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SOLDIERS OF $$ Privateers, contract killers, corporate warriors. Contract soldiers go by many names, but they all have one thing in common: They fight for money and plunder rather than liberty, God, or country. Now acclaimed author and war vet Michael Lee Lanning traces the compelling history of these fighting machines–from the “Sea Peoples” who fought for the pharaohs’ greater glory to today’s soldiers for hire from private military companies (PMCs) in Iraq and Afghanistan. What emerges is a fascinating account of the men who fight other people’s wars–the Greeks who built an empire for Alexander the Great, the Nubians who accompanied Hannibal across the Alps, the Irish who became the first to go global in their search for work. Soldiers of fortune have always had the power to change the course of war, and Lanning examines their pivotal roles in individual battles and in the rise and fall of empires. As the employment of contract soldiers spreads in Iraq and America’s War on Terrorism–the U.S. paid $30 billion to PMCs in 2003 alone–Mercenaries offers a valuable inside look at a system that appears embedded in our nation’s future. Includes eight pages of photographs From the Paperback edition.