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Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla Paperback – July 1, 2015
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"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
About the Author
David Kilcullen is the author of the highly acclaimed The Accidental Guerrilla and Counterinsurgency. A former soldier and diplomat, he served as a senior advisor to both General David H. Petraeus and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In recent years he has focused on fieldwork to support aid agencies, non-government organizations and local communities in conflict and disaster-affected regions, and on developing new ways to think about complex conflicts in highly networked urban environments.
- Publisher : Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (July 1, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0190230967
- ISBN-13 : 978-0190230968
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Dimensions : 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #34,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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From these battles and others, the author develops a theory of competitive control. As he does so, he extends the book's reach, in my opinion, beyond guerrilla warfare into general control issues when instability arises. Think of the Yellow Jackets who have been protesting in France for half a year. He looks at the Taliban and others to argue that violence without more does not produce social stability. Competitive control requires a spectrum of force, from sheer violence to influence, to create the sort of social stability that allows a political entity to function effectively. I found his arguments persuasive. I had reviewed another book, The Counterinsurgency Challenge by Christopher D. Kolenda and Gen. Stanley McChrystal which had come to a similar conclusion that "winning hearts and minds" was not a fully satisfactory strategy. I encourage you to read the book to get a full grasp of his theory of competitive control. It may turn out to be a very useful tool.
As the book reviews the Arab Spring, he made some observations that I found surprising. First, in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, the initial shock troops opposing these regimes' police forces were initially the Ultras, groups of rabid soccer fans who routinely got into fights with each other at soccer (outside the U.S., it's called football) games and, in so doing, got into fights with the police sent to break up their disturbances. So, for these groups, fighting with the police was not a new experience. When the regime sent its police to put down social disturbances, the Ultras were not cowed, quit fighting with each other and started fighting the police and other regime security forces. Other disaffected groups saw the Ultras fighting and decided to join in.
The regimes then made another mistake with, what I found to be, a surprising unintended consequence. The rioters and others disenchanted with the regimes in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt were using their cell and smart phones to coordinate their activities. This isn't surprising. So, the regimes basically tried to turn off the internet and cell service in their respective countries. A lot of people who weren't rioting or protesting couldn't use their phones. This radicalized them against the regimes. The author notes that there are 2 billion more phones on the earth than there are people with access to potable water. The use of a phone may be a more basic human right than access to water or freedom of political speech. The inability to use their phones to talk or text their friends, family or business associates radicalized many who had not previously been radicalized. I encourage you to look at these events and see what conclusions you draw.
Future social dislocation will occur in crowded, digitally connected and coastal cities. How to deal with these social disruptions will not be simple. The digital aspects of this in particular will require careful consideration. Urban instability will, in my opinion, be a growing phenomenon arising from political and social disruption, criminal activities and, in some cases, guerrilla activities. If these topics interest you, I believe that you will find the book to be worth your time.
My input is simply that I read this book months ago. I've spent time in some of the places described. I get it. Barely a day goes by that I don't reflect back on some aspect of Kilcullen's thesis to understand and comprehend the implications to realpolitik to challenge the nation state for governance.
Great book for high information seekers! I've recommended it a dozen times or so to friends that are like me, trying to understand what we see.
Opening story set a tone of smarminess that can sometimes define the Petraeus-Nagl-Exum luddites. Nonetheless, Kilcullen delivers an intriguing approach to think about where future conflict may be.
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