Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the Present (Library Edition)

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9780786194766: Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the Present (Library Edition)

The only complete single-volume military history of Afghanistan, from ancient times to the war waged by the United States after September 11.

Following the events of September 11, 2001, the world was riveted as American military power contested the legendary warrior culture of Afghanistan. By spring 2002, America began to draw down its forces, its mission accomplished: The Afghan Taliban regime has been overthrown and the terrorists it harbored were on the run. Was America's easy victory proof of its military superiority, or were the Afghans merely eyeing the newcomers as they have watched foreign armies in centuries past, knowing time is on their side?

For over 2,500 years, the forbidding territory of Afghanistan has served as a vital crossroads--not just for armies but for clashes between civilizations--the Greeks, Arabs, Mongols, and Tartars, and in more recent times, Britain and Russia. Now America must face a new enemy on this land--a land that for centuries has become a graveyard of empires past.

This first-ever complete military history of Afghanistan illuminates the broad historical context into which American forces have been drawn--a cautionary tale, perhaps, about the dangers that may lie ahead.

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Review:

Stephen Tanner's Afghanistan: A Military History recounts with brisk authority and many illuminating analogies the 2,500-year story of a country--for much of that time it was more properly a region--of "incredible beauty" (soldiers liken it to western Colorado) that has been both the "coveted prize of empires" and, more recently, a hideout for international terrorists. What Afghanistan has known for virtually all of its history is war. Tanner tells, with a good narrative eye, of the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan by Cyrus, Alexander, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, the British (disastrously), and the Soviet Union (only slightly less so), as well as the rise, and fall, of the Taliban, ending the book with a brief, speculative chapter on the country's present and future. Tucked in Tanner's overview are fascinating historical footnotes, including the Afghans' reliance over the centuries on its now-infamous caves, and its brief role in World War II--the Nazis felt a kinship with the blonde, blue-eyed segments of the population. This is a noteworthy and valuable book: accessible, objective, informative, and informed. --H. O'Billovich

About the Author:

Stephen Tanner is a military historian and free-lance writer. His previous works include Epic Retreats: From 1776 to the Evacuation of Saigon and Refuge from the Reich: American Airmen and Switzerland During WWII. He lives in Long Island, New York.

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