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The Anglo-Afghan Wars (Essential Histories (Osprey Publishing)) [Paperback]

Gregory Fremont-Barnes
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: £12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

10 Nov 2009 Essential Histories (Osprey Publishing) (Book 40)
During the 19th century Britain entered into three brutal wars with Afghanistan, each one saw the British trying and failing to gain control of a warlike and impenetrable territory. The first two wars (1839-42 and 1878-81) were wars of the Great Game; the British Empire's attempts to combat growing Russian influence near India's borders. The third, fought in 1919, was an Afghan-declared holy war against British India - in which over 100,000 Afghans answered the call, and raised a force that would prove too great for the British Imperial army. Each of the three wars were plagued by military disasters, lengthy sieges and costly engagements for the British, and history has proved the Afghans a formidable foe and their country unconquerable. This book reveals the history of these three Anglo-Afghan wars, the imperial power struggles that led to conflict and the torturous experiences of the men on the ground. The book concludes with a brief overview of the background to today's conflict in Afghanistan, and sketches the historical parallels.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey (10 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846034469
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846034466
  • Product Dimensions: 24.7 x 16.9 x 0.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 248,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Other recommendations for specialty military history collections include... Gregory Fremont-Barnes' "The Anglo-Afghan Wars 1839-1919, "considering the history of Afghanistan and its military battles." -"The Bookwatch" (January 2010)

About the Author

Gregory Fremont-Barnes holds a doctorate in Modern History from Oxford University. A visiting Senior Lecturer in the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, he has written on a wide range of military and naval subjects, including The French Revolutionary Wars, The Peninsular War, 1807-1814, The Fall of the French Empire, 1813-1815, The Boer War, 1899-1902, The Wars of the Barbary Pirates, Trafalgar 1805, Nelson's Sailors, The Indian Mutiny, 1857-58 and American Bomber Crewman in World War II, 1941-45. He is also editor of the two-volume "Encyclopedia of the Age of Political Revolutions and New Ideologies, 1760-1815," the three-volume "Encyclopedia of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars" and co-editor of the five-volume "Encyclopedia of the American Revolutionary War." The author lives in Surrey, England.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well written and an impressive book 14 Dec 2009
This book was a good purchase. It gives a good historical perspective for a deeper understanding of the difficult situation in Afghanistan right now. The experiences of the British during the 19th century have indeed much in common with the experiences of the Soviet army and NATO during the 20th and 21st century.

The text is well written although it is of course more from the British point of view than Afghan. The emphasis of the text is in the first (1839-42) and second (1878-81) Anglo-Afghan wars. The shorter third war (1919) is discussed more briefly but I think the author has made a good overall balancing. And if one is interested to know more, there is a comprehensive chapter "Bibliography and further reading". I appreciate that the author highlights also the suffering of the civilians and soldiers, especially during the first Anglo-Afghan war. Sometimes it seems that some authors are alienated from the reality of wars. They are not just manoeuvres of the military units, there are always people who get injured and killed.

Unfortunately there are some embarrassing errors: one picture is depicted two times (p. 36 & 59) and one map (p. 64) lacks the caption for numbers. In addition to this I do not understand why so many paintings are black-and-white. For example the famous "The Remnants of an Army" can be seen in full colours in Wikipedia. Why not here?

Anyway, I highly recommend this book to everyone intersted in the history of Afghanistan in the 19th century. This book gives one a lot to think about, espacially about the present situation in Afghanistan. I have to say that after reading this book I was inclined a bit more to the pessimistic side concerning the future of Afghanistan. I hope I am wrong.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This survey and analysis of the three Anglo-Afghan wars is both thorough and concise with useful maps and interesting illustrations. My only complaint is that the editors failed to note that the illustration from the author's collection depicting General Sir Samuel Browne entering Jalalabad on 20 September 1878 appears twice, once correctly on page 59 in Part II on the Second Anglo-Afghan War and again, incorrectly, on page 36 in Part I on the First Anglo-Afghan War. This flaw mars an otherwise excellent book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superbly well illustrated 18 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book describes the three Anglo-Afghan wars and pays attention to the political and cultural roots of the conflict.

The terrible retreat from Kabul occupies the best part of the first war.

The second and third war are covered with more detail to the main battles.

The book has plenty of maps ,pictures and drawings but the written text is not very large.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Talk about relevant........ 15 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Essential Histories are excellent synopsis of key Military events and provide a concise analysis. This one is of course especially compelling and seemingly all too relevant from the disasters of the First and Second Afghan campaign ( the final stands of frozen infantry to the memorable paintings they destruction of British Columns are all here.) This book was well researched, fascinating and with excellent reference. I you want to know more read Peter Hopkin's The Great Game or go the amazing original source such as Younghusband's Relief of Chitral or the History of the Guides.
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