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Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

William Dalrymple
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Kurzbeschreibung

30. Januar 2014
In the spring of 1839, the British invaded Afghanistan for the first time. Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed shakos, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the high mountain passes and re-established on the throne Shah Shuja ul-Mulk. On the way in, the British faced little resistance. But after two years of occupation, the Afghan people rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country exploded into violent rebellion. The First Anglo-Afghan War ended in Britain's greatest military humiliation of the nineteenth century: an entire army of the then most powerful nation in the world ambushed in retreat and utterly routed by poorly equipped tribesmen. Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2013, Return of a King is the definitive analysis of the First Afghan War, told through the lives of unforgettable characters on all sides and using for the first time contemporary Afghan accounts of the conflict. Prize-winning and bestselling historian William Dalrymple's masterful retelling of Britain's greatest imperial disaster is a powerful and important parable of colonial ambition and cultural collision, folly and hubris, for our times.

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Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan + Last Mughal + White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India
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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 567 Seiten
  • Verlag: Bloomsbury UK (30. Januar 2014)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1408831597
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408831595
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 19,2 x 12,8 x 4 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 24.342 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

This sorry saga has been recounted many times, but never that I can recall as well as by Dalrymple. He is a master story-teller, whose special gift lies in the use of indigenous sources, so often neglected by imperial chroniclers -- Max Hastings Sunday Times Enchantingly written ... In Dalrymple's usual happy style of historical narrative, applied to a fascinating, neat and highly suggestive series of events, this long and involved book will be a great success, and bring the famous story to a large new audience -- Philip Hensher Spectator Of the books swooped into being by his scholarship (to which he himself has applied the adjective "obsessive"), this one is the most magnificent ... His account is so perceptive and so warmly humane that one is never tempted to break away ... This book would be compulsive reading even if it were not a uniquely valuable history, which it is, because Dalrymple has uncovered sources never used before -- Diana Athill Guardian

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

William Dalrymple is the bestselling author of In Xanadu, City of Djinns, From the Holy Mountain, The Age of Kali, White Mughals, The Last Mughal and, most recently, Nine Lives. He has won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award, the French Prix d'Astrolabe, the Wolfson Prize for History, the Scottish Book of the Year Award, the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the Asia House Award for Asian Literature, the Vodafone Crossword Award for non-fiction and has, prior to the shortlisting of Return of a King, been longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize three times. In 2012 he was appointed Whitney J. Oates Visiting Fellow in Humanities at Princeton University. He lives with his wife and three children on a farm outside Delhi.

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 25. Dezember 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Gut recherchiert auch unter Benutzung afghanischen Quellen.
Zieht deutliche Bezüge zu Afghan heute und was wahrscheinlich geschehen wird sobald die U.S. und europäische Truppen abziehen.

Peter Oldham
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Von UGP
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Better be kept on the shelf on display for ready reference. Just in case politicians of the future suggest to invade Afghanistan to establish whatever will be the reasoning for military intervention then.
Some of the reasons and justifications given by the British imperialists at the middle of the 19th century sound very similar to what was said in the 21st.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 von 5 Sternen  158 Rezensionen
54 von 59 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen History repeats itself 17. April 2013
Von Raghu Nathan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
William Dalrymple is the definitive modern historian of the East India company's reign in India during the 18th and 19th centuries. With already two brilliant books - 'The White Mughals' and 'The Last Mughal' - on the subject, he has now written this masterly chronicle on the disastrous British misadventure in Afghanistan during the years 1839-1842. In his words, this first British war in Afghanistan was one of colonial arrogance, hubris, folly and cultural collision. What else can you call a foray where 20000 troops marched into Afghanistan in 1839 and only one returns to Peshawar in 1842?

