Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War Against the Taliban

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Da Capo Press, 2009 - HISTORY - 393 pages
4 Reviews
For over 2,500 years, the forbidding territory of Afghanistan has served as a vital crossroads for armies and has witnessed history-shaping clashes between civilizations: Greek, Arab, Mongol, and Tartar, and, in more recent times, British, Russian, and American. When U.S. troops entered Afghanistan in the weeks following September 11, 2001, they overthrew the Afghan Taliban regime and sent the terrorists it harbored on the run. But America’s initial easy victory is in sharp contrast to the difficulties it faces today in confronting the Taliban resurgence.

Originally published in 2002, Stephen Tanner’s Afghanistan has now been completely updated to include the crucial turn of events since America first entered the country.

 

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One of my LTs at NOSC Pensacola FL. Said I should read - Afghanistan – A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War Against the Taliban by Stephen Tanner. I picked this book up months ago and put it high on my reading list. I know so little about this area and this is not a good state to be in when your country is at war. We, as responsible Americans, should educate ourselves as much as we can about our foreign affairs.
The History of Afghanistan is both amazing and sad. The book paints a picture of a people and land that just never could get on the right path. There are many examples of great things that happened in this country, but they never really stick to a good thing. The land has also been attacked in nearly every century. Add the attacks to the tribal in fighting and there is no good outcome.
The final 5 chapters – The Soviets, The Mujahideen, The Rise of the Taliban, The Americans and Pashtunistan are, in my opinion, the best of the book. If you only read these 5 chapters it is worth getting the book (I hope you read all the book). The Pashtunistan chapter really helps seal the understanding that this is a complex issue and not going to be solved anytime in the near future.
Ahmed Shah Massoud was introduced in the chapter titled The Mujahideen and his life ends in the last paragraph of The Rise of the Taliban. Massoud, also pictured on the front of the book, was killed by the Taliban Sep. 10, 2001 – the day before the Twin Towers were attacked. It is too bad that he was killed; he was a great man for his country and could have done a lot to stabilize the region after the US pushed back the Taliban.
 

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Contents

ALEXANDER THE GREAT
17
THE PRIZE OF CONQUEST
53
THE MONGOLS
81
THE RISE OF AFGHANISTAN
109
THE GREAT GAME
129
THE TRIUMPH OF THE TRIBES
155
VICTORIAN VENGEANCE
189
THE SOVIETS
221
THE MUJAHIDEEN
243
THE RISE OF THE TALIBAN
271
THE AMERICANS
289
PASHTUNISTAN
321
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About the author (2009)

Stephen Tanner is a New York-based military historian who has written several highly regarded books, including Epic Retreats: From 1776 to the Evacuation of Saigon.

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