"An Intimate War is, quite simply, the book on Helmand. I sincerely wish it had been available to me when I was ISAF Commander in Afghanistan. Military, diplomatic and development professionals involved in Afghanistan and elsewhere, for that matter read this and take note." -- General Sir David Richards GCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Gen; Commander of International Forces in Afghanistan, 2006-7 and UK Chief of the Defence Staff, 2010-13
"The proverbial complexity of civil wars is typically discounted as irrelevant or misinterpreted through orientalising. Mike Martin begs to differ: in this rich and fascinating account of thirty-four years of war in the Afghan province of Helmand, he explains how and why the private and local logics of the conflict interact with, and often subvert, the public, national, and international narratives. He exposes the failure of Western bureaucratic institutions to grasp this reality and dissects both the causes and consequences of theircfailure. This outstanding book is a must-read for those interested in understanding contemporary conflict." -- Stathis Kalyvas, Arnold Wolfers Professor of Political Science, Yale University, and author of The Logic of Violence in Civil War
"Essential reading for any serious student of Britain's Fourth Afghan War. A deeply researched, clearly argued reminder of how the West's road to Helmand was paved with good intentions, and that there, as elsewhere in Afghanistan, the West failed to understand the war it was fighting, causing them to coerce rather than to co-opt." -- Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles KCMG LVO, UK Ambassador to Afghanistan 2007-9 and UK Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan 2009-10.
"Mike Martin's book is by far the most detailed account of Helmand province to date, giving us both historical background and a chronicle of Helmandi politics in the post-2001 setup. The in-depth analysis of the local political dynamics provided by Martin makes this book a must-read for anybody trying to understand the post-2006 British and American interventions in Helmand." -- Antonio Giustozzi, Visiting Professor in the Department of War Studies at King's College London and author of Koran, Kalashnikov and Laptop: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan
and Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field
'A new internal war in South Sudan, now in its fifth month, has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. These unfolding events are deftly forecast by James Copnall in his new book A Poisonous Thorn in Our Hearts
. ... Copnall gives a clear-headed and compassionate account of events leading up to and after the creation of South Sudan a year earlier, and what it means for what remains of Sudan. ...Measured and understated.' -- The Economist
'Martin's meticulous study, based on 150 interviews conducted over four years, and his own experience as a serving officer in Helmand, presents a view of the war that is radically different from the one the British public has been hearing ever since Tony Blair ordered British troops to deploy in Helmand in 2006. The picture that he paints is often jaw-dropping.' -- Matt Carr, Stopthewar.org
"Among the best books on the Afghan crisis I have come across... immensely detailed." -- Robert Fox, Defence Editor of the Evening Standard, The World Today
"This work lays the foundation for much future research, including similarly in-depth looks at the histories of, and counterinsurgencies in, other provinces in Afghanistan and Iraq. It also highlights the need for study into why institutions and militaries adopt mistaken initial premises, and more importantly why groups and individuals retain these flawed conceptions even as it becomes clear that they are failing to achieve their goals. Above all, Martin demonstrates the futility of trying to understand intrastate conflict, much less intervene in such conflicts, without grasping the implications of the local history, culture, politics and social dynamics." -- Jessica Jensen, Journal of Military and Strategic Studies,
"...an extraordinary book ... An Intimate War
is the work of a wise and patient scholar." -- James Meek, London Review of Books
"It is impossible to do full justice in this review to the range and depth of Martin's research, arguments, or account of the Helmand conflict." -- Asian Affairs
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Mike Martin is a Pashto speaker who spent almost two years in Helmand as a British army officer. During that time, he pioneered and developed the British military's human terrain and cultural capability - a means to understanding the Helmandi population and influence it. He also worked as an advisor to several senior commanding officers in Helmand. His previous publications include A Brief History of Helmand, required reading for British commanders and intelligence staff deploying to the province. He holds a doctorate in War Studies from King's College London.