Urban Warfare in the Twenty-First Century
Urban Warfare in the Twenty-First Century

Over the last two decades, warfare has migrated into cities. From Mosul to Mumbai, Aleppo to Marawi, the major military battles of our time have taken place in densely populated urban areas.  Why has this happened? What are the defining characteristics and the military and political implications of urban warfare today?

Leading sociologist Anthony King answers these critical questions through close analysis of recent urban battles and their historical antecedents.  Exploring the changing typography and evolving tactics of the urban battlescape, he shows that whilst some methods used in urban battle are not new, operations in cities have become highly distinctive.  Today, urban warfare has coalesced into gruelling micro-sieges, which extend from street level - and below - to the airspace high above the city - as combatants fight for individual buildings, streets, and districts.  At the same time, digitalized social media and information networks have communicated these battles to global audiences across the urban archipelago, with these spectators often becoming active participants in the fight.

A timely reminder of the costs and the horror of war and violence in cities, this book offers an invaluable interdisciplinary introduction to urban warfare in the new millennium for students of international security, urban studies, and military science.

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  • September 2021
  • 288 pages
  • 152 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509543656
  • Paperback $26.95
  • 9781509543663
  • Open eBook $56.00
  • 9781509543670
Table of Contents
Lists of Maps, Figures and Tables


Chapter 1. Gomorrah
Chapter 2 .Numbers
Chapter 3. The Urban Guerrilla
Chapter 4. Metropolis
Chapter 5. Walls
Chapter 6. Air
Chapter 7. Fire
Chapter 8. Swarms
Chapter 9. Partners
Chapter 10. Rumour
Chapter 11. Armageddon

About the Author
Anthony King is the Chair of War Studies at the University of Warwick. He has published widely on war and the armed forces, including a trilogy on contemporary military transformation: The Transformation of Europe's Armed Forces (CUP, 2011), The Combat Soldier (OUP, 2013) and Command (CUP, 2019). In addition to his research, he has advised and mentored the British, European and American armed forces, as well as NATO in Afghanistan.
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"Anthony King explores new and unique aspects of urban warfare caused by geographical, sociological, doctrinal, and technological changes in the last thirty years. He mines insights from practitioners of recent urban combat in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and the Philippines to examine what has remained consistent and what has changed in urban warfare today – and what the future might hold for military forces faced with this difficult challenge. Highly recommended for readers interested in the changing character of war in the 21st century."
Peter R. Mansoor, author of Surge: My Journey with General David Petraeus and the Remaking of the Iraq War

"Anthony King has written an important book that is likely to become the standard text on urban warfare in the twenty-first century. It is comprehensive in scope and offers a sophisticated and multi-layered analysis of how the world’s demographic revolution from a rural to an urban environment is taking the conduct of war into the city. This study will be embraced by military practitioners, scholars, and government policy-makers but also deserves a wide readership among all those concerned with municipal security and the sociology of urban violence."
Michael Evans, Hassett Professor of Military Studies, Australian Defence College, Canberra
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