Dr. Sean McFate is an academic, an Associate Professor at the National Defense University, but what makes his book The Modern Mercenary so worthwhile is his combination of military and realworld contracting backgrounds blended with an incisive historical knowledge of the subject matter. The Modern Mercenary seats the evolution of the unique stability operations industry, and especially the subset of international private security companies, into a larger historical context. It is an industry that has featured in the headlines for the past ten years for its operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and many places in Africa, but too often for the wrong reasons. McFate describes the value of the industry, parallels with the past, and then looks at how international contractors, especially the armed ones, can be controlled while providing valuable services to the international community and even the United Nations. The Modern Mercenary offers an overview and analysis of the contractors who are supporting U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well in almost every conflict and stability operation that the United States has been involved in for the past quarter century. The majority of McFate’s historical insights come from his comparisons with the Condottieri of medieval Italy, the mercenary troops that dominated warfare there for centuries. He examines the motivations, incentives, and especially the shortcomings that the Italian city states faced when hiring foreign soldiers and entire armies in the days before professional citizen soldiers became the norm.