Dalrymple shows in this book that the 'Great Game', popularized by Rudyard Kipling in his novel 'Kim', was actually the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Alexander Burnes, the dashing Scottish intelligence officer, was sent out to Central Asia as a spy to gather information on the threats, which were non-existent then, from Czarist Russia to British interests in India. Burnes did his work and wrote a successful book on the subject which were read by the Russians. As a result, they get suspicious and send Yan Vitkevich, a Polish adventurer and explorer, to Bukhara and then on to Kabul to gather their own intelligence on this question. Thus, the hawkish paranoia in Calcutta and London ended up making a non-existent threat a reality. So, the Great Game begins and still goes on, a full 170 years after it began.

Burnes and his brilliant Indian assistant and intelligence chief, Mohan Lal Kashmiri, give excellent advice to Calcutta and London on the state of affairs in Central Asia and the course to be followed, which was to support Dost Mohammed Khan as the Amir of Afghanistan. But policy was made by George Eden, William Mcnaghten and Claude Wade. Eden was the Governor General of India who had little knowledge or interest in the region. William Macnaghten was a bookish Russophobe who was Eden's chief advisor while Wade was a Persian scholar who had never been in Central Asia. They decide to reject Burnes' advice and decide to overthrow the incumbent Dost Mohammed and install Shah Shuja as a puppet king to do the British bidding in Central Asia.

An army of 20000 men is raised and they bumble along their way across the Indus river and the Khyber pass losing thousands of camels and horses and ending up emaciated, dispirited and worn-out in Kandahar. But luck is on their side as they encounter little resistance due to Dost Mohammed Khan fleeing Kabul with his loyalists. In spite of rejecting Burnes' advice, the British end up successfully occupying Afghanistan for two years, with Shah Shuja as king. But then, in 1842, the Afghans rise up in jihad and explode in a violent counter-attack which ends in the British army retreating ignominiously back to colonial India after being thoroughly routed by the Afghan tribes. The retreating troops get massacred mercilessly by the Afghans. But the story doesn't end there. There are hostages left behind in Kabul and Britain had to extract revenge and restore its 'honor'. So, an army of Retribution goes back to Afghanistan and repays the hatred and brutality in full measure, matching what would now be called 'war crime' for 'war crime'. Still, it was not feasible to continue occupying Afghanistan forever and so Britain withdraws, leaving Dost Mohammed Khan once again in power after all the carnage and destruction and expenditure of vast sums of money.

Dalrymple points to many eerie parallels with the current NATO occupation of Afghanistan. NATO went in to the country in 2001 to overthrow the Taliban. They did so and installed Hamid Karzai who, just like Shah Shuja in 1839, is seen as a Western puppet by the Afghans. Coincidentally, Karzai belongs to the same tribe as that of Shah Shuja. After twelve long years of occupation, NATO will retreat back in defeat in 2014, leaving possibly the Taliban, who are already said to be in control of 60% of the country, back in power. Just as Dost Mohammed Khan did in 1842. Interestingly the Taliban is made up from the same Ghilzai tribes who drove Britain out in 1842. Dalrymple also points out that Richard Holbrooke, the US envoy to the region, played much the same role that William Macnaghten played in 1839. Sir Cowper-Coles, the British Special Representative in 2010 in Kabul, described Holbrooke as a 'bull who brought his own china shop wherever he went'. Dalrymple says that this description sums up Macnaghten's style perfectly 174 years before. Finally, 170 years on, NATO is leaving Afghanistan for much the same primary reason for which Britain left - that Afghanistan was too poor then as it is today, for the occupiers to tax the country and make the occupied pay for their own subjugation!

This book shows how history can be written like a thriller without sacrificing facts and scholarship. One special feature of this book is that Dalrymple has used sources of research which have been used for the first time ever. Research material for the book has been sourced from British, Persian, Russian and Urdu archives. But the most interesting source is the nine previously untranslated full-length contemporary Afghan accounts of the conflict, including the autobiography of Shah Shuja himself. That makes the book unique.

