Assistant Professor of History Kyle Burke publishes his first book

Hartwick’s Burke Authors Book on Cold War Anti-Communism Warfare

October 24, 2018

Hartwick College Assistant Professor of History Kyle Burke explores paramilitary efforts to combat communism during the Cold War in his first book, “Revolutionaries for the Right: Anticommunist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War” (The University of North Carolina Press). Utilizing previously untapped sources from four continents, the book chronicles the rise and fall of an international network of right-wing organizations that supported anticommunist guerrillas in the global south from the 1950s through the 1980s.

“Freedom fighters. Guerrilla warriors. Soldiers of fortune. The many civil wars and rebellions against communist governments drew heavily from this cast of characters,” Burke says. “Yet from Nicaragua to Afghanistan, Vietnam to Angola, Cuba to the Congo, the connections between these anticommunist groups have remained hazy and their coordination obscure.”

From the start of the Cold War, Burke’s work shows, leading U.S. conservatives and their allies abroad dreamed of an international anticommunist revolution. They pinned their hopes to armed men, freedom fighters who could unravel communist states from within. To that end, they fashioned a global network of activists and state officials, guerrillas and mercenaries, ex-spies and ex-soldiers to sponsor paramilitary campaigns in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Blurring the line between state-sanctioned and vigilante violence, this armed crusade helped radicalize right-wing groups in the United States while also generating new forms of privatized warfare abroad.

Gerald Horne, author of “From the Barrel of a Gun,” called Burke’s first book “well written and deeply researched … the most extensive account of U.S. participation in the worldwide anticommunist movement to date.”

An award-winning teacher, Burke’s coursework focuses on modern US and global history; war and society; and radicalism and political violence.

His research examines the tangled histories of war, political violence, and radicalism in the United States and the wider world, and has been supported by fellowships from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the Buffett Institute for Global Studies.

Burke’s articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in Jacobin, Diplomatic History, and the H-War and H-Diplo networks. He is currently at work on a new book tentatively titled “White Power Worldwide,” which explores the creation and mobilization of a trans-Atlantic white supremacist movement since the 1970s.

Burke has a M.A and Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University.

“Revolutionaries for the Right: Anticommunist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War” can be ordered directly through UNC Press, Amazon.comBarnes & Noble, and elsewhere.

For more information on the book, contact Burke at 607-431-4883 or