Games Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan

Front Cover
PublicAffairs, 2012 - History - 397 pages
22 Reviews
The history of modern Afghanistan is an epic drama, a thriller, a tragedy, a surreal farce. Every forty years or so, over the last two centuries, some great global power has attempted to take control of Afghanistan, only to slink away wounded and bewildered. Games without Rules recounts this strange story, not from the outside looking in, as is usually the case, but from the inside looking out. Here, the interventions and invasions by foreign powers are not the main event. They are interruptions of the main event, for Afghans have a story of their own, quite apart from all the invasions (a story often interrupted by invasions!)

Drawing on his Afghan background, Muslim roots, and Western and Afghan sources, Tamim Ansary weaves an epic story that moves from a universe of village republics—the old Afghanistan—through a tumultuous drama of tribes, factions, and forces, to the current struggle. The drama involves a dazzling array of colorful characters—such as the towering warrior-poet Ahmad Shah, who founded the country; the wily spider-king Dost Mohammed the Great, who told the British “I am like a wooden spoon; you can toss me about, but I will not be broken”; and the late nineteenth-century “Iron Amir,” who said a telescope would interest him only if it could shoot bullets, since what use had he for the moon?

A compelling narrative told in an accessible, conversational style, Games without Rules offers revelatory insight into a country long at the center of international debate, but never fully understood by the outside world.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
13
4 stars
6
3 stars
3
2 stars
0
1 star
0

He is a great writer and so easy to read. - Goodreads
It's a good starting point for a beginner like me. - Goodreads
Informative and easy to read book! - Goodreads

Review: Games Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan

User Review  - Naomi - Goodreads

Ansary's writing is always accessible, though occasionally relies heavily on ironic commentary or rhetorical questions. This book grants insights to Afghanistan's cultures and peoples and the historical situations that are strong influences in today's issues. Read full review

Review: Games Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan

User Review  - Hafizuddin - Goodreads

Such a nice book to understand whole Afghanistan history within 400 pages. Informative and easy to read book! Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Ahmad Shahs Afghanistan
17
Farangis on the Horizon
29
Between the Lion and the Bear
35
Aucklands Folly
47
The Second Coming
59
Eight or Ten Good Years
69
ONE COUNTRY TWO WORLDS
85
Things Fall Apart
127
KABUL RULES
133
Nonaligned Nation
147
OLD AFGHANISTAN ERUPTS
201
THE STRUGGLE RESUMES
265
POSTSCRIPT The Big Picture
343
59
357
101
363

A Time ofBlood and Iron
101
King of the Radicals
111
Kings Law Versus Gods
117

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Tamim Ansary is the author of Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes and West of Kabul, East of New York, among other books. For ten years he wrote a monthly column for Encarta.com, and has published essays and commentary in the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Alternet, TomPaine.com, Edutopia, Parade, Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. Born in Afghanistan in 1948, he moved to the U.S. in 1964. He lives in San Francisco, where he is director of the San Francisco Writers Workshop.

Bibliographic information