The book has a big lesson for the powers which still want to play the Great Game. As Dalrymple recounts elsewhere, when Harold Macmillan was handing over the prime ministership of Britain to Alec Douglas-Home, he was supposed to have said, `My dear boy, you'll be fine as long as you don't invade Afghanistan.' Pity that Tony Blair never knew about it!

A 'Must read' for anyone interested in the subject.
30 von 33 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Brilliant book 7. März 2013
Von Trond Gram - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I am a historian myself, although not in this field. But I can tell that this book is the result of a very good historian, both regarding the use of historical sources and empirical material. And he is an excellent writer. A must read.
7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Afghanistan: Different players, same story 24. Mai 2013
Von Andrew Weir - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
An interview with the author on a morning talk show prompted me to order the Kindle version that same day. His thorough research and accessible writing style (almost as readable as David McCullough) made this lengthy book fly by quickly for me. I was frequently stunned by the number of parallels between the experiences of the British, Soviets, and the U.S in this mysterious place. Perhaps most compelling were the carefully explained nuances of Afghan internal politics that appear to have changed very little in their dynamics in the more than 170 years since the events recounted in this book. Author William Dalrymple's own British heritage, combined with a prodigious knowledge of Afghan history and culture enabled him to paint a uniquely informed picture of the futility of invading and suppressing Afghanistan. The failure of the British to adapt their approach to reflect the culture and circumstances contains many lessons no less relevant today.

Among the more interesting story lines was how the British and Russian power structures were willing to ignore or refute what their envoys actually inside Afghanistan were telling them. Time after time, those governments made strategic blunders, allowing bureaucrats or aristocrats who had never set foot in the country to decide on diplomatic or military matters with profound implications for everyone involved. Even readers with strongly cynical or jaded attitudes toward politics may sometimes find it difficult to understand the amount of deceit, deception, and fragile loyalties inherent in Afghan affairs, but it was and may still be, essential to how they hold on to their own identity as a mainly tribal structure constantly under fire from some global power.

Initially I found the myriad of tribal and ethnic names and references to be confusing and overwhelming, but once I stopped worrying about how to pronounce names or be absolutely clear on who was from where and which other factions they were aligned with, the reading was less arduous. If understanding Afghanistan is important to you, this book will make you much better informed.
32 von 41 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Historical Review of the British invasion of Afghanistan 19 1839 22. März 2013
Von Yug - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This is s very comprehensive detailed historical review of the British invasion of Afghanistan in 1839.
The British had the choice of two alternative viewpoints and strategies. They chose the wrong one mainly because of wholly inept leadership under Lord Auckland; he in turn entrusted the actual invasion to poor leaders, partly on the basis of class distinctions.
The purpose of the invasion was to re-instate one of the candidates for king; they chose the wrong candidate. As is well known the British forces, again ineptly led, tried to leave the country once it became obvious that their mission had failed. One person was allowed to escape back to India. What is not so well known is that a second British force under a General Pollock returned to Afghanistan with the sole purpose of taking revenge, which he did. Kabul and Jalalabad were destroyed. The King that the British had rejected reclaimed his throne. Hamid Karzai the current Afghan leader is a descendant of Shuja the deposed King.
Whilst well researched the book is far too long. Much of the endless pieces of individuals correspondence could have been included in an appendix. I would have rated a shorter more concise book much more highly
27 von 34 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent 2. März 2013
Von Ken Nielsen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
A fascinating story of the First Afghan War, one of the most stupid - in planning and execution - actions in British colonial history.
One wonders at the incompetence of the British - how did they manage to acquire and keep an empire?
Dalrymple has done much original research for this book and has uncovered previously unknown facts.
The book - like all Dalrymple's writings - is exciting, entertaining and informative.
I am not sure that there are lessons for today in this history, but the reader should make up his or her own mind about that.
I read the Kindle version. The pictures and maps do not come out well but otherwise the reading experience was fine.
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