Fortune's Warriors is an incredibly insightful look into a growing industry that will only increase in relevance with our world's uncertain future. The subject is former military veterans, most of them coming from Special Operations units of western countries, that hire themselves out to foreign goverments.
The general population, largely ignorant on the subject, would quickly label them as mercenaries, but for the first time I've ever seen in any book, the author takes a hard analytical look at exactly what that term really means in comparison to the images it conjures when formulating world opinion.
A mercenary could very well be a sociopathic criminal thrill seeker, looking for a way to satisfy a delusional urge. In this day and age, however, he's more likely to be a former professional soldier, helping to stabilize a region and protecting non-government aid organizations to distribute needed supplies and medical care to war torn areas of the world. The mercenary could very well be a professional soldier within a western military force, such as the French Foreign Legion. If anything, this book shows that the word mercenary does not have a cut and dried definition.
This particular industry ranges from companies that simply compile risk analysis reports on various areas of questionable stability, to former soldiers who train foreign militaries, all the way down to the Private Military Coporation, who will come in to fight your war for you, provided you are recognized in the international community as a legitmate goverment.
The book also talks about the troubled history that these security companies have with different parts of the UN, and how regulation and policy that might be set by the UN requires a closer look.
The book is full of real world examples, most of them taken from the tragic and war torn Sierra Leone. It describes how a South African based Private Military Company called Executive Outcomes was able to come in and assist the government in surpressing an extremely violent and brutal rebel movement. The rebels had tortured civilians, cutting off villager's limbs was almost a form of recreation for them, and EO managed to come in and restore order in a matter of weeks. The villagers welcomed them in the streets, and even the usually pacifist NGO workers had to acknowledge their positive presence. The true tragedy of the story lies in the protests made through the UN, and EO had to leave, which plunged the country right back into chaos.
In a more uncertain world where western militaries are spread more and more thin, this subject deserves much more attention then it recieves. In many cases, the men who are Fortune's Warriors could very well be their only hope.