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Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism Hardcover – March 29, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


Cities Under Siege is a detailed and intense forensics of new urban frontiers, laboratories of the extreme where experiments with new urban conditions are currently being undertaken. In this fascinating new work Steven Graham has created a novel concept of the city, looking at war as the limit condition of urbanity and calling for an alternative urban life yet to come.”—Eyal Weizman, author of Hollow Land

“Roll over Jane Jacobs: here’s urban geography as it looks like through the eye of a Predator at 25,000 feet. A fundamental and very scary report from the global red zone.”—Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums

“A brilliant critique of the deadly embrace of military violence and contemporary urbanism. Steve Graham writes with immense power and lucidity, layering detail over detail and image over image to expose the shadows that are falling across cities around the world. This is not a dystopian future but the present, and Graham compels us to open our eyes to the dangers military urbanism poses to contemporary democracy.”—Derek Gregory, Professor of Geography, University of British Columbia and author of The Colonial Present

“Sharp, lucid and elegant prose ... Graham is consistently insightful and compelling. Cities Under Siege is an indispensable analysis of the dark fantasies that the military imagination is seeking to realise in the coming century.”—Red Pepper

“A rigorously researched, pioneering book packed with disturbing and at times astonishing information.”—Icon

About the Author

Stephen Graham is Professor of Cities and Society at Newcastle University. He is the author or editor of Telecommunications and the City and Splintering Urbanism (both with Simon Marvin), Cities, War and Terrorism and Disrupted Cities: When Infrastructures Fail. His most recent book is Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (March 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844673154
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844673155
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,734,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
'Cities Under Siege' is an extremely impressive exposé of how military doctrine and vague and all-pervasive 'security' concerns are starting to dominate urban life across the world. Addressing everything from 'homeland' security to military destruction of infrastructure, militarised urban video games to SUVs, and drones and robotic weapons to right-wing diatribes against cities, the book covers an amazing amount of ground. The book is informed by the latest theoretical and academic thinking. It uses this to illuminate a myriad of examples from across the world, from London's 'ring of steel' to G20 summits, counterinsurgency warfare in Iraq and Israel to biofuels plantations in Indonesia . The book uses this extraordinary range to reveal many startling and poorly explored aspects of contemporary militarization. The book is a stark warning that 'security' industries are doing well out of urban paranoia, market fundamentalism and war mongering: another vision of our urbanizing world is desperately needed. 'Cities Under Siege' does a fantastic job of revealing what's at stake. It also opens up some ways forward for activism and resistance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Review 31 on February 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
(by Jeff Heydon, originally published in Review 31)

Living in downtown Toronto during the G20 summit in the summer of 2010 was instructive. Myriad CCTV cameras were erected, additional police were imported from multiple municipalities close to the city, and a barrier was established around the Convention Centre that would protect the leaders of nations from the Great Unwashed. A new Toronto was produced - a city where the condition of living became a process of negotiation and where attempts were made to avoid any act that would qualify as `conspicuous'.

The result of reading Graham's Cities Under Siege is an immediate reassessment of that initial reaction. In light of an overwhelming amount of research and carefully considered theoretical applications to linked trends in security and the production of the visible citizen, the events of the G20 appear to be relatively mundane. Graham's uncovering of the mechanisms being developed and the general approach to the control of urban populations - typically in political climates that are inherently distrustful of cities - opens up the question of how the contemporary condition of urbanity functions on political and sociopolitical levels.

In Society Must Be Defended (Allen Lane, 2004) Michel Foucault argued that while colonial powers undeniably transplanted their values and governing practices to the cultures they invaded, newly developed techniques of control that were the result of colonial practices would often be carried back to the domestic sphere. Foucault called this returning flow of strategies of control and domination `boomerang effects'. Graham tracks this recognition down to the current modifications taking place in the larger Western cities today.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you can bear the neo-Marxist cant this book is an outstanding introduction to the 21st Century battlefield transformation from trenches and hilltops to urban areas where wars are fought "among the people". It is a worthy read because of its near complete coverage of all of the aspects of urban warfare including the outdated practice of "rubbling" a city to the new tactics of merely disabling infrastructures such as water, electricity, etc. This revolution in warfare has been brought about by the disappearance of modern standing armies of millions of soldiers and the emergence of technically savvy soldiers who are fighting asymmetrical warfare against non-state actors who occupy buildings in the midst of functional cities. There is much demonization of the United States and Israel in this tome but the information given is worth the twaddle of the left leaning sociologists who contributed to it. What the reader can take away from this left leaning view of the future is that we are in for a long war and that much of it will be fought among us in the cities we inhabit. Welcome to WW IV. This book will help you interpret what you are seeing as it unfolds.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ever since the events of 9/11 the U.S. and most notably Israel have turned their countries into occupied territories patrolled by police departments trained in and equipped with military tactics and equipment chapter 7 of this book LESSONS IN URBICIDE clearly detail what this process consists of, we the 99% are being herded into locations where the 1% can easily control, monitor, and eliminate the undesirables, if you think I am making this stuff up then I urge you to buy and read this book.
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