Elias Counterinsurgency Book Wins Top Award

By Tom Porter

Assistant Professor of Government Barbara Elias has been honored by international security experts for her latest book, Why Allies Rebel: Defiant Local Partners in Counterinsurgency Wars (Cambridge University Press, 2020), which explores the challenges powerful militaries face in working with local allies.

elias and book

In 2016 Elias was invited to give the Karofsky Faculty Encore Lecture in recognition of teaching excellence. Her latest book explores the challenges of counter-insurgency warfare.

The book has received the American Political Science Association’s 2020 award for “Best International Security Book by a Non-tenured Faculty Member.” According to an announcement from the chair of APSA’s international security committee, the book “was read by some of the finest minds in international security and was the consensus choice for top book submitted. Congratulations!”

“It is an honor to contribute to my field and thrilling to have my work distinguished with this award,” said Elias, who is being promoted to associate professor with tenure in July 2021. “Receiving congratulatory notes from remarkable scholars I have until now only engaged with by citing their scholarship is delightful and humbling,” she continued. “I sincerely appreciate the encouragement I received from my colleagues here at Bowdoin that helped me write this book."

Why Allies Rebel looks at a number of large-scale interventions by the US and other major powers and analyzes the conditions under which local allies choose to comply (or not) with their larger partners. The book explores America’s involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vietnam, as well as the Soviet Union’s role in Afghanistan and India’s intervention in Sri Lanka. Elias also studies counterinsurgency interventions by other powers in Yemen, Lebanon, and Angola. Read more.