In his third book, David Kilcullen takes us out of the mountains: away from the remote, rural guerrilla warfare of Afghanistan, and into the marginalised slums and complex security threats of the world’s coastal cities, where almost 75 per cent of us will be living by mid-century.
Scrutinising major trends — population growth, coastal urbanisation, and increasing digital connectivity — he projects a future of feral cities and urban systems under stress, as well as greater overlaps between crime and war, internal and external threats, and the real and virtual worlds.
Informed by Kilcullen’s own fieldwork in the Caribbean, Somalia, Afghanistan, and India, and that of his field-research team in cities in Central America and Africa, Out of the Mountains presents detailed, on-the-ground accounts of the new faces of modern conflict — from the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, to transnational drug networks, local street gangs, and the uprisings of the Arab Spring. Deeply researched and compellingly argued, it is an invaluable roadmap to the future and its potential dangers.
'In the future, insurgencies around the globe will increasingly take place in ‘‘networked’’, coastal megacities and slums ... Kilcullen offers a nuanced, systematic view of the ‘‘messy’’, multiple, volatile factors that shape irregular warfare.'
Fiona Capp, The Saturday Age
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'Anyone who has responsibilities for international security or who cares about the future of governance in an increasingly over-crowded and resource-stressed world needs to read this book.'
Nigel Inkster, former director of operations and intelligence for the British Secret Intelligence Service
'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
‘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