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Afgantsy (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 9. Februar 2012

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This book finally dispels many of the Cold War myths surrounding the Soviet-Afghan war. It offers the most nuanced, sympathetic and comprehensive account yet. -- Rory Stewart An outstanding book ... these accounts provide a fascinating insight not only into the war but also into Soviet society THES A splendid read, full of interesting material, and essential for anyone trying to understand the Russians BBC History Magazine This bids fair to become the standard history, but it is a kind of parable too. Here is a battery of facts, intervoven with human stories, soldiers' tales and a thousand flashes of individual experience gathered in interview. For the mountain of evidence he has assembled before a generation passes away, historians (including Russian historians) will always be grateful; but Braithwaite's immense, urgent project offers more than a history, but a cool and deadly assessment of the mess that Power can get itself into. He never overstates; there is more tragedy here than villainy, more confusion than conspiracy; and the abiding impression is not so much shocking as unutterably sad. The read-across to other nations' wars leaps at you from every page. -- Matthew Parris

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Rodric Braithwaite spent much of his Foreign Office career dealing with Russia. He was British Ambassador in Moscow during the fall of the Soviet Union, about which he wrote in Across the Moscow River (2002, Yale). His book Moscow 1941 [Profile, 9781846687748] was a bestseller, translated into seventeen languages. He was subsequently adviser to the Prime Minister, John Major, and Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. He writes and speaks regularly about Russia, and is currently writing about the nuclear confrontation in the Cold War. He lives in London.

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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Trith IS Stranfer than Fiction 10. November 2012
Von Frosted Seagull - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I take my hat off to Rodric Braithwaite the author of Afgansty. The author has genuinely attempted to write a historical piece concerning the Soviet invasion of Aghanistan from 1979 to 1989.

Rodric Braithwaite advises the reader from the outset that he will dispel myths about the Afghanistan War from 1979 to 1989. This is the reason that I enjoyed Afgansty so much. Until recently I believed all the myths. For example, we in the West forget OR were not informed that the Soviet backed regimes Afghan from 1970 up until 1982 led to women havong basic rights. Women up until 1982 could be educated at university level. Native Afghanistan women could not only remove the Burqua but could wear jeans and short skirts and studied to be Chemical and Civil Engineers in Moscow and abroad. The mujihadeen were backed by the US and Braithwaite highlights an episode where the mujihadeen kill their own daughters rather than have them educated !

My review will highlight how the author bursts the myths and sheds light on propaganda surrounding the Soviet War in Afghanistan. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ran a superb campaign in the West and more importantly to the Islamic nations in the Near East that led to the Soviet Withdrawal. In fairness, Braithwaite writes a balanced book.

Propaganda and Myth:
* The Soviets sent hundreds of thousands of troop and were suffering huge losses in terms of manpower and machinery. The author through his research claims that the Russians sent 1/5 the number of troops that the US sent to Vietnam. At the height of the Vietnam War in late 1967 -68, The US had 600,000 troops, A total of 650,000 Russians served in Afghanistan in total including civilians. The 4oth Army from The Soviet Union only had 10,000 active troops at any one time. Unlike the US in Vietnam, the Soviets took the war to the mujihadeen. The mujihadeen were smashed and that is why they developed hit and run tactics after 1982 and why the CIA increased their spending.

* The Soviets lost 55,000 men in Afghanistan. This figure is what the Unites States lost in The Vietnam War. In fact the Russians ONLY lost, 15,051 people and that included civilians. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) inflated the ant-Soviet figures to embarrass and shame The Communists and to show the world that they could defeat a country who had not lost a battle since Stalingrad. The Soviet army was up against 250,000 mujihadeen, yet only lost 2.4 per cent of its troops. The Soviets were in fact up against a numerically stronger enemy, whereas, the VC in the south of Vietnam did not out man the US.

* The Soviets invaded as they required quick access warm water port on their southern borders. The Soviets once having establishing thos port, would invade and take the Saudi and Kuwaiti oil fields. As Rodic Braithwaite points out, this was "news" to the Soviet Union and apparently, the first time the Politbureau heard about it was in late 1982. This was an outight lie that people still believe today.

* The Stinger (a shoulder fired surface to air missile OR SAM) severely changed the war and Soviet pilots were "so scared" that it led to a dramatic change to military tactics. The Stinger was credited for the loss 333 aircraft and helicopters by the Soviet military. It did affect the Soviets for 6 months. The Soviet pilots fired flares; the fighter pilots flew above the 30,000 foot Stinger ceiling; The MI-24 or Hind pilots flew fast and low so the Stinger could not "lock on." (Incidentally, the Russian made SAM-7 most likely shot down more aircraft that the Stinger.) The Soviets admit that most of the aircraft, especiually helicopters were shot down from stolen Soviet military hardware, specifically their excellent light and heavy machine guns. The Stinger propaganda was succesfully spread by Charlie Wilson a Texan politician who to this day believes 99% of the bullsh#t that still surrounds the myth, that is, it single handedly won the war.

