I’ve shared thoughts in regard to JFK and going forward, and while the effort towards the 50th anniversary of the Warren Commission report begins to jell, I’m turning my attention to Shadow Warfare.  The galleys are done and we are on our way towards actual printing in January and having the book in distribution in February, on bookstore shelves by March.   I’m going to devote a few posts to what is in the book, and what might be of interest to a variety of individuals reading this blog.

Shadow Warfare deals with the operational history of American covert warfare,  from its genesis in the days before WWII though the Cold War and into the current operations against jihadi terrorism and insurgencies. We tried very hard to be “balanced” with the book, letting the history speak for itself and simply bringing up the risks and issues associated with undeclared warfare. If you are interested in tradecraft, logistics, financing, covers and tactics – you will find them in Shadow Warfare. After a few hundred pages, they become quite familiar.  If  you want to know when and how “deniability” worked, and if it was worth the time and expense, you will find that as well.   In addition, as we move from the Cold War into the War on Terror and contemporary operations, we deal with the new types of military/intelligence organizations and the weapons that are so much a part of contemporary military operations.  Shadow Warfare begins in 1939 and concludes with events as recent as September, 2013.

Its going to take a number of post to really convey the complexity of the book – which is hopefully much easier reading than  you might imagine,  based on the directions and multiple beatings around the head from several very good editors –  so I will save a description of the “personality” aspects of the book – ranging from Presidents to the career “shadow warriors” themselves to those later posts.  For the moment, the list below will at least give you an idea of the operations discussed in major chapters of the book:

Preemptive action against Japan / 1940-41

Deniable operations against China in Burma, against mainland China with Taiwan and in Tibet

Covert operations across IndoChina

Regime change in Guatemala

Black operations against North Vietnam and Cuba

Secret warfare against Cuba – JMATE, JMARC and Mongoose

Autonomous and Deniable – Round Three against Castro

Holding the Line in Africa – Cuban surrogates in The Congo and Angola

Around the world with the PBFORTUNE and JMWAVE alumnae

Infrastructure Warfare – Phoenix in Vietnam evolves into Condor in the Southern Cone

Pushing Back in Nicaragua and Afghanistan – “privatization and outsourcing” covert action

Maintaining Anti-Communist Regimes – dictatorships and death squads across Latin America

Afghanistan and Iraq post 9/11 – from Jawbreaker to the contractors

New Enemies – the rise of the global  jihadi network

Evolution of the “war on terror” – new forces, new weapons

The turn to “gray warfare”

Global task forces and the next generation of counter insurgency in Asia and Africa

The Libya/Syrian gambit

That should give  you a bit of an idea of the breadth of operations explored in the book.  But things go far beyond the operations themselves, there are other risks, there is always collateral damage and there is always the political element of both the decision to engage and frequently the unforeseen consequences.  There are chapters on all those things, as well as the issue of Congressional oversight and the risks to the shadow warriors themselves.  I’ll trying to give a better picture of the book’s full scope in successive posts.

For the moment however, in the interest of blatant hucksterism, if you think  you may eventually be interested in this book – pre-order it now via Amazon.  It’s considerably longer than described online, verging now on 600 pages not 350, you won’t pay until it ships and at some point I really need enough orders to convince my publisher to let me do yet another book someday….grin.


It will be painless and I’ll appreciate it (ignore my wife’s groans about the potential of my doing another book, they may be audible at quite a distance).   Larry





Regime change in






About Larry Hancock

Larry Hancock is a leading historian-researcher in the JFK assassination. Co-author with Connie Kritzberg of November Patriots and author of the 2003 research analysis publication titled also Someone Would Have Talked. In addition, Hancock has published several document collections addressing the 112th Army Intelligence Group, John Martino, and Richard Case Nagell. In 2000, Hancock received the prestigious Mary Ferrell New Frontier Award for the contribution of new evidence in the Kennedy assassination case. In 2001, he was also awarded the Mary Ferrell Legacy Award for his contributions of documents released under the JFK Act.

2 responses »

  1. grassyknollgirl63 says:

    Larry – the book sounds amazing! I am definitely going to pre-order a copy! I was kind of tempted to walk off with the trade copy you had at Lancer last week! 🙂 I will be especially intersted to read of the evolution from cold war into the war on terror and ‘grey warfare’.

    • Well I admit I did pass out a couple of galley copies to educators who wanted to review it for use in courses they are developing but the real book, with over 50 pages of endnotes and citations, will probably be better (especially since the galley didn’t have an index), there is considerable copy in the end notes – which added even more pages to my publishers chagrin.

      At this point I may take a short break and do a post on the recent Bishop/Phillips confirmation which has considerable implications for David Phillip’s long term activities in Latin America. Of course one of the things Shadow Warfare does is trace the extended careers of people like Ted Shackley, David Phillips, Henry Hecksher, David Morales, Rip Robertson, Tony Sforza and a number of the Cuban exiles who worked with them in the early 60’s -and as it turns out far beyond that.

      As to the evolution from the conventional Cold War operations to Gray War actions – well to be brief its amazing to trace how the concept of “deniability” fell by the boards but covert action continued – it produces a host of operational, ethical and legal issues and to this point the American Congress has managed to duck all those issues.

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