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The Dark Defile : Britain's Catastrophic Invasion of Afghanistan, 1838-1842
by Diana Preston

Overview - Preston vividly recounts the drama of the First Afghan War, one of the opening salvos in the strategic rivalry between Britain and Russia for supremacy in Central Asia. A model of compelling narrative history, "The Dark Defile" is a fascinating exploration of 19th-century geopolitics and a cautionary tale that resonates loudly today.  Read more...

 
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More About The Dark Defile by Diana Preston
 
 
 
Overview
Preston vividly recounts the drama of the First Afghan War, one of the opening salvos in the strategic rivalry between Britain and Russia for supremacy in Central Asia. A model of compelling narrative history, "The Dark Defile" is a fascinating exploration of 19th-century geopolitics and a cautionary tale that resonates loudly today.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780802779823
  • ISBN-10: 0802779824
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publish Date: February 2012
  • Page Count: 307


Related Categories

Books > History > Military - Other
Books > History > Asia - Central Asia
Books > History > Europe - Great Britain - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2011-11-14
  • Reviewer: Staff

No nation has successfully occupied Afghanistan, known as “the graveyard of empires,” and many have been defeated by the harsh climate and unforgiving terrain as much as by fierce tribal forces. The British were no exception, and Preston, L.A. Times Book Prize winner for Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima recounts in chilling detail the trials and tribulations of the ill-advised British colonial campaign in the early 1840s. After a two-year attempt to take Kabul and install an Afghan figurehead, the British ruled for barely a year, concerning themselves primarily with obtaining foreign delicacies and throwing garden parties while ignoring the growing danger, before they were forced from power and driven to a disastrous retreat. In the end, only one British soldier escaped to safety, and, Preston writes, the governor general of India, Lord Auckland, upon hearing of the army’s annihilation, “could scarcely believe... that an army of well-trained, well-armed British troops could be wiped out by tribesmen with only muskets and spears.” Relying heavily on the personal diaries, correspondence, and official papers of the doomed British force, Preston grippingly illustrates the dangers of committing a nation to foreign conflicts without adequate understanding and foresight. 8 pages of b&w photos; 2 maps. Agent: Michael Carlisle, Inkwell Management. (Feb.)

 
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