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Afghanistan's Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, and the Rise of the Taliban Paperback – October, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"After a good introductory chapter and a well-done short account of historical factors shaping Afghanistan, Goodson documents in eight stages the continual war from 1978 to early 2001. The detail of his periodization is daunting, but it brings out well the feudal reality of Afghanistan's many warring factions. . . a useful guide."―Foreign Affairs
"The overall argument about Afghanistan's disintegration has been well covered in the media, but Goodson highlights the impact of interethnic conflicts, exacerbated by the destructive intervention of the U.S.S.R., the United States and Pakistan. There's also more depth, complexity and detail here than the media can provide."―Publishers Weekly
"Afghanistan’s Endless War is a serious study of, as its subtitle says, 'state failure, regional politics and the rise of the Taliban,' and it brings us right up to early 2001. . . Read this book and you'll come to realize that the Saudi Osama bin Laden and other terrorists were foisted on an unwilling population from the outside. Political Islam and the fundamentalist theocracy that now governs the country were also an alien and unwelcome imposition on a people happily accustomed to keeping their mullahs confined to mosques."―Wall Street Journal
"Essential reading for anyone―and nowadays this should mean all of us―who wants to understand what Afghanistan is like and how it got to be that way."―Journal of Democracy
"A mix of interviews with Taliban leaders and field research combine to illuminate what has been happening in Afghanistan over the last 20 years and concludes, presciently, that 'what happens in Afghanistan will continue to affect stability and security in an increasingly important region of the post-Cold War world"―Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Goodson knows what he is talking about. He has been to the places he writes about. He knows the people. He has studied his subject carefully and closely. And he has thought about it all and turned what he knows and saw into a solid, and seriously disturbing, book. . . Readers will close this book with key knowledge they could find elsewhere only by going to multiple sources. They will also encounter a keen mind that doesn't parrot common rhetoric."―Salem Statesman Journal
"Goodson delivers a brief but powerful analysis of the ethnic, religious, social and geographic divisions which have produced seven million refugees, two million deaths and a whole lot of heartache and pain."―Alibi
Top Customer Reviews
The Cold War played out in the Third World (much the way that colonialism did during the Concert of Europe and its aftermath from 1815 to 1914) as Great Powers vying with each other through proxies in preference to direct conflict. Commercial interests played a secondary role. With the demise of the USSR, commercial interests have not moved to the fore. Rather, second and third-tier Powers have been freed to reenact proxy warfare in the weakest of states, like Afghanistan (and Zaire, Indonesia, etc.).Read more ›
It is easy to read and understand. He sets forth all the historical facts including the facts that we do not want to hear. No matter what you may think before reading Mr. Goodson's book, after you read his book you certainly will have more to think about.
Many people who thought they had the answer as to what to do about Afghanistan, have found themselves asking. . . "What should we do about Afghanistan and the Middle East"? If you read closely he gives us a few hints!
After reading the book (one interesting passage, by the way, was his comment (I paraphrase) "it would be difficult to imagine a scenario that would remove the Taliban from power in the near future" I was left pondering the amazing twist and turns reality takes -- and saw this whole region in an entirely different light. Particularly the role of Pakistan.
(Some might see) the book as rather sterile. I did not. I found it much more engaging than "Tournament of Shadows", for example -- but then again, I am fascinated by the kind of analysis this author engages in. Showing how behavior (of individuals, societies, cultures) is multi-determined, and avoiding the pitfalls of simplistic answers to complex questions.
The most cogent ideas I came away with where the horrifc devastation caused by the Soviet Union in its attempt to take over the country in the 1980s. The problem it has created for Pakistan being a host to the Afghan refugees and backing the Afghans in their war efforts against first the Russians and then the Northern Alliance. Lastly the number of bordering countries and their involvement in Paksitan.
This is an excellent analysis and makes one feel very sorry for the plight of this poor country caught in the middle of the cross hairs of major powers
Goodson understands why outside powers fail in Afghanistan in the long run, expending resources with nothing tangible to show in the end. It is a unique, diverse and ungoverned country, with a long history of conflict and shifting loyalties. This is a place where things don't work the same way as anywhere else. Even now, it would be beneficial if more Americans read this book and force more thoughtful coverage in the media.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You can tell this book is the author's adapted PhD thesis. That's not a criticism. Larry Goodson has been studying and traveling to Afghanistan for decades, and this is an... Read morePublished on September 28, 2011 by Autumn Sun
This is an insightful book written by a fantastic scholar. He lived and wrote in Afganistan and has first-hand knowledge of the situation. Read morePublished on June 4, 2009 by Vasile
I spent over four months in Afghanistan this year, and this was one of the books I read in preparation. Read morePublished on December 27, 2004 by Amazon Customer
Wow, what a scholarly survey of the Afghan civil war to include the Soviet occupation, the pursuit of power by the competing mujahadeen factions, and the rise of the Taliban. Read morePublished on October 3, 2002
Larry Goodson's Afghanistan's Endless War is a gem that shines with solid research and clear prose. This survey of Afghanistan's past will assist anyone who wishes to grasp how... Read morePublished on August 1, 2002 by Glenn jensen
I have to say before I start this review that this is not going to be nearly as glowing as the other reviews on this book. There's a good reason for that (in my opinion of course). Read morePublished on February 24, 2002 by Norm Zurawski
This is a very impressive book, perhaps one of the best all-around books on Afghanistan, yet when I finished it I had the strongest feeling that it had been a rather antisceptic... Read morePublished on November 12, 2001 by Robert David STEELE Vivas