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Best-selling titles such as Dayna Curry and others' Prisoners of Hopeand Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runnerdemonstrate the public's strong interest in Afghanistan. The war on terror, Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban are hot topics in today's news. Part of Facts On File's "Brief History" series-which aims to provide concise histories of the struggles and triumphs of various peoples and cultures-this title offers researchers and students grades nine and up a look at the antiquity and special nature of Afghanistan, examining the country's two major religious groups, the Sunnis and Shiites. As noted in the introduction, Afghanistan is a bit of a mystery. It is not unified in any ethnic or linguistic sense and has no natural geographic borders, and after three decades of war, revolution, terrorism, and intervention by other countries it remains a contradiction. Though one of the world's poorest and least developed countries, it has significant mineral and energy resources. The largest part of the book covers the violent era from the overthrow of monarchy in 1973 to the fall of the Taliban, taking a closer look at the experiences and effects of mass destruction, death, and tyranny. A handy appendix gives basic facts of interest about the country. Of special interest to librarians: Wahab is in charge of the Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Library, which holds the largest collection of Afghan materials in the United States.