to fight today's wars."

GENERAL SIR RICHARD DEARLOVE KCMG OBE, MASTER, PEMBROKE COLLEGE AND FORMER HEAD OF MI6

"McFate's persuasive, unsettling, and nonpolemical account describes the way PMSCs are changing the face of war."

PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY STARRED REVIEW

"[The Modern Mercenary] is a highly provocative and enriching addition to the literature on the private military industry and stands apart from much contemporary scholarship on the subject . . . McFate does a good job interweaving a rich and easy-to-read historical analysis with his overall thesis, drawing fascinating parallels between our medieval past-complete with mercenaries, military entrepreneurs and privatized warfare-and their post-modern contemporaries in an emerging neo-medieval present."

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

"The Modern Mercenary will reward anyone looking for a deeper understanding of market-driven contemporary conflict." 

WAR ON THE ROCKS

"A thoughtful, interesting read that may turn out to be scarily prescient in the years to come."
 

IO9

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Dr. Sean McFate

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