Blog post

"The stuff of nightmares"—Cities Under Siege reviewed in the Guardian

Huw Lemmey 3 January 2012

On reading Stephen Graham's Cities Under Siege, Nicholas Lezard is gripped with an uneasy fear about the spread of military strategies  from warzones to domestic cities in the US and Europe. The fact the book is well referenced and the author "knows whereof he speaks ... has the facts at his fingertips, and he is able to make connections" only makes matters worse, as he explains in his review for the Guardian.

The combination of mainstream US politicians' contempt for cosmopolitan populations, increased urban surveillance and the generalisation of Israel's strategies against Gaza—described by Graham as  "a mere ‘terrorist infrastructure’ to be destroyed in toto”—raise for Lezard a terrifying spectre of militarised dystopian state so real that "you begin to wonder whether books like this will be allowed to be published for much longer."

The prospect of this nascent potential cityscape of political violence, "the kind of society whose aim is to monitor and control every single inhabitant", far from scaremongering is already underway:

Look, you're just going to have to read this book. Because what's happening in Baghdad and other contested or occupied cities - not just the surveillance, but the militarisation too - is going to happen here. In some cases it already is, or there are in place contingency plans for it, should serious trouble arise.

Visit the Guardian to read the review in full.

Filed under: reviews