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Afghanistan : A Short History of Its People and Politics

0060505087


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From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Spanning a period from thousands of years B.C.E. through September 11, 2001, Ewans ambitiously covers an incredible scope of this country's history. While the writing is dry at times, the information goes a long way toward putting the nation's current situation in perspective. Events leading up to and during the Soviet invasion in the late '70s are especially intriguing, as is the explanation of the mujahadin's emergence. More than half the book dwells on 20th-century happenings, with quite a bit of fascinating detail on conditions in Afghanistan during the '90s. Light is shed on how and why the Taliban movement gained power. Discussion on drug trafficking includes statistics on opium production. A five-page epilogue analyzes the impact of 9/11 and subsequent actions taken to...


First in
Gary Schroen
0891418725
May 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Just days from retirement, Schroen, a former CIA station chief in Pakistan, was tapped to lead the effort to establish contact with the Northern Alliance in the days following 9/11; the 35-year CIA veteran commanded the first American team on the ground in Afghanistan. At the proverbial tip of the spear, the team slipped into the country and made contact with the Northern Alliance (a loose confederation of Afghan warlords that had been fighting the Taliban government and their al-Qaeda allies), secured their cooperation and set the stage for the deployment of Special Forces teams into Afghanistan. Schroen tells the story crisply and with intimate detail, taking readers on a journey that lurches from harrowing through exhilarating to frustrating—particularly in the realm of communications. "Sitting in the...


Ghost Wars
Steve Coll
0143034669
Jan 2005
Paperback
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Book Review
Steve Coll's Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 offers revealing details of the CIA's involvement in the evolution of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the years before the September 11 attacks. From the beginning, Coll shows how the CIA's on-again, off-again engagement with Afghanistan after the end of the Soviet war left officials at Langley with inadequate resources and intelligence to appreciate the emerging power of the Taliban. He also demonstrates how Afghanistan became a deadly playing field for international politics where Soviet, Pakistani, and U.S. agents armed and trained a succession of warring factions. At the same time, the book, though opinionated, is not solely a critique of the agency. Coll balances accounts of CIA failures with...


Three Cups of Tea : One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations . . . One School at a Time

0670034827


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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Some failures lead to phenomenal successes, and this American nurse's unsuccessful attempt to climb K2, the world's second tallest mountain, is one of them. Dangerously ill when he finished his climb in 1993, Mortenson was sheltered for seven weeks by the small Pakistani village of Korphe; in return, he promised to build the impoverished town's first school, a project that grew into the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. Coauthor Relin recounts Mortenson's efforts in fascinating detail, presenting compelling portraits of the village elders, con artists, philanthropists, mujahideen, Taliban officials, ambitious school girls and upright Muslims Mortenson met along the way. As the book moves into the post-9/11 world,...


The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini
1594480001
April 2004
Paperback
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Book Review
In his debut novel, The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini accomplishes what very few contemporary novelists are able to do. He manages to provide an educational and eye-opening account of a country's political turmoil--in this case, Afghanistan--while also developing characters whose heartbreaking struggles and emotional triumphs resonate with readers long after the last page has been turned over. And he does this on his first try.

The Kite Runner follows the story of Amir, the privileged son of a wealthy businessman in Kabul, and Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant. As children in the relatively stable Afghanistan of the early 1970s, the boys are inseparable. They spend idyllic days running kites and telling stories of mystical places and powerful warriors until an unspeakable event changes the nature of their relationship forever,...



Roberts Ridge
Malcolm Cook MacPherson
0553803638
Aug 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
On March 2, 2002, U.S. intelligence launched Operation Anaconda; having noted a concentration of al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in the Shah-i-Kot Valley, they dispatched MAKO-30, a seven-man navy SEAL reconnaissance team, attempted a helicopter landing on Takur Ghar, the highest overlooking peak. Tasked with calling in air strikes, MAKO-30 found its landing zone to be a well-concealed al-Qaeda camp; the team's Chinook helicopter was driven off by withering ground fire. When SEAL Neil Roberts fell out of the chopper, the others insisted on going back for him. With the team pinned down by enemy fire and facing annihilation, commanders dispatched a quick reaction force of army Rangers to rescue them. Thus began a harrowing 17-hour drama every bit as perilous and courageous as the Rangers' ill-fated Battle of Mogadishu,...