I understand that modern day US hawks will NOT agree with Rodic Braithwaite in regards to Soviet battelefield losses BUT agree wit the fact that that to date, the CIA ran an excellent propaganda programme that most people still believe. The author uses primary evidence sourced from documents from a now defunct Soviet government. The Soviet Army, like its US counterparts, kept meticulous records. The Soviet Army has details on soldiers who were caught and then fought against their own men. One of the most harrowing accounts is that of a Russian soldier who worked for military intelligence (the GRU) who was caught by the mujihadeen and then turned on his own men. His betrayal cost hundreds of lives. I have not spoiled it for anyome as Braithwaite gives a detailed account of what happened to him after the war ended

5 Stars on an excellent, well researched and documented book that tries hard to remain unbiased and present facts.
10 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Many Lessons for America 1. Juli 2011
Von James Schumaker - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Rodric Braithwaite has written a much-needed corrective to the general view of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, debunking conventional wisdom about the war itself, and countering in particular the "Hollywood version" of America's role in ensuring Soviet departure.

For example, while Braithwaite agrees with prevailing opinion that a gerontocratic Politburo made a catastrophic and wholly preventable error in sending forces into Afghanistan in December 1979, he also acknowledges how quickly most Soviet officials and soldiers in the field recognized the folly of their intervention.

Braithwaite's account of the assault on the Taj-Bek palace and the murder of Afghan ruler Hafizullah Amin is the best in the English language, and his riveting portraits of the lives of individual soldiers, taken from first person interviews, are equally fascinating. What most interested me, however, were the latter chapters of the book, in which Soviet officials desperately maneuvered to save the Najibullah regime, while at the same time clearly understanding that they absolutely had to withdraw. The bitter byplay between Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze and Soviet general Valentin Varennikov was particularly fascinating, as the strange political maneuverings in the latter stages of the war actually put war-hawk Varennikov in the withdrawal camp, and saw professed liberal Shevardnadze align himself with hardline KGB chief Kryuchkov in an attempt to keep some Soviet troops in Afghanistan after the agreed withdrawal date of February 15, 1989.

One myth that Braithwaite explodes is the role played by the United States in the Soviet decision to withdraw. "Charlie Wilson's War" to the contrary notwithstanding, the introduction of Stingers into the conflict was not a particularly critical element leading to Soviet withdrawal. Gorbachev had decided as early as 1985 that Soviet intervention was a mistake and was bound and determined to extricate the Soviet Union as quickly as possible. The American role in supplying the Mujahedin did play a role in Soviet calculations, but America did not force the Soviets out, as some Republican hagiographers of President Reagan contend. The Soviets had much bigger fish to fry, as Afghanistan was ruining their relations not just with America, but also with nearly all of their major partners around the world. They wanted to get out, and they did.

Braithwaite also has some interesting things to say about Soviet POWs in Afghanistan, many of whom disappeared without a trace, and a very few of whom made it to the West, including the United States. His discussion of PTSD among Soviet veterans also sounds eerily familiar.

The most topical use of Braithwaite's book is in comparing the Soviet experience to the American travails of the present day. The parallels are uncomfortably close. In particular, the folly of mounting a counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan, and the impossibility of building a nation in a country that has never really achieved true nationhood should be brutally apparent to both Soviet and American veterans of Afghanistan's never-ending civil war.

I strongly recommend this book both to scholars and to those involved in contemporary Afghanistan. It is a well-written cautionary tale, and a clear warning to American policymakers to tread lightly and recognize the limits of power.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Deja Vu, All Over Again 20. November 2011
Von rck12 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Afgantsy ("a veteran of the Soviet war") is an interesting and highly enlightening read, especially for those of us who were sucked in by the propaganda, rhetoric and spin of the times...and/or didn't have a clue one way or the other.

If you are one of the foregoing (like me), then I recommend delving into this easy to read 336 page condensed history, of the Soviet war in Afghanistan. The author's writing flows, and without a heavy hand. He is clearly knowledgeble (former British ambassador in Moscow), and forthcoming in this well researched book. Lots of names (mostly Russian, including all the big boys of the period), and plenty of notes, although the maps and index leave a bit to be desired.

Aside from the valued insight acquired while ready Afgantsy, I couldn't help constantly dwelling on the stark similarities between our war in Vietnam, and the USSR/Afghan war....and what happened in Afghan after the Soviets withdrew vs, what will no doubt happen when America leaves.
5 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Revealing 6. Juli 2011
Von Richard - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition
My real time reactions whilst reading this book were hope that the political masters of the coalition forces now embroiled in Afghanistan would also find time to read it.In fact this book should be required reading for them and their predecessors.The author makes the point that the Russians were never defeated on the Afghan battlefield and my American friends make the same point about about their experiences in Vietnam.That the Russians did not resort to carpet bombing,their casualties were less than a third of the Americans in Vietnam and they exited the Country in good order (with protection from the Mujahudeen)inevitably draws comparisons which portray the Russians in a new and different light to the non expert observer.Many myths get busted in this account not least of which is the Stinger missile deployment which seems not to have been quite the "game changer" claimed by the West.None of the tribal leaders emerge well after the Soviet withdrawal which bodes very badly for the day when NATO forces pack up and leave.Highly illuminating and depressing
but essential reading nevertheless.
Excellent picture of the Russians in Afghanistan 20. Januar 2012
Von Ather - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
What Afgantsy does that few other accounts of this period do is isolate the Soviet experiences - separate from the war in a way. Certainly the narrative follows the war and can answer the basic questions a novice might ask - why was Afghanistan important to the USSR? Why did the Soviets invade? What did they do? How did it end? Of course, Braithwaite's answers are unsatisfying - but that's the deal when studying this period - all the answers, even the best, are completely unsatisfying and incomplete.
I've read a number of books on this time period and this is certainly one of the best.
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