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HarperCollins Publications
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Customer Reviews

A Good Introduction to Afghan History  March 28, 2011

This short and quick textbook easily lives up to its title. This would be a good introductory textbook to anyone who wants an overview of the history and culture that is very much alive in Afghanistan today. The citizens of Afghanistan have a very keen sense of their history and will talk about conflicts between tribes that happened decades or centuries ago as if they were yesterday. May of the conspiracy theories that this textbook says Afghans hold to the influence of Britain, the US or Russia on their lives have been echoed by the interpreters that I had here in country.

Afghanistan: 4 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.


Reaching back to earliest times, Martin Ewans examines the historical evolution of one of today's most dangerous breeding grounds of global terrorism. After a succession of early dynasties and the emergence of an Afghan empire during the eighteenth century, the nineteenth and early twentieth century saw a fierce power struggle between Russia and Britain for supremacy in Afghanistan that was ended by the nation's proclamation of independence in 1919. A communist coup in the late 1970s overthrew the established regime and led to the invasion of Soviet troops in 1979. Roughly a decade later, the Soviet Union withdrew, condemning Afghanistan to a civil war that tore apart the nation's last remnants of religious, ethnic, and political unity. It was into this climate that the Taliban was born.

Today, war-torn and economically destitute, Afghanistan faces unique challenges as it looks toward an uncertain future. Martin Ewans carefully weighs the lessons of history to provide a frank look at Afghanistan's prospects and the international resonances of the nation's immense task of total political and economic reconstruction.

“An intelligent and useful book ... Ewans surveys the major episodes and controversies of Afghan history fairly and completely.... concise, overarching narrative that fills a void.”


Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Introduction: The Land and the Peoplep. 1
Early Historyp. 15
The Emergence of the Afghan Kingdomp. 29
The Rise of Dost Mohammedp. 45
The First Anglo-Afghan Warp. 59
Dost Mohammed and Sher Alip. 71
The Second Anglo-Afghan Warp. 86
Abdur Rahman, The "Iron Amir"p. 98
Habibullah and the Politics of Neutralityp. 110
Amanullah and the Drive for Modernizationp. 118
The Rule of the Brothersp. 136
Daoud: The First Decadep. 152
King Zahir and Cautious Constitutionalismp. 164
The Return of Daoud and the Saur Revolutionp. 176
Khalq Rule and Soviet Invasionp. 189
Occupation and Resistancep. 206
Humiliation and Withdrawalp. 226
Civil Warp. 238
Enter the Talibanp. 249
The Taliban Regimep. 261
Oil, Drugs and International Terrorismp. 272
The Fall of the Talibanp. 284
The Futurep. 294
The Durrani Dynastyp. 300
Notesp. 301
Bibliographyp. 317
Indexp. 327
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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