From Publishers Weekly
Loyn's dense chronicle of foreign meddling in Afghanistan reveals the country's long history of confounding the optimism of invaders. The stories that Loyn (Frontline
), a longtime BBC correspondent with considerable experience in Afghanistan, recounts bear this out with chilling inevitability—generations of British, Soviet and most recently American leaders are confounded by shifting regional allegiances and unanticipated violent religious movements. Loyn's book is packed with details and anecdotes about the personalities that shaped the country, such as the Scottish adventurer Mountstuart Elphinstone, who first explored the region in 1808 armed only with Alexander the Great's account as guide; Abdur Habibullah, the obese turn of the century Afghan emir who rode around on a tricycle; and Charlie Wilson, whose funding of the mujahideen during the Soviet invasion is given an appropriately darker shading than in the recent book and film. Loyn's book suffers at times from a surfeit of dates and names without clear organization, and his eagerness to equate past conflicts and leaders to current ones results in frenetic time jumping. Nevertheless, the weight of the material that Loyn has gathered makes his book extremely valuable given our current circumstances. (July)
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The weight of the material that Loyn has gathered makes his book extremely valuable given our current circumstances. (Publishers Weekly
Journalist Loyn dissects numerous misbegotten British, Russian, and US efforts to bend this not quite nation-state to serve their respective interests….[A] fluid analysis….Loyn's treatment is crucial to understanding the failure of Soviet and US military intervention in Afghanistan since 1979….Essential. (Choice
[There are] terrific -- and terrifying -- tales in this short, sharp book. . .In Afghanistan targets the educated general reader, but it could educate generals. (New York Post