Afghanistan: A Cultural History

Afghanistan: A Cultural History

by St John Simpson
     
 

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While the modern nation can trace its origins back to 1747, the history of Afghanistan is far more ancient. It has long been a focal point of the Silk Road and human migration and many native peoples such as the Kushans, Samanids, Saffarids, and Mughals have founded their empires here. Afghanistan has also been the target of numerous invasions and is therefore one

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Overview

While the modern nation can trace its origins back to 1747, the history of Afghanistan is far more ancient. It has long been a focal point of the Silk Road and human migration and many native peoples such as the Kushans, Samanids, Saffarids, and Mughals have founded their empires here. Afghanistan has also been the target of numerous invasions and is therefore one of the most critically diverse places on earth. ?Essential reading for anyone seeking a thorough understanding of the current situation in the region, this lively book places this rich and ancient seam of creativity in its broad historical context and offers the reader a full appreciation of a most remarkable country.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With this slight cultural sampler, Simpson, a senior curator for Iranian and Arabian pre-Islamic artifacts at the British Museum (The Begram Hoard), looks past the recent turmoil in Afghanistan to explore the rich history of the “Crossroads of Asia.” The book, using many impressive photographs from the British Museum, features important archeologicalfinds illuminating pivotal economic, cultural, and political events of this mountainous land with its fertile area of the southeast, boasting a bounty of metals and minerals as well as a thriving opium cash crop. An army of archeologists from around the globe discovered priceless pottery and other daily objects, graves, coins, and sculpture from ancient societies throughout Afghanistan, from the Achaemenid age to the years of Alexander the Greatand the Islamic dynasties in medieval times. Unfortunately, the text is as lifeless as a senior high school history book even as it tackles the creation of the modern Afghan state. This volume is targeted to those enamored with all things Afghan; other readers might find it tedious. Color photos, map. (July)
Library Journal
Simpson (assistant keeper, dept. of the Middle East, British Museum; The Begram Hoard: Indian Ivories from Aghanistan) has participated in archaeological excavations throughout the Middle East and central Asia. Drawing from his extensive experience, he traces the history and changing culture of Afghanistan from the earliest signs of civilization to the modern era. Simpson sets out to uncover new information on the development of Afghanistan by examining the archaeological finds from the area and coupling this information with the history of the region. Just as important, he considers the relationships—between and among the people in nearby areas—that have influenced the growth of the region, its politics, economy, and religion. By the author's own admission, parts of his account are "necessarily sketchy and summarized," but new data should be forthcoming with the recent changes and reconstruction in Afghanistan. VERDICT This volume would be a welcome read for those interested in archaeology or in more fully understanding the history of Afghanistan. It is also a stimulating addition to high school or undergraduate libraries for students interested in cultural geography.—Brenna Smeall, ReferenceUSA, Papillion, NE

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781566568548
Publisher:
Interlink Publishing Group, Incorporated
Publication date:
04/25/2012
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
1,391,076
Product dimensions:
6.70(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

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