According to Freedom Houses (, of 194 nations in the world, 47, with total population of 2.3 billion people, are "not free." Residents of those countries (one hesitates to call them "citizens") lack political freedom and civil rights. The oppressive governments in some or all of those countries deserve to be overthrown; peacefully if possible, by force if necessary.

If you live in such a country, and you're reading this book, I assume you're already thinking about the possibility of armed resistance to an oppressive government. This book is intended as a primer, not as a handbook or an encyclopedia. A handbook tells you what you realized you didn't know. It answers questions you knew enough to ask. This book is a primer. It's intended to introduce you to what you might now realize you don't know, and therefore wouldn't think to ask. It provides a basic introduction to each topic, then identifies resources which can provide you with additional information.

Most of the material will be presented in terms of general principles. To make the application of the principles more concrete, specific illustrations will be used. Many of these specific illustrations will be drawn from past revolutions. However, readers will need to adapt them to conditions in their own countries, or to their own circumstances. Readers must not allow the illustrations to mislead them into thinking the principles would apply only to the specific cases used as illustration. The principles apply everywhere; the application must take concrete circumstances into account.

As will become apparent to the reader, there is an enormous amount of information available on various aspects of armed resistance. Even the Additional Reading lists at the ends of the chapters only scratch the surface. While this book is intended for information purposes only, information should eventually lead to action when action is justified. Readers must not allow themselves to be trapped in an information-gathering mode, seeking to learn ever more about ever-finer aspects of the topic. If armed resistance is justified, there comes a time when one must close the book and act.