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Afgantsy by Rodric Braithwaite
‘It looks set to be the definitive account of the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan [...] From their shared experiences [Russian] veterans of Afghanistan developed a collective sense of identity - the "Afgantsy" of this title. It is their stories, in poems, books and songs, as well as his own interviews, woven in an easy, compelling style, that form the main narrative of this book. The Sunday Times
‘This is the book every politician, every general, every diplomat contemplating getting into, or out of, Afghanistan should be made to read. It is a book we should have had 10 years ago, and need more than ever today. It is a minor masterpiece.’ Guardian
"'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)"
In a timely and eye-opening book Rodric Braithwaite examines the Russian experience during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Basing his account on Russian sources and interviews he shows the war through the eyes of the Russians themselves - politicians, officers, soldiers, advisers, journalists and women.
As former ambassador to Moscow, Rodric Braithwaite brings unique insights to the Soviet war in Afghanistan. The story has been distorted not only by Cold War propaganda but also by the myths of the nineteenth century Great Game. It moves from the high politics of the Kremlin to the lonely Russian conscripts in isolated mountain outposts. The parallels with Afghanistan today speak for themselves. 'A superb achievement of narrative history, sensitive writing and exciting fresh research': so wrote Simon Sebag Montefiore about Rodric Braithwaite's bestseller Moscow 1941. But those words, and many others of praise that were given it, could equally apply to his new book.
From the Inside Flap
In December 1979 Soviet troops poured into Afghanistan, and special forces seized key objectives in Kabul, storming the president's palace and killing him. The intentions of the Soviet government were modest: they aimed to secure the main towns and roads, stabilise the government, train up the Afghan army and police, and withdraw within six months or a year. Instead they found themselves in a bloody war, from which it took them nine years and fifty two days to extricate themselves. The story has been distorted not only by Cold War propaganda but also by the myths of the nineteenth-century Great Game. Here it is retold through the eyes of the Russians themselves. Based primarily on Russian sources and eye-witness accounts, it moves from the high politics of the Kremlin to the lonely conscripts in isolated mountain outposts. The parallels with Afghanistan today speak for themselves. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
'This is the book that every politician, every general, every diplomat contemplating getting into, or out of, Afghanistan should be made to read. It is a book that we should have had ten years ago, and need more than ever today. It is a minor masterpiece. Rodric Braithwaite has produced what will become the definitive account in English of the Soviet experience in Afghanistan' Sherard Cowper-Coles, Observer 'Rodric Braithwaite has amassed a gold mine of sources for this timely study' Rupert Edis, Sunday Telegraph 'Braithwaite's book has the great merit of treating the episode as a unique and horrific experience, while allowing the reader to draw his own parallels with the British involvement in Afghanistan in the nineteenth century, and indeed the present day' Philip Hensher, Spectator
About the Author
Rodric Braithwaite was British Ambassador to Moscow during the crucial years of 1988-92. Subsequently he was foreign policy advisor to John Major. His books include Across the Moscow River and the highly praised and bestselling Moscow 1941 [Profile, 9781846687748] which has been translated into seventeen languages.
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