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Review by George Steinmetz Graham’s book powerfully evokes right wing revulsion against cities. In the pages of the repellent City Journal, published by the right-wing Manhattan Institute, Detroit and other poor US cities are described as “feral” (Malanga, 2009). Plans for locking down the residents of these feral cities are based on military assaults on overseas cities. The conservative concept of the “failed state” is paralleled by the idea of failed cities. Immigration is described as an act of war; urban gangs are framed as insurgents.
Review by Alice O' Connor And yet, for all its attentiveness to the historical transformations, departures, and confluences that distinguish the new military urbanism from what has come before, there is an ahistorical quality to Graham’s analysis that makes it difficult to put conceptual boundaries around the new military urbanism and to discern what for historians in particular are essential issues of timing, agency, and intent. This has the effect of giving the new military urbanism more coherence and design as a project than it may warrant and of making it seem more impenetrable than it is.
Review by Jennifer Light Stephen Graham’s Cities Under Siege is a highly original and compelling work. As in many of his other projects, this book manages to integrate insights from a diversity of scholars and disciplines to tell a big picture story. Graham’s earlier Splintering Urbanism (2001, with Simon Marvin) used the phrase “athletically interdiscipinary” to describe its ambitions, a phrase that captures his accomplishments in Cities as well.