Few figures in the history of guerrilla warfare have been as influential and successful as Michael Collins (1890-1922), the Irish revolutionary leader. His tactical and strategic mastery of urban guerrilla techniques showed what a determined minority could do against an oppressive system of domination. His career is said to have been studied carefully by such widely disparate figures as Mao Zedong and Yitzak Shamir.
He was born on October 12, 1890 in County Cork, Ireland, as the youngest of eight children. The Ireland into which he was born was subject to direct British rule. But Irish nationalism was in his blood: his father’s family had had connections with the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and he imbibed from this well as a youth.