In Afghanistan: Two Hundred Years of British, Russian and American Occupation

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Overview

Afghanistan has been a strategic prize for foreign empires for more than 200 years. The British, Russians, and Americans have all fought across its beautiful and inhospitable terrain, in conflicts variously ruthless, misguided and bloody. This violent history is the subject of David Loyn's magisterial book. It is a history littered with misunderstandings and broken promises, in which the British, the Russians, and later the Americans, constantly underestimated the ability of the Afghans. In Afghanistan ...

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In Afghanistan

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Overview

Afghanistan has been a strategic prize for foreign empires for more than 200 years. The British, Russians, and Americans have all fought across its beautiful and inhospitable terrain, in conflicts variously ruthless, misguided and bloody. This violent history is the subject of David Loyn's magisterial book. It is a history littered with misunderstandings and broken promises, in which the British, the Russians, and later the Americans, constantly underestimated the ability of the Afghans. In Afghanistan brilliantly brings to life the personalities involved in Afghanistan's relationship with the world, chronicling the misunderstandings and missed opportunities that have so often led to war.

With 30 years experience as a foreign correspondent, David Loyn has had a front-row seat during Afghanistan’s recent history. In Afghanistan draws on David Loyn's unrivalled knowledge of the Taliban and the forces that prevail in Afghanistan, to provide the definitive analysis of the lessons these conflicts have for the present day.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for In Afghanistan:

 

"The weight of the material that Loyn has gathered makes his book extremely valuable given our current circumstances." —Publishers Weekly

 

“Journalist Loyn dissects numerous misbegotten British, Russian, and US efforts to bend this not quite nation-state to serve their respective interests….[A] fluid analysis….Loyn's treatment is crucial to understanding the failure of Soviet and US military intervention in Afghanistan since 1979….Essential.”—Choice

“[There are] terrific — and terrifying — tales in this short, sharp book. . .In Afghanistan targets the educated general reader, but it could educate generals.”—New York Post 

 

Praise for Frontline: The True Story of the British Mavericks who Changed the Face of War Reporting:

 

"As impossible to put down as a top-notch thriller."—The Daily Mail

 

“[There are] terrific — and terrifying — tales in this short, sharp book. . .In Afghanistan targets the educated general reader, but it could educate generals.”— New York Post

Publishers Weekly

Loyn's dense chronicle of foreign meddling in Afghanistan reveals the country's long history "of confounding the optimism of invaders." The stories that Loyn (Frontline), a longtime BBC correspondent with considerable experience in Afghanistan, recounts bear this out with chilling inevitability-generations of British, Soviet and most recently American leaders are confounded by shifting regional allegiances and unanticipated violent religious movements. Loyn's book is packed with details and anecdotes about the personalities that shaped the country, such as the Scottish adventurer Mountstuart Elphinstone, who first explored the region in 1808 armed only with Alexander the Great's account as guide; Abdur Habibullah, the obese turn of the century Afghan emir who rode around on a tricycle; and Charlie Wilson, whose funding of the mujahideen during the Soviet invasion is given an appropriately darker shading than in the recent book and film. Loyn's book suffers at times from a surfeit of dates and names without clear organization, and his eagerness to equate past conflicts and leaders to current ones results in frenetic time jumping. Nevertheless, the weight of the material that Loyn has gathered makes his book extremely valuable given our current circumstances. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Afghanistan, long the object of strategic interest, with invaders from Alexander the Great to the Soviet Union failing miserably, has suffered through capitalism, communism, and Islamicism in recent years, none fully taking hold. BBC correspondent Loyn has had close contacts with Taliban leaders. His views on various foreigners' ignorance, overconfidence, and missed opportunities make for a valuable gloss in view of President Obama's change of approach in Afghanistan.


—Edwin B. Burgess
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230614031
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 6/23/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,020,860
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

David Loyn has been an award-winning foreign correspondent for 30 years for the BBC. He has reported from such places as Moscow, Kosovo, Delhi, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Iraq and Kabul. His book Frontline: The True Story of the British Mavericks who Changed the Face of War Reporting was shortlisted for the 2006 Orwell Prize. He is currently the BBC's developing world correspondent. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    IN Afganistan

    an impresive account of Afganistan's resistance to empire building that
    provides a well documented list of players and tells how a backword
    nation without a strong central government can be easily conquered
    but never held while incurring great expense to the invaders.
    This should be required reading for every government official involved
    with Afgan policy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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