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Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199737505
ISBN-10: 0199737509
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A Look Inside: Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla [Click Images to Enlarge]

MRAP
A mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle (MRAP), a few minutes before the ambush in Dara-i Nur District, Afghanistan, September 10, 2009. Photo by David Kilcullen.

Feral City
Feral City-- African Union peacekeepers drive past shops and power lines on the streets of Mogadishu, June 2012. Photo by David Kilcullen.

Mogadishu
Competitive control-- Somali clan militia at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Mogadishu, June 2012. Photo by David Kilcullen.

Untitled
Competitive control-- a Somali building destroyed by militants as punishment for its owners’ failure to pay insurgent taxes. Photo taken by David Kilcullen.
Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush, Afghanistan-- the remote landlocked mountain environment has become the default for many western militaries, diplomats, and development agencies since 2001. Photo taken by David Kilcullen.
Tank Versus Bikers
Competitive control-- African Union troops with weapons, radios, and ammunition captured from al-Shabaab during the battle of Afgoye, June 2012. Photo taken by David Kilcullen.

Review


"An iconoclastic new book on future urban conflicts." --David Ignatius, Washington Post


"Out of the Mountains isn't brimming with tactical solutions to such problems. Just as present-day counterinsurgency doctrine didn't materialize overnight, the answers to the questions Mr. Kilcullen poses will evolve over time. But his insistence that it is 'time to drag ourselves -- body and mind -- out of the mountains' serves as a reminder that complacency remains one of the most serious threats to U.S. national security." --Wall Street Journal


"Kilcullen has a rare ability to combine serious theory with the insight of an experienced practitioner." --Foreign Affairs


"Out of the Mountains will appeal to a broad range of readers -- social scientists, security experts and military officers, urban planners and technologists, and a general readership interested in how today's global trends will shape tomorrow's world. Readers who enjoy the work of Robert Kaplan or even Paul Theroux -- the engaging mix of adventure writing with sophisticated social and political analysis -- will find Kilcullen quite appealing." --Washington Monthly


"Although an enemy of the state, I must concede that this is a brilliant book by the most unfettered and analytically acute mind in the military intelligentsia. Kilcullen unflinchingly confronts the nightmare of endless warfare in the slums of the world." --Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums


"David Kilcullen brilliantly illuminates a coming dystopian urban world, part Blade Runner and part Minority Report. He cogently argues that we must rapidly find a way to build our own security networks to prepare for the coming age of urban guerrillas. Out of the Mountains crystallizes this sadly probable future in vivid and practical terms." --Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret), Former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and Dean, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University


"Kilcullen delivers a lucid, important study that American leaders should read." --Kirkus Reviews


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199737509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199737505
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.2 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Griswold VINE VOICE on July 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is something familiar yet new about David Kilcullen's Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerilla. By looking at four trends: population growth, urbanization, coastal life, and interconnectedness, Kilcullen paints a rather convincing picture of the future of warfare. Instead of large-scale state on state warfare, Kilcullen predicts that warfare will take place where population is likely to be centered in urban areas along the coast.

Technology will play a role because technology makes people more interconnected, particularly in crowded coastal areas like the ones Kilcullen describes. I'm not sure that we have not heard many of these predictions before, but what sets this book apart is the depth Kilcullen takes his argument.

He uses several case studies from Iraq and Afghanistan, the various rebellions throughout the Middle East and Africa, and Jamaica among others to illustrate why the problems experienced by rulers and armies in these locations don't lend themselves to conventional solutions, but rather are a product of the new conditions of warfare that he sees increasing in the future.

I was impressed with the argument itself, but if we accept Kilcullen's argument that all four of the above mentioned factors play a role in future of war, what do we do about it?

At first blush, one might think that we need to strengthen government capacities in these troubled areas, but given that development in the most charitable appraisal has had mixed results that doesn't seem like a great solution. Further, these projects take money, which may be in a short supply in the era of austerity and increasingly partisan politics.

In conclusion, Kilcullen's ideas seem more than plausible, but how we deal with them is a question that this book seems to leave open-ended for further debate.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a book on how our military should plan for future wars. David Kilcullen has a unique mindset, as he is a trained anthropologist who has served as a counter-insurgency expert to Condoleeza Rice and David Petraeus.

This book blends the kinds of ideas we have heard from Donald Rumsfeld with the thoughts of traditional writers in urban studies such as Mike Davis or Saskia Sassen-Koob. He looks at war as a battle for control in cities. To Kilcullen, fighting is an activity that is a part of the regular life of cities. But an important distinction, and one that is a basic assumption for this book, is that warring groups are not limited to nation-states. You have to recognize that there can be many factions within a city.

He draws his analysis from several cities: the civil war in Somalia, the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, the 2010 revolution in Tunisia, the intifada in Benghazi, and gang warfare in the slums of Jamaica.

Kilcullen's premise is that four transforming forces - urbanization, migration of people to coastal cities, population growth itself, and then the increasing interconnectedness made possible by electronic media - have changed how wars will be fought in the future.

"The future conflict climate, as we have seen, will be coastal, networked, and overwhelmingly urban - so that we need to orient ourselves toward conflict in connected cities...Dominant theories of international relations take the nation-state as their basic building block. We need to bring our analysis down to the city and sub-city level, understanding communities and cities a 'system under stress' in their own right, treating cities as biological or natural systems....
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are a half-dozen actors responsible for the U.S. exit from Iraq. Barack Obama, Generals Petraeus and Odierno, Emma Sky, the voting public, and David Kilcullen. The go-to guy for counterinsurgency, Colonel-professor Kilcullen's new book analyzes a number of recent combat actions and draws some conclusions about the future.
Any number of authors have now covered TF Ranger in Mogadishu, and each brings new insight; Kilcullen describes Somali swarm tatics that are now widely applicable in the wired Arab Spring. The LeT attack on Mumbai, and the various uprisings in the Middle East over the past couple of years, Afghanistan, and Jamaica all get attention. Mr. Kilcullen is making the point that complex, crowded, coastal megacities are predominating, and will be the focus of conflict in the coming decades. Hence the title 'Out of the Mountains' describes the irrelevance of remote Afghan valleys and the importance of Mumbai, Karachi, Dhaka, or Rio.
Mr. Kilcullen also lays out his theory of competitive control, and though he never explicitly states it, shows that the Taliban should never have been removed from power in Afghanistan, as it at least provided a measure of stability. Competitive control encompasses the strongest and stickiest memes, so that organizations like Hezbollah that provide health care, reconstruction, education, and so forth, prevail by providing armed security and social services, much like functioning governments.
Mr. Kilcullen's work is standard in military colleges and think tanks, it is drawn from experience both on the ground and at higher orders of command, and makes for compelling reading.
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