Revolutionaries for the Right

Anticommunist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War

By Kyle Burke

368 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6620-4
    Published: August 2021
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-5373-8
    Published: April 2018
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-4074-7
    Published: April 2018

New Cold War History

Buy this Book

For Professors:
Free E-Exam Copies

To purchase online via an independent bookstore, visit
Freedom fighters. Guerrilla warriors. Soldiers of fortune. The many civil wars and rebellions against communist governments drew heavily from this cast of characters. 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. Yet as Kyle Burke reveals, these conflicts were the product of a rising movement that sought paramilitary action against communism worldwide. Tacking between the United States and many other countries, Burke offers an international history not only of the paramilitaries who started and waged small wars in the second half of the twentieth century but of conservatism in the Cold War era.

From the start of the Cold War, Burke 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. And so 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.

About the Author

Kyle Burke is an assistant professor of history at Hartwick College.
For more information about Kyle Burke, visit the Author Page.


“What distinguishes Burke’s book from other works on the subject is his comprehensive description of the engagement of conservatives with international anti-communist movements.”--Choice

"An important book that contributes to a growing body of scholarship on the transnational dimensions of the far right. Its careful analysis of anti-Communist activism, from propaganda to paramilitarism, is relevant for anyone seeking a better understanding of the Cold War and insights into contemporary politics."--Journal of Cold War Studies

“Burke’s book constitutes an exemplary exercise in transnational historical scholarship that illuminates the Cold War-era Right’s vision, goals, and organizing in crucially important new ways that materially add to knowledge.”--Journal of American History

“Well written and deeply researched, this is the most extensive account of U.S. participation in the worldwide anticommunist movement to date.”--Gerald Horne, author of From the Barrel of a Gun

“Kyle Burke's Revolutionaries for the Right tells the story of the creation of an international anticommunist mobilization, one that took shape and enacted a shadow foreign policy with the help of private money, mercenary armies, and messianic right-wing politics. Deeply and systematically researched, this book sheds light on a new and unexplored dimension of the conservative mobilization and illuminates a history of vital importance.”--Kimberly K. Phillips-Fein, author of Fear City

“The U.S. Left during the Cold War was largely internationalist. What Kyle Burke shows is that the Right was, too. Working under the table and off the books, conservative intellectuals, retired officers, and soldiers of fortune sought to establish an Anticommunist International that would link the United States to places like Taiwan, Rhodesia, South Vietnam, and Nicaragua. This is fresh, illuminating history, telling a painful yet crucial story of the late Cold War.”--Daniel Immerwahr, author of Thinking Small