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  • Hardcover
  • $30.00 / $39.00 CAN
  • ISBN 13: 9780465053933

"[Oppose Any Foe] needs to be taken seriously by policy makers."—Wall Street Journal

"[Oppose Any Foe] provides a good overview of the genesis, history, and thorny relationship these elite units have had within the American military."—New York Journal of Books

"[Oppose Any Foe] will serve as an invaluable and highly readable overview of SOF's history not just for those newly joining its ranks but also for anyone who seeks to know more about these glamorous and little-understood forces.... Given the extent to which the nation now relies on its special operators, it is imperative to better understand their background and culture. Moyar's book is an excellent starting point."—National Review

"Many books have been written about particular special operations services, units and/or missions. Oppose Any Foe...succeeds brilliantly in presenting a sweeping 100,000-foot view all the way down to ground, dirt, sweat and blood level. A must-read."
—American Spectator

"Moyar admires these elite units, and his enthusiastic, warts-and-all approach to discussing Special Forces fireworks will surely raise some eyebrows."
—Publishers Weekly

"A definitive account that reads like a well-crafted novel. Mark Moyar balances the audacity, egos, expertise, and mistakes that comprise the true history of America's Special Operations Forces to produce a fascinating story that is as instructive as it is entertaining. A must read for current and future policymakers."
—Stan McChrystal, General (ret), US Army, commander of Joint Special Operations Command, 2003-2008

"Oppose Any Foe is a superbly researched, wonderfully readable account of the evolution of America's Special Operations Forces, with very thoughtful-and thought-provoking-reflections on the employment of SOF in our recent wars. Oppose any Foe is, in particular, a fitting and timely tribute to the extraordinarily talented, courageous, and selfless Special Operators with whom I was privileged to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan."
—David Petraeus, General (ret.)commander of U.S. and coalition forces during the "surges" in Iraq and Afghanistan and, subsequently, Director of the CIA

"Mark Moyar's Oppose Any Foe is both a history and an analysis of America's formation and use of Special Operations units and their suitability for nonconventional and often stealthy operations. As in his past explorations, from Vietnam to the contemporary 'war on terror,' Moyar's work is characterized by exacting research and common sense. He is becoming our most engaging, analytical, and reliable historian of the postwar American military."
—Victor Davis Hanson, senior fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author of The Savior Generals

"This truly extraordinary book combines the scholarship of a profoundly impressive work of history with the white-knuckle tension of a thriller. The reader is naturally overawed with the sheer courage of the American Special Ops Forces, but also with the quality of their training, the depth of their professionalism, the acuity of their instincts, and the decency apparent in their innate modesty. Mark Moyar has done them, and us, a fine service in writing this groundbreaking book."
—Andrew Roberts, professor, War Studies Department, King's College, London

"Mark Moyar has written an important history of US Special Operations Forces that eloquently records their recent rise in prominence. In this well-referenced and highly readable book, Moyar highlights the chronic challenges that Special Operations Forces have faced in working for conventional commanders and describes the limits of the military instrument in its current configuration in achieving US foreign-policy objectives. He shows the need for fresh thinking on how America conducts its own irregular warfare activities and a better understanding by policymakers and their senior military advisors on what is possible through military force."
—Charles T. Cleveland, Lieutenant General (ret.), commander of the United States Army Special Operations Command, 2012-2015

"Historian Mark Moyar weaves together nuggets of history from Special Operations past to create an in-depth account of America's elite forces. But Oppose Any Foe's best part comes at the end. Moyar offers advice to future Special Operations Forces. Recommended reading for the current administration and future SOF leaders."
—Kevin Maurer, co-author of No Easy Day, the Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama Bin Laden

"It is exceptional to find a writer who has the diligence and depth of the careful scholar, with the skill to tell a rattling good tale-but Mark Moyar is that author. This is a masterly account of the rise of American Special Forces, a compelling account not just of the derring-do, but the Washington politics and organizational rivalries that went into forging the tip of the American armed forces' spear."
—Eliot A. Cohen, Robert E. Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies, Johns Hopkins SAIS, and author of The Big Stick

"Simply put, Oppose Any Foe is now the single best account available of US Special Operations Forces from their creation in World War Two to today's brushfire wars. An accomplished military historian, author Mark Moyar writes with the precision of a scholar and the vibrancy of a journalist. Moyar's sweeping history will superbly serve government and military professionals, and the nation's citizens, in fully understanding the extraordinary character and capabilities-and limitations-of this elite grouping of American warfighter."
—Dr. Kalev I. Sepp, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Special Operations and Counterterrorism

"Mark Moyar's first-rate book is the best popular history of the Special Operations Forces to date and will remain an indispensable source of information, with memorable personalities and dramatic battle scenes, for the foreseeable future."
—Thomas Henriksen, senior fellow, Hoover Institution, and author of Eyes, Ears, and Daggers

Oppose Any Foe

The Rise of America’s Special Operations Forces

By (author) Mark Moyar


Oppose Any Foe
is the epic story of America's most elite warriors: the Special Operations Forces. Born as small appendages to the conventional armies of World War II, the Special Operations Forces have grown into a behemoth of 70,000 troops, including Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces, Air Force Night Stalkers, Special Operations Marines, Rangers, and Delta Force. Weaving together their triumphs and tribulations, acclaimed historian Mark Moyar introduces a colorful cast of military men, brimming with exceptional talent, courage and selflessness.

In a nation where the military is the most popular institution, America's Special Operations Forces have become the most popular members of the military. Through nighttime raids on enemy compounds and combat advising of resistance movements, special operators have etched their names into the nation's registry of heroes. Yet the public knows little of the journey that they took to reach these heights, a journey that was neither easy nor glamorous.

Fighting an uphill battle for most of their seventy-five year history, the Special Operations Forces slipped on many an occasion, and fell far on several. Presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama have enthusiastically championed Special Operations Forces, but their enthusiasm has often surpassed their understanding, resulting in misuse or overuse of the troops. Lacking clearly defined missions, Special Operations Forces have had to reinvent themselves time and again to prove their value in the face of fierce critics-many of them from the conventional military, which from the start opposed the segregation of talent in special units.

Highlighting both the heroism of America's most elite soldiers and the controversies surrounding their meteoric growth, Oppose Any Foe presents the first comprehensive history of these special warriors and their daring missions. It is essential reading for anyone interested in America's military history-and the future of warfare.


Mark Moyar
is the director of the Center for Military and Diplomatic History in Washington, DC. The author of five previous books, he has served as a senior fellow at the Joint Special Operations University and a consultant for the US Special Operations Command. He lives in Oak Hill, Virginia.

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