Newburyport Public Library

Afghanistan, a cultural and political history, Thomas Barfield - pbk

Summary
This work traces the historic struggles and the changing nature of political authority in this volatile region of the world, from the Mughal Empire in the sixteenth century to the Taliban resurgence today. The author introduces readers to the bewildering diversity of tribal and ethnic groups in Afghanistan, explaining what unites them as Afghans despite the regional, cultural, and political differences that divide them. He shows how governing these peoples was relatively easy when power was concentrated in a small dynastic elite, but how this delicate political order broke down in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when Afghanistan's rulers mobilized rural militias to expel first the British and later the Soviets. Armed insurgency proved remarkably successful against the foreign occupiers, but it also undermined the Afghan government's authority and rendered the country ever more difficult to govern as time passed. He describes how Afghanistan's armed factions plunged the country into a civil war, giving rise to clerical rule by the Taliban and Afghanistan's isolation from the world. He examines why the American invasion in the wake of September 11 toppled the Taliban so quickly, and how this easy victory lulled the United States into falsely believing that a viable state could be built just as easily. This book helps the reader understand how a land conquered and ruled by foreign dynasties for more than a thousand years became the "graveyard of empires" for the British and Soviets, and what the United States must do to avoid a similar fate
Table Of Contents
People and places -- Conquering and ruling premodern Afghanistan -- Anglo-Afghan Wars and state building in Afghanistan -- Afghanistan in the twentieth century : state and society in conflict -- Afghanistan enters the twenty-first century -- Some conclusions
Language
eng
Literary Form
non fiction
Physical Description
xi, 389 pages, illustrations, maps, 24 cm.
Isbn
9780691154411

Library Locations

  • Newburyport Public Library

    94 State Street, Newburyport, MA, 01950, US
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