Modern Day Mercenaries aka Private Contractors


I’m a fan of the US TV show Jericho about life in a small American town after a nuclear attack on mainland America

One of the sub-plots is the governments use of mercenaries (euphemistically called “Private Contractors”) and this prompted me to collect a list of resources on this topic.

Mercenary armies have been used throughout the ages to supplement a nations own defense force or do a countries dirty work at an arms length.

The difference now is that countries across the world are using mercenaries more and more for core functions and because these mercenaries are often beholden to no one, subject to no laws and immune from prosecution they can wreak havoc with no repercussions.

Books About Mercenaries & Private Armies

  • Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill
  • Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible by Douglas Farah & Stephen Braun
  • Licensed To Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror by Robert Young Pelton
  • Medieval Mercenaries: The Business of War by William Urban, Foreword by: Terry Jones

In the video below The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart interviews Douglas Farah, a co-author of the book “Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible” about the gunrunner and transportation/logistics mercenary Victor Bout.

Further Reading

Wired Magazine on Blackwater

Articles about Victor Bout aka Merchant of Death

Note: On 6th March 2008 Viktor Bout was arrested in Bangkok following a US sting operation. More details at and

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