Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-89

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Oxford University Press, Sep 6, 2011 - History - 432 pages
3 Reviews
The story of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan is well known: the expansionist Communists overwhelmed a poor country as a means of reaching a warm-water port on the Persian Gulf. Afghan mujahideen upset their plans, holding on with little more than natural fighting skills, until CIA agents came to the rescue with American arms. Humiliated in battle, the Soviets hastily retreated. It is a great story-but it never happened. In this brilliant, myth-busting account, Rodric Braithwaite, the former British ambassador to Moscow, challenges much of what we know about the Soviets in Afghanistan. He provides an inside look at this little-understood episode, using first-hand accounts and piercing analysis to show the war as it was fought and experienced by the Russians. The invasion was a defensive response to a chaotic situation in the Soviets' immediate neighbor. They intended to establish a stable, friendly government, secure the major towns, and train the police and armed forces before making a rapid exit. But the mission escalated, as did casualties. Braithwaite does not paint the occupation as a Russian triumph. To the contrary, he illustrates the searing effect of the brutal conflict on soldiers, their families, and the broader public, as returning veterans struggled to regain their footing back home. Now available in paperback, Braithwaite carries readers through these complex and momentous events, capturing those violent and tragic days as no one has done before.

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User Review  - drmaf - LibraryThing

Long overdue English language account of a war the West profoundly misunderstood, and a wonderful read to boot. The author presents a scrupulously fair description of the Soviet Union's bloody and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - oparaxenos - LibraryThing

This was a balanced and sympathetic account of the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. The author draws many parallels with the much larger American involvement in Vietnam, with one important ... Read full review


Maps Authors Note
The Road to Kabul
Paradise Lost
The Tragedy Begins
The Decision to Intervene
The Storming of the Palace
Devastation and Disillusion
The Long Goodbye
Going Home
The Road to the Bridge
The War Continues
A Land Fit for Heroes
The Reckoning

The Disasters of
The 40th Army Goes to
The Nationbuilders
Soldiering 9 Fighting
Order of Battle of the 40th Army 341
List of Illustrations

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About the author (2011)

Rodric Braithwaite was British ambassador in Moscow from 1988 to 1992, and is now chairman of the International Advisory Council of the Moscow School of Political Studies. He is the author of Moscow 1941 and Across the Moscow River.

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