Afghanistan

Overview

Throughout its history, Afghanistan has been at a crossroad between Eastern and Western cultures. Its location in southern central Asia-along the trade routes that connected East and South Asia to Europe and the Middle East-made it a prized commodity for conquering armies from near and far. Its fiercely independent people have withstood invasions by Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, and in the twentieth century, by Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Since the Taliban-a fundamentalist Islamic group that ...
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Overview

Throughout its history, Afghanistan has been at a crossroad between Eastern and Western cultures. Its location in southern central Asia-along the trade routes that connected East and South Asia to Europe and the Middle East-made it a prized commodity for conquering armies from near and far. Its fiercely independent people have withstood invasions by Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, and in the twentieth century, by Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Since the Taliban-a fundamentalist Islamic group that established a theocratic regime in 1996-was removed from power in 2001 Afghanistan has moved toward establishing a democratic government, by adopting a constitution and holding its first free presidential election in 2004.

About the Author:
Jeffrey A. Gritzner is chairman of the Department of Geography, the Asian Studies Program, and the International and Cultural Diversity Cluster at the University of Montana

A look at the geographic, political, economic, and social aspects of Afghanistan, a country struggling to reconcile modernization with traditional values and ways.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The cover of each title in the series features a country photo and the national flag. We soon learn that Afghanistan's flag changed twenty times during the twentieth century. Internal feuds and battles generated by colonial interests have kept Afghanistan in turmoil for decades. Traditional Islamists have always had a powerful hold on many Afghans—that was not a new phenomenon with the Taliban. Jeffrey Gritzner compares the Taliban to the rigid European Calvinists, but there is very little discussion of the violent and oppressive aspects of the Taliban regime. Gritzner points out the contradictions between this often aggressive and vengeful people who nonetheless spark a comment by Justice William O. Douglas that the Afghans "have warmth of human relations that is often missing all the way from New York City to San Francisco." This volume in the "Modern World Nations" series is among the least interesting to read—there is far too much attention to details of history and place. The chronology and index are thorough so it is useful for reference and student reports, although the bibliography is primarily adult books not likely to be readily available to young people. There is a geographer consultant for the entire series and each title is written by a geographer or area expert. The series includes titles on nearly two-dozen countries from Georgia and Germany to Bahrain, Bermuda and Cuba. 2003, Chelsea House,
— Karen Leggett
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-These presentations are straightforward and objective, underscoring political and economic events of the 20th century that made these two neighbors nations in crisis. Enriching his text with literary references, Crompton explains the challenges facing this country. Powerful ethnic groups like the Pashtuns resist the nation-state concept; dams have simultaneously enhanced agriculture while displacing thousands and oversalinating soil no longer touched by rivers; more than two million Afghan refugees are living on Pakistan soil; the population is exploding; and, unresolved disputes with India threaten to erupt. Gritzner points out that tribalism, rugged terrain, years of drought, war with the Soviet Union, and the continuing antiterrorist conflict with the United States have wreaked havoc on the welfare of Afghanistan's largely nomadic and agricultural population. Although some political and artistic folk heroes are introduced, these books do not dwell on the family and cultural pursuits of the people. Rather, both authors emphasize the historical, geographic, religious, and political influences that have shaped the current socioeconomic and political situation and prospects of each country. The full-color, captioned photographs are informative, and textual layout is appealing. With the constant need for contemporary views on trouble spots around the globe, these books fill a niche.-Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604139419
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/2011
  • Series: Modern World Nations Series
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 136
  • Age range: 11 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents


Introducing Afghanistan     8
Physical Landscapes     14
Early History and Culture     25
The Age of European Imperialism     37
The Soviet Invasion and Its Aftermath     58
People and Culture     79
Afghanistan's Government and Economy     87
Afghanistan Looks Ahead     98
Facts at a Glance     103
History at a Glance     106
Bibliography     108
Further Reading     109
Index     110
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