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The Afghan Campaign: A Novel Paperback – June 5, 2007
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“Pressfield has done it again. The Afghan Campaign is yet another gripping historical novel . . . Although set in ancient times, Pressfield’s narration of the Macedonians’ efforts reveals remarkable parallels to later efforts by the Romans, British, Soviets, and Americans . . . an intense, fun, and thought-provoking read. It belongs on your shelf.”
—T. X. Hammes, Marine Corps Gazette
“Pressfield's scholarly skills are part and parcel of his impressive talent for re-creating the visceral, scalp-carving, lance-in-back horror of ancient battle.”
“Fasinating . . . As Patrick O'Brien's prose seemed to encapsulate the feel of the Napoleonic-era warship, Pressfield's crisp and eloquent style reconstitutes the ancient battlefield.”
About the Author
steven pressfield is the author of the historical novels Gates of Fire, The Virtues of War, Tides of War, and Last of the Amazons. He lives in Los Angeles.
Top Customer Reviews
Not so Steven Pressfield, who repeatedly holds up the past as a mirror to our present--and never more devastatingly than in his latest and most brilliant novel, "The Afghan Campaign."
Matthias, a young Greek seeking glory and opportunity, signs up with the army of Alexander the Great. But the Persian Empire has fallen, and the days of conventional, set-piece battles where everyone can instantly tell friend from foe are over.
Alexander next plans to conquer India, but first he must pacify its gateway--Afghanistan. It is here, for the first time, that the Macedonians meet an enemy unlike any other. "Here the foe does not meet us in pitched battle," warns Alexander. "Even when we defeat him, he will no accept our dominion. He comes back again and again. He hates us with a passion whose depth is exceeded only by his patience and his capacity for suffering."
Matthias learns this early. In his first raid on an Afghan village, he's ordered to execute a helpless prisoner. When he refuses, he's brutalized until he strikes out with his sword--and then botches the job. But, soon, exposed to an unending series of atrocities--committed by himself and his comrades, as well as the enemy--he finds himself transformed.
It is not a transformation he expected--or relishes. He agonizes over the gap between the ideals he meant to embrace when he became a soldier--and the brutalities that have drained him of everything but a grim determination to survive at any cost.Read more ›
The book follows a young Macedonian youth named Matthias, who enlists as a mercenary in Alexander's army as it leaves the glories and supreme wealth of Persia. Matthias and his lifelong friend, Lucas, are eager to join up with relatives already in service and to partake in the triumphs of conquest. Yet, in Afghanistan, the foe will not fight a conventional battle. Using guerilla tactics and unspeakable acts of torture, the various tribes of the region, under the command of Spitamenes (who manages to outwit even Alexander), lure the undefeated army into a hellish conflict. Falling in with a group of hardened veterans (each one a memorable and intriguing character), Matthias and Lucas struggle to stay alive, safeguard their friends, and salvage what little bit of humanity they can out of a war where massacre and apathy are the norm.
The best attribute of the book is the sense of realism. Pressfield tosses you a half-pike and sends you into the unforgiving mountains of tribal Afghanistan.Read more ›
One warning: if you do pick up "The Afghan Campaign,: you might also want to get some Visine, because once you start reading, it's probably going to be the middle of the night before you finally put it down.
"The Afghan Campaign" is an excellent addition to Pressfield's stellar bibliography. Timely, impeccably researched, and riveting, this is one of those "unputdownable" books.
This is Pressfield's second novel about the campaigns of Alexander the Great, following "The Virtues of War." But, unlike "Virtues, where Pressfield put himself inside the head of Alexander himself, "Afghan Campaign" is narrated by Matthias, lowly ranker in the Macedonian army. This is a plus, since Pressfield's protagonist is a wholly fictional character and we don't have to worry about whether he's "getting Alexander right" on every page.
Matthias is also a wonderful character in his own right, and speaks with a straightforward soldier's jargon that is surprisingly charming. Those charms are among the few in the book, however, as the novel explores the clash of cultures between Greece (and, by implication, Western civilization) and the various tribes and clans of Afghanistan. The "Mack" soldiers are repeatedly shocked, horrified, and traumatized by the brutality of the people they have come to "civilize." Several times I had to put down the book for a few minutes to absorb the shock of what I had just read . . . testament to Pressfield's magnificent prose.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is up there with Gates of Fire. This book was an easy read compared to some of his other books and just as great. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Trash Panda
The Afghan campaign'' is the description of the hardest campaigns that took place in Central Asia. This novel is written from the perspective of young Macedonian soldier, starting... Read morePublished 3 months ago by mjare
A decent look at part of Alexander the Great’s campaign from the viewpoint of a young soldier. I thought some of the comparisons to more modern campaigns in the general area, while... Read morePublished 4 months ago by David Dunham
In a way, if you have read some of his other novels, you may have a sense at what may happen, but more in a ,"just wary of surprises and his style. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Damon Barley
Alexander's Campaign and results are like the American experiencePublished 7 months ago by steven pennington
Thoroughly enjoyed Pressfield's descriptions of the campaign - later invaders didn't seem to learn from Alexander's experiences!Published 9 months ago by Jerome Ellis
Always provides a pleasant read. I got it on time and as expected. I am very happy with the purchase.Published 9 months ago by JPD