Lie Down with Lions
Ken Follett
0451163508
Dec 1986
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Follett's new thriller (after Eye of the Needle, The Key to Rebecca) involves cut-throat treachery and mixed-up romances. Jane and Ellis, Americans in Paris, are lovers, but she breaks with him when she learns he's a CIA agent, informing on terrorists. Ellis goes back to the U.S.; Jane marries Jean-Pierre Debout, a French physician, and goes with him to Afghanistan to care for rebel families holding out against the Russian army. Here is where the novel's real action, and its knife-edge tension, begin. After the birth of her baby, Jane discovers that Jean-Pierre is himself spying for the Russians and has caused a massacre of guerrilla fighters who were trapped at the foot of the mountains. Then Ellis reappears, bearing offers of American aid for Afghan leader Masud if the latter can unite his country's quarreling...


Inside CentCom: The Unvarnished Truth about the War in Afghanistan and Iraq
Michael DeLong
0641721021

Hardcover
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A Bed of Red Flowers
Nelofer Pazira
0743281330
Sept 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Pazira, star of the film Kandahar, remembers picnics and flowers from her 1970s youth in Afghanistan. But those joys disappeared when the Soviets invaded. Her Kabul changed from beloved home to war zone, and her father was imprisoned for his beliefs (he believed in social democracy and refused to join the Communist Party). Pazira's memoir follows not just her own story but that of her country, and sometimes her overviews are broad. When she focuses on her own life, though, the narrative turns gripping and horrifying. Teenaged Pazira joined the resistance, bought black-market blood to aid her ill father after his imprisonment and arranged for the release of detained relatives. In 1989, her family escaped to Pakistan and eventually settled in Canada. Her story continues through her return to Afghanistan in search...


Come Back to Afghanistan: A California Teenager's Story
Said Hyder Akbar
1582345201
November 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Akbar's refreshingly unsentimental reminiscences of visiting his father's homeland as a teen make for an intriguing portrait of Afghanistan at a time of significant transition. On 9/11, Akbar, who was born in Peshawar in 1984 but grew up in the U.S., was living near Oakland, Calif., where his father ran a clothing store. After the attack, the elder Akbar, a descendant of an Afghan political family, returned to his country to take a job as President Hamid Karzai's chief spokesman and, later, as governor of Kunar, a rural province. The author visited his father for three successive summers, and the result is this account, a closeup view of the creation of the country's post-Taliban democratic government, told from a perspective that's impressively both insider and objective. Akbar reports on chats with cabinet...


Caravans
James A. Michener
0812969820
Sept 2003
Paperback
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Book Description
In this romantic adventure of wild Afghanistan, master storyteller James Michener mixes the allure of the past with the dangers of today. After an impetuous American girl, Ellen Jasper, marries a young Afghan engineer, her parents hear no word from her. Although she wants freedom to do as she wishes, not even she is sure what that means. In the meantime, she is as good as lost in that wild land, perhaps forever....
"An extraordinary novel....Brilliant."
THE NEW YORK TIMES


From the Paperback edition.

Download Description
Caravans is set in the years immediately following World War II - a young American woman, married and living in Afghanistan against her parents' wishes, suddenly and mysteriously disappears.

See...


The Kite Runner (Alex Awards (Awards))
Khaled Hosseini
1573222453
June 2, 2003
Hardcover
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Book Review
In his debut novel, The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini accomplishes what very few contemporary novelists are able to do. He manages to provide an educational and eye-opening account of a country's political turmoil--in this case, Afghanistan--while also developing characters whose heartbreaking struggles and emotional triumphs resonate with readers long after the last page has been turned over. And he does this on his first try.

The Kite Runner follows the story of Amir, the privileged son of a wealthy businessman in Kabul, and Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant. As children in the relatively stable Afghanistan of the early 1970s, the boys are inseparable. They spend idyllic days running kites and telling stories of mystical places and powerful warriors until an unspeakable event changes the nature of their...



Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001
Steve Coll
1594200076
February 2004
Hardcover
·
 
Book Review
Steve Coll's Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 offers revealing details of the CIA's involvement in the evolution of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the years before the September 11 attacks. From the beginning, Coll shows how the CIA's on-again, off-again engagement with Afghanistan after the end of the Soviet war left officials at Langley with inadequate resources and intelligence to appreciate the emerging power of the Taliban. He also demonstrates how Afghanistan became a deadly playing field for international politics where Soviet, Pakistani, and U.S. agents armed and trained a succession of warring factions. At the same time, the book, though opinionated, is not solely a critique of the agency. Coll balances accounts of CIA failures with...


The Man Who Would Be King
Ben Macintyre
0374529574
May 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
While many know Sean Connery as "The Man Who Would Be King," few know 19th-century maverick Josiah Harlan, whose adventures probably inspired John Huston's version of Kipling's tale. But the research of British journalist Macintyre (The Englishman's Daughter) gives readers both Harlan's story and a thought-provoking perspective on the history of superpower intervention in Afghanistan. Born to a Pennsylvania Quaker family in 1799, the self-educated Harlan studied Greek and Roman history before becoming a Freemason and shipping out to Calcutta at age 21. Jilted by his fiancée, Harlan decided to seek his fortune on the Asian subcontinent. Calling himself a doctor, he briefly served as a military surgeon with the British army in the Burma War, before tales of Afghanistan fired his imagination. Disguised as a...


Charlie Wilson's War
George Crile
0802141242
May 2004
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Put the Tom Clancy clones back on the shelf; this covert-ops chronicle is practically impossible to put down. No thriller writer would dare invent Wilson, a six-feet-four-inch Texas congressman,liberal on social issues but rabidly anti-Communist, a boozer, engaged in serial affairs and wheeler-dealer of consummate skill. Only slightly less improbable is Gust Avrakotos, a blue-collar Greek immigrant who joined the CIA when it was an Ivy League preserve and fought his elitist colleagues almost as ruthlessly as he fought the Soviet Union in the Cold War's waning years. In conjunction with President Zia of Pakistan in the 1980s, Wilson and Arvakotos circumvented most of the barriers to arming the Afghan mujahideen-distance, money, law and internal CIA politics, to name a few. Their coups included getting...


Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan
Ann Jones
0805078843
March 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
In February 2003, Jones and her fellow NGO relief workers watched with disbelief and horror as Fox News declared the American war in Afghanistan a success—the Taliban totally defeated, all Afghan women "liberated" and the infrastructure completely restored. The reality they knew on the ground in Kabul was starkly different. Jones (Women Who Kill) presents her version of the events in this fascinating volume, which tours Kabul's streets, private homes, schools and women's prison. The political and military history of Afghanistan, as well as its cultural and religious traditions, inform Jones's daily interactions and observations. Describing an English class she taught, for example, Jones says, "Once, after I explained what blind date meant, a woman said, 'Like my wedding.' " Jones focuses particularly on...


Afghanistan Cave Complexes 1979-2004
Mir Bahmanyar
184176776X
Oct 2004
Paperback
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Book Description
Following the Soviet invasion in 1979, the Mujahideen defenders of Afghanistan developed and reinforced many natural cave systems to use as supply bases and defensive positions. The Taliban and Al Qaeda further developed these positions throughout the 1990s. Following the events of September 11, 2001, these cave systems have once more come to prominence and sites such as Tora Bora ("Black Dust," a series of individual caves) and Zhawar Kili (a large complex in eastern Afghanistan) have featured in news headlines around the world. This title provides a detailed analysis and visual documentation of these caves and underground systems. It also discusses the Coalition's tactical approach to dislodging the enemy from these fortified positions.


Afghanistan to Zimbabwe
Andrew Wojtanik
0792279816
Apr 2005
Paperback
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Inside CentCom: The Unvarnished Truth About the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
Michael DeLong, et al
0895260204
September 25, 2004
Hardcover
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Book Description
Lt. General Mike DeLong, deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, was second only to General Tommy Franks in the war on terror. At the center of discussions between President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Tommy Franks, General DeLong offers the frankest and most authoritative look inside the wars-how we prepared for battle, how we fought, how we toppled two regimes-and what's happening now on these two crucial fronts.

