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The Soviet-Afghan War 1979-89 (Essential Histories) Paperback – November 20, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Essential Histories (Book 75)
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (November 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849088055
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849088053
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.3 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...a winning pick for any modern military analysis."
- The Midwest Book Review (February 2013)

"The author does a superb job of telling the story of the Soviet-Afghan war. He covers how it was in Afghanistan before the Soviets became interested, how the Soviets poured money and resources into trying to make Afghanistan another communist country, how it failed, how the military was sent in, what they dealt with and how they tried to change things. It seems very familiar. They also failed. It is a fascinating look into a culture few truly understand and it shows what went wrong and why. An excellent read that anyone with even a passing interest in the subject will want to read. Chock full of photos and maps, it is highly recommended."
- Scott Van Aken, Modeling Madness (March 2013)

About the Author

Gregory Fremont-Barnes holds a doctorate in Modern History from Oxford University and serves as a Senior Lecturer in War Studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, dividing his work between teaching cadets on site and commissioned officers of the British Army posted to garrisons throughout the UK and abroad. He is the author of numerous titles for Osprey, including ESS 040: The Anglo-Afghan Wars 1839-1919.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
In 1979 the USSR poured combat troops into Afghanistan to prop up its client state to the south. Ten years later, after 15,000 Soviet and a million Afghan fatalities, the Russian Bear withdrew, having suffered a stinging defeat at the hands of the mujahideen. Military expert Gregory Fremont-Barnes examines the 1979-89 fighting in this incisive 2012 Osprey release, part of their ESSENTIAL HISTORIES series.

Quagmire is a pretty apt summary of the Soviet-Afghan War. Blithely assuming they'd make quick work of the guerrilla uprising, the Soviet committed inadequate numbers of troops, utilized tactics unsuited to victory in Afghanistan, failed to realize the government being propped was extremely unpopular, totally lacked an understanding of the Afghan culture and so on. Not only was the puppet government toppled after the Soviet withdrawal, the USSR itself was on the brink of collapse, due, in part, to that very same war.

Fremont-Barnes does an excellent job of summarizing Afghanistan's history pre-invasion, the Soviet invasion, subsequent combat ops, political developments and, perhaps most importantly, the consequences of the mujahideen victory on Afghanistan, the USSR and the world.

For those unfamiliar with the Soviet-Afghan War, Fremont-Barnes' book will be an invaluable primer on the subject. He clearly and concisely plots Russia's road to ruin. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Burr on January 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Consise history of the war, like most Osprey books, it does a great job of presenting the facts and highligting the salient aspects of the war. The U.S. military faces many of the same problems and enemy, as the Soviets did...history repeating itself?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By WryGuy2 TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, "The Soviet-Afghan War 1979-89", by Gregory Fermont-Barnes, is an entry in Osprey Publishing's Essential History Series. To quote from Osprey's web page, "Each Essential Histories book studies the origins, politics, fighting and repercussions of one major war or theatre of war, from both military and civilian perspectives ... Featuring full colour maps, diagrams and photography throughout, each book in Osprey's Essential Histories series also includes pictures of contemporary artwork and artifacts, providing a full visual appreciation what it was like to live through each war." Including the index, the book is 96 pages cover to cover (not 80 pages as listed in the product description above).

As suggested by Osprey's summary, the book is more of a high level overview of the Afghanistan and the Soviet -Afghan conflict than a pure coverage of the war. The author begins with a discussion of the genesis of Russian/Soviet-Afghan relations (primarily beginning in the 1800's), discusses the warring sides, and covers the outbreak of the conflict and the fighting itself. He then shifts to following one Soviet soldier's story for a chapter, provides a look into how the typical Afghani lived, and discusses the experience of a western journalist who rode with the mujahedeen on two expeditions in 1985. He then explains how the war ended, and offers some analysis of the war and conclusions.

I'll admit that I was expecting more detailed coverage of the Soviet campaigns and various battles when I purchased the book. Most of the depictions are either broad overviews or notional examples of how each side would conduct operation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carl Willner on January 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, the latest in Osprey's Essential Histories' series, deals with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the waning days of the the Soviet Union (yes, the invasion that led the U.S. to pull out of the Moscow Olympics). The book is well illustrated with maps and photos, and has much useful detail on this obscure conflict, which began the chain of events that led to the United States also being drawn into Afghanistan in 2001. In that war, the Soviet Union was backing a pro-Soviet government that had overthrown its predecessor, against a Muslim insurgency that came to be heavily backed by the U.S., ironic in light of the current posture of the U.S. there. The author's analysis of the conflict is sound, and highlights the difficulty of putting down an Afghan insurgency even by one of the strongest military forces in the world, as well as the many mistakes the Russians made.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maggot on March 3, 2013
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I thought this was an outstanding short book concerning a war not well understood in the USA. The summary/conclusion was very well done. Photos and maps helped support the author's intent.
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The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which was the first war for many modern day terrorists is covered in this good, new Osprey book. I enjoyed this account of the Russian Vietnam.
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Format: Paperback
An excellent examination of the war, with the strengths and weaknesses of the Soviet, Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) and insurgents laid out for the reader. Following much internal political infighting among the Marxist party running Afghanistan, much of it quite bloody, the USSR invaded in 1979 in order to stabilize the country. Instead they found themselves embroiled in an insurgency, propping up a Moscow-trained urban elite thoroughly out of touch with the Afghan peasants in the rural areas. Fremont-Barnes has done an excellent job of discussing the conflict as a series of phases, with each phase oriented towards different objectives as the Soviets changed their policies toward Afghanistan.

Discusses various personalities, weapons and tactics in use during the war. Well-illustrated with photos and maps.
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