Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42 (Hardcover)

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ITEM# 14227526
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ITEM#: 14227526

WILLIAM DALRYMPLE is the author of seven previous works of history and travel, includingCity of Djinns, which won the Young British Writer of the Year Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award; the best-sellingFrom the Holy Mountain; White Mughals, which won Britain’s most prestigious history prize, the Wolfson; andThe Last Mughal, which won the Duff Cooper Prize for History and Biography. He divides his time between New Delhi and London, and is a contributor toThe New York Review of Books and The New Yorker.

From William Dalrymple—award-winning historian, journalist and travel writer—a masterly retelling of what was perhaps the West’s greatest imperial disaster in the East, and an important parable of neocolonial ambition, folly and hubris that has striking relevance to our own time.

With access to newly discovered primary sources from archives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and India—including a series of previously untranslated Afghan epic poems and biographies—the author gives us the most immediate and comprehensive account yet of the spectacular first battle for Afghanistan: the British invasion of the remote kingdom in 1839. Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed helmets, and facing little resistance, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the mountain passes from India into Afghanistan in order to reestablish Shah Shuja ul-Mulk on the throne, and as their puppet. But after little more than two years, the Afghans rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country exploded into rebellion. This First Anglo-Afghan War ended with an entire army of what was then the most powerful military nation in the world ambushed and destroyed in snowbound mountain passes by simply equipped Afghan tribesmen. Only one British man made it through.

But Dalrymple takes us beyond the bare outline of this infamous battle, and with penetrating, balanced insight illuminates the uncanny similarities between the West’s first disastrous entanglement with Afghanistan and the situation today. He delineates the straightforward facts: Shah Shuja and President Hamid Karzai share the same tribal heritage; the Shah’s principal opponents were the Ghilzai tribe, who today make up the bulk of the Taliban’s foot soldiers; the same cities garrisoned by the British are today garrisoned by foreign troops, attacked from the same rings of hills and high passes from which the British faced attack. Dalryrmple also makes clear the byzantine complexity of...

Specs

ISBN 9780307958280
Genre HISTORY / Military / Other
Format Hardcover
Pages 515
Publisher Date 2013-04-16 00:00:00.0
Publisher Alfred a Knopf Inc
Copyright Year 2013
Height 10.0 in
Wdth 6.75 in
Thickness 2.0 in
Unit weight 2.25 lb
Language English
Subtitle The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42
Audience General/trade
Authors Dalrymple, William
Country of Origin United States
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