From the Inside Flap
Only two men on earth have the insider knowledge about what really happened at the highest levels of our government and military from September 11, 2001, through the fall of Saddam Hussein's notorious dictatorship in Iraq. One of these men is Army General Tommy Franks. The other is...


The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan
Christina Lamb
0060505273
February 2004
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Expelled from Afghanistan by the Taliban for her reporting, award-winning British journalist Lamb returned after the September 11 attacks to observe the land and its people firsthand. Through interviews with locals, Lamb paints a vivid picture of Taliban rule and offers a broader sense of life devastated by two decades of war. Her well-written and moving account also reveals the heroism of the Afghans, who not only survived but also resisted their Soviet occupiers; clandestine literary circles and art preservation techniques, for example, helped Afghans salvage their education and history from total destruction. Yet this is more than a chronicle of everyday Afghan life. Lamb's probing interviews with Afghan warlords, former members of the Taliban and other influential personalities ignored by the Western media...


The Bookseller of Kabul
Asne Seierstad
0316159417
October 26, 2004
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
After living for three months with the Kabul bookseller Sultan Khan in the spring of 2002, Norwegian journalist Seierstad penned this astounding portrait of a nation recovering from war, undergoing political flux and mired in misogyny and poverty. As a Westerner, she has the privilege of traveling between the worlds of men and women, and though the book is ostensibly a portrait of Khan, its real strength is the intimacy and brutal honesty with which it portrays the lives of Afghani living under fundamentalist Islam. Seierstad also expertly outlines Sultan's fight to preserve whatever he can of the literary life of the capital during its numerous decades of warfare (he stashed some 10,000 books in attics around town). Seierstad, though only 31, is a veteran war reporter and a skilled observer; as she hides behind...


Between War and Peace
Victor Davis Hanson
0812972732
Feb 2004
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Hanson (An Autumn of War), who has been compared to John Keegan as a historian of war, doesn't display the objectivity of a scholar here. These 39 previously published essays (35 from National Review Online) assessing the U.S. war on terrorism mostly focus on broad-brush denunciations of Europeans, Arabs, the U.N. and Muslims, reserving praise for the U.S. and Israel as beacons of democracy. America's pre-emptive war in Iraq is applauded and, Hanson says, Syria should be next. Saudi Arabia should be seen more as an enemy than an ally and actively subverted. His targets are mostly caricaturesâ€"he portrays Europeans, for instance, as reactionaries in their anti-Americanism. Hanson, a scholar of the ancient Greek military, does not appeal to research or direct experience in the Arab world, but merely to...


Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia
Ahmed Rashid
0300089023
March 1, 2001
Paperback
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Book Review
This is the single best book available on the Taliban, the fundamentalist Islamic regime in Afghanistan responsible for harboring the terrorist Osama bin Laden. Ahmed Rashid is a Pakistani journalist who has spent most of his career reporting on the region--he has personally met and interviewed many of the Taliban's shadowy leaders. Taliban was written and published before the massacres of September 11, 2001, yet it is essential reading for anyone who hopes to understand the aftermath of that black day. It includes details on how and why the Taliban came to power, the government's oppression of ordinary citizens (especially women), the heroin trade, oil intrigue, and--in a vitally relevant chapter--bin Laden's sinister rise to power. These pages contain stories of mass slaughter, beheadings, and the Taliban's crushing war...


Militant Tricks: Battlefield Ruses of the Islamic Insurgent
H. John Poole, Ray L. Smith
0963869582
October 17, 2005
Paperback
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North County Times (San Diego), 31 December 2005
"Poole's book examines war at the tactical level ... and tries to explain the insurgents' ways of thinking and fighting."

B. Gen. Edwin Howard Simmons USMC (Ret.), Sept. 2005
"[F]or those who wish to better understand today’s confused events, it [Militant Tricks] is well worth reading."

See all Editorial Reviews

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