Long Goodbye: the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan [NOOK Book]

Overview

The conflict in Afghanistan looms large in the collective consciousness of Americans. What has the United States achieved, and how will it withdraw without sacrificing those gains? The Soviet Union confronted these same questions in the 1980s, and Artemy Kalinovsky’s history of the USSR’s nine-year struggle to extricate itself from Afghanistan and bring its troops home provides a sobering perspective on exit options in the region.

What makes Kalinovsky’s intense account both ...

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Long Goodbye: the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan

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Overview

The conflict in Afghanistan looms large in the collective consciousness of Americans. What has the United States achieved, and how will it withdraw without sacrificing those gains? The Soviet Union confronted these same questions in the 1980s, and Artemy Kalinovsky’s history of the USSR’s nine-year struggle to extricate itself from Afghanistan and bring its troops home provides a sobering perspective on exit options in the region.

What makes Kalinovsky’s intense account both timely and important is its focus not on motives for initiating the conflict but on the factors that prevented the Soviet leadership from ending a demoralizing war. Why did the USSR linger for so long, given that key elites recognized the blunder of the mission shortly after the initial deployment?

Newly available archival material, supplemented by interviews with major actors, allows Kalinovsky to reconstruct the fierce debates among Soviet diplomats, KGB officials, the Red Army, and top Politburo figures. The fear that withdrawal would diminish the USSR’s status as leader of the Third World is palpable in these disagreements, as are the competing interests of Afghan factions and the Soviet Union’s superpower rival in the West. This book challenges many widely held views about the actual costs of the conflict to the Soviet leadership, and its findings illuminate the Cold War context of a military engagement that went very wrong, for much too long.

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Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal
The Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979-89) has passed from being the subject of angry international debate to the object of calm historical inquiry, but given the current conflict there, the period retains a certain urgent resonance. [This] new book sheds useful light on those days...[A] highly detailed study of the Soviet withdrawal.
— Brian M. Downing
Choice
This intriguing, well-written book by Kalinovsky draws some important parallels between the Soviet Union's misadventures in Afghanistan in the 1980s and the dilemmas facing the U.S. in Afghanistan today. Rather than a scholarly tome, this is a great piece that reads more like investigative journalism. It makes for an entertaining, thought-provoking read.
— M. D. Crosston
Cleveland Plain Dealer
[Kalinovsky] sketches a candid portrait of the Politburo's frustrations and doubts over the 10-year military campaign, which ended in the 1989 retreat...A Long Goodbye reminds its readers of the U.S. military incursions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Kalinovsky doesn't dwell on why the Soviets went in, but wonders why it took the country so long to bring its soldiers home...The U.S. reader cannot miss the resonance of this story. It may be even more relevant now that Osama bin Laden is out of the picture.
— Eleanor Mallet
Financial Times
[Kalinovsky's] account is meticulously documented and supplemented by interviews with surviving Russian protagonists. Though further documents will no doubt come to light, it is unlikely his lucid and elegant narrative will soon be bettered.
— Rodric Braithwaite
Literary Review
How Moscow faced up to its Afghan quagmire is convincingly explained by Artemy M. Kalinovsky in A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan. Kalinovsky has squeezed every available drop of information out of the still well-defended Soviet archives.
— Jonathan Mirsky
Bookforum
Deeply researched and fluidly written.
— Andrew Meier
Times Literary Supplement
[A] first-rate...book on the Soviet experience in Afghanistan...with somber messages for the countries whose armed forces are now active there...Artemy M. Kalinovsky makes good use of recently available archival evidence and memoirs, supplemented by interviews with Soviet politicians and military participants in the war in Afghanistan.
— Archie Brown
New York Review of Books
A Long Goodbye, by Russian historian Artemy Kalinovsky, is an excellent account of the Gorbachev administration's handling of the actual withdrawal process and the futile Soviet search for a peace settlement.
— Anatol Lieven
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674061040
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/5/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 290
  • Sales rank: 901,013
  • File size: 829 KB

Meet the Author

Artemy Kalinovsky is Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam and Research Associate at the Cold War Studies Programme at the London School of Economics and Politics.
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