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Oppose Any Foe

The Rise of America's Special Operations Forces


Mark Moyar (View Bio)
Hardcover: Basic Books, 2017.

Oppose Any Foe

Mark Moyar, an acclaimed military historian, charts the rocky history of the America's Special Operations Forces, highlighting both the heroism of America's finest soldiers and the strategic limits of special operations.

Oppose Any Foe is the epic story of America's most elite warriors: the Special Operations Forces. Weaving together their triumphs and tribulations, Moyar introduces a colorful cast of military men, brimming with exceptional talent, courage and selflessness.

Presidents from Roosevelt to Obama have enthusiastically championed Special Operations Forces, although their enthusiasm has often surpassed their understanding of the limitations of these groups. 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 and resources in distinct units. The first comprehensive history of these elite warriors and their courageous missions, Oppose Any Foe is fascinating reading for anyone interested in America's military history—and the future of warfare.

"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." — General (Ret.) Stan McChrystal, U.S. Army, Commander of Joint Special Operations, 2003-2008

"Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America’s Special Operations Forces 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." — General (Ret.) David Petraeus, Commander of U.S. and Coalition Forces

"Mark Moyar has written an important history of U.S. 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 U.S. 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." — Lieutenant General (Ret.) Charles T. Cleveland, Commander of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, 2012-2015

"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

"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 University

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