Dr Mike Martin
Dr Mike Martin is an author and consultant on conflict, particularly in Afghanistan. He regularly appears in international media, speaks and publishes on these topics.
- The retreat from Musa Qala is not “strategic withdrawal” (Prospect) – 2016
- Avoiding conflict with communities: An investment that pays off for mining firms (Myanmar Times) – 2015
- Britain didn’t understand the enemy in Helmand (The Telegraph) – 2014
- The centrality of human terrain in the contemporary operating environment (British Army) – 2011
- The importance of cultural understanding to the military (British Army Review) – 2009
- Effects of trail gradient on leaf tissue transport and load size selection in leaf-cutter ants (Behavioral Ecology) – 2008
See also Mike’s Google Scholar page
- A brief history of Helmand (British Army) – 2011
- An Intimate War: An oral history of the Helmand conflict (Hurst/OUP) – 2014
‘This is the best book ever written on Afghanistan. Martin writes what I have been feeling since the 1980s, but have not expressed in such a clear way. It is a remarkable work of political anthropology.‘ Professor Olivier Roy
‘An extraordinary book … An Intimate War is the work of a wise and patient scholar.’ London Review of Books
‘An uncompromising, deeply thought and important contribution.’ The Times
‘It is impossible to do full justice in this review to the range and depth of Martin’s research, arguments, or account of the Helmand conflict.’ Asian Affairs
- Crossing the Congo: Over Land and Water in a Hard Place (Hurst) – 2016 (See here for trailer.)
Shortlisted for the Wanderlust Adventure Travel Book of the Year / German Translation
‘A remarkable story of psychological and physical endurance, and a compelling account of what pushes people to embark on impossible journeys.’ Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE
‘Crossing the Congo gives you a deeply, brutally honest view of what it is like to complete a great journey. At times they were lucky to survive.’ Robin Hanbury-Tenison OBE, DL, Dsc, Dhc, MA, FLS, FRGS
- Chapter in Tribes and Global Jihadism (Hurst/OUP)
Why We Fight (Hurst) – May 2018
‘Why We Fight is a pivotal book in the study of conflict. It brilliantly deploys recent discoveries in psychology and neuroscience to devastating effect. It has radical implications for policies for conflict reduction: identity and status need to supplant interests and ideology as the focal points for change.’ Professor Sir Paul Collier, CBE, FBA
‘Anyone interested in war and international relations will find much to challenge and intrigue them in Mike Martin’s application of evolutionary theory to the question of what drives men to fight.’ Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, KCMG, CBE, PC, FBA
‘An important and illuminating book that addresses very clearly the fundamental questions underlying the apparent paradoxes of violence and conflict.‘ Patrick Hennessey, author of The Junior Officers’ Reading Club
Dr Mike Martin is a former British Army officer trained to fluency in Pushtu who pioneered, designed and implemented the British Military’s Cultural Advisor programme, which trained Pushtu-speaking British officers to build and leverage relationships with local notables (profiled here in The Sunday Times).
He subsequently read for his PhD at King’s College London in Conflict Studies and wrote an oral history of the conflict in Helmand province, which he later turned into a critically-acclaimed book, An Intimate War.
He consults and speaks on conflict Issues, and comments in the international media, mostly about Afghanistan.
Mike lives in London, where he is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London. His second book, giving an account of his crossing of the Congo, came out last year, and he is finishing his third, called Why We Fight, which explores the evolutionary psychology of warfare.
Speaking & Consultancy
Mike regularly speaks and consults on a wide range of issues relating to conflict and strategy, particularly in Afghanistan.
This encompasses work as wide-ranging as advising the UK Government and Ministry of Defence on its deployments to Afghanistan, through working with the US military, to briefing the cast and crew of the film War Machine featuring Brad Pitt. Mike also regularly comments in international media including the BBC, NPR, DR, WYNC, Washington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Vice, Information, Prospect etc.
When advising on commercial deals Mike works through Morphose.