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Kara Kush [Hardcover]

Idries Shah
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1986
Adam Durany, Afghan-born and American-schooled,returns to his homeland to lead his people againstthe Soviet atrocities and communist infiltrationthat threaten to annihilate the country and itsdream of modernisation. As the rebel guerrilla,Kara Kush, Adam rallies his followers, theill-equipped patriots to fight back. Based onfacts and eye-witness accounts of real-lifeparticipants of the war, this riveting andfast-paced novel offers huge insights into thecountry of Afghanistan, its people, its historyand its traditions.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Stein & Day Pub; 1st Ed. (U.S.) edition (May 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812830989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812830989
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,573,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great fictional story based in reality: 23 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Kara Kush is one of the best adventure stories I've ever read. The tales of bravery coupled with the fascinating history and insight into the freedom fighters of Afganistan and the world sparked my interest long before I knew what a Sufi was (I still may not know). This novel had such a ring of honesty that I found myself doubting it could be anything but the very best of non-fiction. From the actual phone number of the KGB to the descriptions of leaders and life experiences, this book paints a picture so vivid and genuine that one must wonder from what narrative or collection the author was writing. I would recommend this story to anyone with a curious spirit and the wish to be led somewhere interesting.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not so much a novel as an anthology. 26 July 2014
By Vlodec
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A bunch of short stories welded together to produce a long one. Even the eponymous hero, Kara Kush, is hardly dealt with as a human being. We know him little better at the end of the book than we did at the beginning.

One has the impression - Though I'm not sure why. Because they have the ring of truth perhaps? - that the stories are all based on real happenings and people. Certainly it's said that Shah, of Afghan descent himself, was heavily involved in the war he writes about and we might suppose he would have known a great deal about what went on.

There's also no denying where his sympathies lie. The Afghan freedom fighters are square jawed, noble, honest etc etc. whilst the Russians, and their Afghan collaborators, are, shall we say, none of these things. No shades of grey for Idries.

Best of all for me were the little nuggets of knowledge he provides about the many and diverse Afghan peoples. As an example, according to Idries Shah, the cult of the Assassins is still in existence in Afghanistan. Is it true? I've no idea, but he makes it seem so. Then there's the matter of the Bani Israel which I found astonishing.

All in all, an exciting and absorbing read. I knocked off a star because of what I see as the author's simplistic perception of the virtues and vices of the protagonists.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
A revealing testimony about the authors homeland and his truely unique incites into its people and their history. A must read for any student of coherent thinking and a wonderful example of triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds. Whether you are interested in warfare, travel, or incites into the greater capacities of the human spirit Kara Kush is the book for you. This story is truely told from an insiders point of view.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great fictional story based in reality: 23 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Kara Kush is one of the best adventure stories I've ever read. The tales of bravery coupled with the fascinating history and insight into the freedom fighters of Afganistan and the world sparked my interest long before I knew what a Sufi was (I still may not know). This novel had such a ring of honesty that I found myself doubting it could be anything but the very best of non-fiction. From the actual phone number of the KGB to the descriptions of leaders and life experiences, this book paints a picture so vivid and genuine that one must wonder from what narrative or collection the author was writing. I would recommend this story to anyone with a curious spirit and the wish to be led somewhere interesting.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A look at Afghanistan: then ... now? ... always? 27 Jun 2010
By Ursiform - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book was published in 1986, but noticing it on my shelf, and with the news of the day, I thought it was high time to review it.

Although the conceit is an American-educated Afghan returning to organize Afghans fighting the Soviets in the 1980s--probably intended to help sales for this English-language book written by an Afghan--the book is an Afghan's view of the Afghan struggle to defeat the invading Soviets. While the cold war message Americans might have taken away from the book was that Afghans were our allies in defeating the totalitarian Soviet Union, the lasting message is a different one. Afghanistan is not so much a nation as a geographical region filled with fiercely independent tribes. Much has been made of their success in repulsing invaders. But the deeper story is that they have never surrendered their independence to anyone, including indigenous governments. Tribal leaders were willing to pledge nominal fealty to Afghan governments so long as those governments made no effort to expand their writ to tribal areas. But the tribes never allowed themselves to actually be governed by any central authority. Even the Taliban, for all their brutality, never controlled the whole area of Afghanistan.

Some have criticized this book for treating the Soviets as caricatures. But the book is told from the Afghan viewpoint, and fighters demonize their enemies. This is not an objective book that tries to see the Soviets as they really were, it is a book that presents the Soviets as an Afghan imagines them. If that is a problem for you, you might not like the book.

A powerful--albeit biased and definitely period--book, it still offers a vivid insight to Afghan tribalism. Yes, to read it today you will have to set aside some cold war baggage. But many "old" novels carry baggage from their era. This novel is a lively read, and deserves a new lease on remembrance by yet another tragic turn in Afghan history.
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Afganistan during the Soviet occupation of the 1980's 9 Feb 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A revealing testimony about the authors homeland and his truely unique incites into its people and their history. A must read for any student of coherent thinking and a wonderful example of triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds. