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The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost Paperback – February 5, 2002
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Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
"The Soviet Afghan War" is an attempt to distill lessons from a bitter experience. The Soviet Army that rolled into Afghanistan in 1979 was a formidable force trained to do battle with NATO in Western Europe. They were unprepared for a guerilla war waged in the high mountains and deserts of Afghanistan. However, as the war progressed, the Soviets learned and adpopted new tactics. The Army that left Afghanistan was radically transformed. This learning process is at the core of the book.
This is the third book in Lt. Col Grau's trilogy on the Soviet Afghan War. "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" is about combat as seen through the eyes of Platoon and Company Leaders. "The Other Side of the Mountain" is war and all its tactical permutations as seen by the Muhajadeen. "The Soviet Afghan War" is the big picture as seen by colonels and generals. Of the three books, "The Soviet Afghan War" is the most intellectually satisfying.
The organization of this book is worth noting. Each chapter covers a given subject, written by a different Russian officer who we can assume is a subject matter expert. As I alluded to earlier, I would be filled with questions at the end of some of these chapters. The editors always came to my rescue by adding their own comments in the end of each chapter and subject that neatly answered all questions.
This is one of those books that should be read by every serving officer and enlisted man in the armed forces. It not only gives a clear and understandable view of how combat maneuver units work, but also logistics, combat support and all the other services that make war possible and impossible, or were used and misused. While I'm on the subject of who should read this book, it might be even more important for politicians and Foreign Service officers to study it thoroughly. This book showcases the disconnect between policy that's easily created and the effort it takes to enact that policy.
You get what you pay for, this is the literary equivalent of the cold, soul-killing, concrete block architecture employed by the soviets through Eastern Europe and Afghanistan.
If you can get past all of that, and it is a DIFFICULT read, you will find a level of detail and thoroughness without peer. It is similar to books published by our own government. Lots of numbers, lots of diagrams, and tons of information (20 pages on Ammunition Combat Service Support anyone?). The reader will need a decent level of understanding of military science - because the book does not stop long to explain concepts, and assumes quite a bit of the reader.
In conclusion, it is the type of book you only really begin to enjoy when you have finished it. A worthy undertaking.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is much to much difficult for me to read and process...so have not got beyond the initial reading ot it..
Mayi returnn it for an easier reading for me?
This is the 7th book on the Soviet-Afghan War I've read, and Lester Grau kept up his reputation with this book for historical investigative detail. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Brett Thompson
This book is a factual top-down officer's view of the Soviet Afghan Intervention in detail. Some of the side commentaries by Grau are interesiting, some are biased, and some are... Read morePublished on May 18, 2014 by Ruby21
An intricate and blow by blow look at how the Soviets fought the Afghans and the tactical difficulties they faced. Read morePublished on November 20, 2013 by TD
This book gets into the weeds. But if you want to see what happened to the US in this region read this bookPublished on August 10, 2013 by Gerald Nickley
I have read all of Mr. Grau's books and his articles. He is a consummate military professional. I can not recommend enough.Published on July 20, 2013 by Kenneth
As a young boy in Argentina, in 1984 i read in a newspaper about a "Soviet offensive in the Panjsher valley, Afghanistan", from this day my passion for military history began and... Read morePublished on May 26, 2013 by Alejandro Casalegno