What a great book ! Well-written, informative and full of interesting detail. Anyone with knowledge of the US disaster in Vietnam will see the Russians making many of the same mistakes, and we now seem to be repeating those errors ourselves - a common theme being lack of understanding of the people, their culture and their resentment of foreign invaders. The background to communist government in Afghanistan is well-explained, and there is an excellent account of the Russian special forces storming Amin's palace and killing the communist president. The proper invasion followed, at the "request" of the newly-installed leader, and they expected to stay only a few months ! Their aims are ones people in the West would support - roads, clean water, education (including for girls), economic develment etc. - but in the context of the Cold War, the western-backing for the mujahedin helped to make sure that what followed was a 10 year Russian disaster, with over 15,000 coffins returning to Russian families, often in the night to try and avoid bad publicity. Told from Russian sources, this is a great read and highly recommended for anyone with an interest in Afghanistan, then or now.