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The Afghan Syndrome: The Soviet Union's Vietnam

Sarin, O. L. (Oleg Leonidovich), and Dvoretskii, L. S. (Lev Semenovich)

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ISBN 10: 0891414207 / ISBN 13: 9780891414209
Published by Presidio, Novato, CA, 1993
Condition: good, good
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About this Item

24 cm, 195, references, index, edges soiled. The full story of the Soviet Union's "Vietnam" by two distinguished Soviet soldier-journalists. The authors show how the Afghan war affected the Soviet people, especially those who returned from the war to try to find their places in Soviet society. Bookseller Inventory # 37456

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Afghan Syndrome: The Soviet Union's ...

Publisher: Presidio, Novato, CA

Publication Date: 1993

Book Condition: good, good

Edition: First? Edition. First? Printing.

About this title


July 7, 1979: Leonid Brezhnev stunned the western world by ordering the Red Army into Afghanistan, a supposedly staunch ally. There has been a great deal of speculation on the events preceding the invasion and the actions of the Soviet Union and its soldiers for the next ten years.
Until now, the full story of the Soviet Union's "Vietnam" has remained untold. The Afghan Syndrome, by two distinguished Soviet soldier-journalists, delves into the state-controlled secret archives to give readers the true story of the internal intrigue in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital city, and the tenuous relationships between the giant Soviet superpower and its tiny but strategically situated neighbor.
The book provides details of military operations against the Mujahidin, the brave and relentless insurgent fighters who were willing to risk everything for Allah and their country as they sought to destroy the invaders. The authors tell of incredible bravery on the part of the Soviet soldiers, who were ill-suited to fight in this barren and inhospitable land so far from their homes.
In another parallel to America's war in Vietnam, we learn that the Soviet soldiers, who were sent in harm's way by old politicians, did not receive the reception they deserved after their return from Afghanistan. Instead, in many cases, they were treated as pariahs, not heroes - a familiar story to our own veterans.
This conflict is responsible for many of the reforms instituted by Gorbachev, and its effects are still influencing the world today.

From Kirkus Reviews:

An ambitious attempt to take stock of the Soviet experience in Afghanistan, by Russian military experts with access to previously unpublished archival material. Sarin (a serving major general who's a top editor of Red Star, the daily newspaper of the erstwhile USSR's armed forces) and Dvoretsky (a retired-colonel-turned-journalist) make a serious effort to come to grips with the sociopolitical impact of a dirty, undeclared war against the people of an ostensibly friendly neighbor that dragged on from late 1979 until early 1989. The authors offer a succinct rundown on Afghanistan's turbulent history; blunt analyses of the Kremlin's postinvasion blundering; orders of battle on both sides (complete with vivid takes on the mortal perils endured by the poorly trained young conscripts Moscow sent to fight rebel tribesman in a harsh land); poignant accounts of the hostility with which returning combat vets were greeted on the home front; and a kaleidoscopic overview of Afghanistan's lingering legacy throughout the former USSR. The authors conclude that, while the restructuring of Soviet society and values might have occurred had there been no enervating conflict, ``the Afghan tragedy made perestroika inevitable.'' They also argue that the costly, bloody struggle produced no winners: While the force of Soviet arms prevented the mujahidin from overthrowing the puppet regime in Kabul, military might proved unequal to the task of quelling or controlling a grass-roots revolt that was covertly aided by the US. At every opportunity in their heartfelt tract (the translation of which is serviceable at best), Sarin and Dvoretsky seize on dour determinations of this sort to remind their countrymen and the world that Afghanistan was a game not worth the candle. A lest-we-forget reckoning ... la Russe. (The earnest text has 48 b&w photos--not seen) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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