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Afghanistan : A Cultural and Political History,9780691145686

Afghanistan : A Cultural and Political History

by
ISBN13:

9780691145686

ISBN10:
0691145687
Format:
Hardcover
Pub. Date:
3/29/2010
Publisher(s):
Princeton Univ Pr
List Price: $29.95

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This is the edition with a publication date of 3/29/2010.
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Customer Reviews

Incredible book  April 28, 2011
by


This textbook was the best of all the ones I read prior to and while stationed in Afghanistan. It is a well written textbook and with recent comments made by the President of Afghanistan the author has hit the nail on the head. Professor Barfield definitely has spent considerable time there and does a wonderful job explaining their political history and cultural history as best possible for a textbook under 1000 pages. Extremely readable. I recommend this cheap textbook for all and ecampus for purchasing, I bought a lot of stuff and they always deliver it fast and in great condition. I have never had any problems with ecampus.






Afghanistan : A Cultural and Political History: 4 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

Summary

Afghanistan traces the historic struggles and the changing nature of political authority in this volatile region of the world, from the Mughal Empire in the sixteenth century to the Taliban resurgence today.

Thomas Barfield introduces readers to the bewildering diversity of tribal and ethnic groups in Afghanistan, explaining what unites them as Afghans despite the regional, cultural, and political differences that divide them. He shows how governing these peoples was relatively easy when power was concentrated in a small dynastic elite, but how this delicate political order broke down in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when Afghanistan's rulers mobilized rural militias to expel first the British and later the Soviets. Armed insurgency proved remarkably successful against the foreign occupiers, but it also undermined the Afghan government's authority and rendered the country ever more difficult to govern as time passed.

Barfield vividly describes how Afghanistan's armed factions plunged the country into a civil war, giving rise to clerical rule by the Taliban and Afghanistan's isolation from the world. He examines why the American invasion in the wake of September 11 toppled the Taliban so quickly, and how this easy victory lulled the United States into falsely believing that a viable state could be built just as easily.

Afghanistan is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how a land conquered and ruled by foreign dynasties for more than a thousand years became the "graveyard of empires" for the British and Soviets, and what the United States must do to avoid a similar fate.

''This book is an authoritative and well-written summary of what we might call the majority view. There is a streak in this book, however, of more radical thinking. . . . It leads him near the end of the book to some startling predictions for Afghanistan's possible futures.'' - Gerard Russell, Foreign Policy

''A brilliant book to educate all of us about a country we should know and appreciate. . . . Thomas Barfield's book on Afghanistan is likely to become the first source that serious students turn to as a guide to this complicated country. His comprehensive portrait of Afghanistan is a stunning achievement.'' - Joseph Richard Preville, Saudi Gazette

''Barfield, an anthropologist and old Afghanistan hand, has written a history of Afghanistan that weaves in geography, economics, and culture (think tribes, rural-urban dichotomies, value systems) while maintaining a focus throughout on Afghan rulers' relations with their own people and the outside world. The book is lightened by many breaks in the narrative to address broad themes or make intriguing comparisons, such as likening patrimonial Afghanistan to medieval Europe.'' - Foreign Affairs

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. vii
Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
People and Placesp. 17
Conquering and Ruling Premodern Afghanistanp. 66
Anglo-Afghan Wars and State Building in Afghanistanp. 110
Afghanistan in the Twentieth Century: State and Society in Conflictp. 164
Afghanistan Enters the Twenty-first Centuryp. 272
Some Conclusionsp. 337
Notesp. 351
Referencesp. 359
Indexp. 367
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


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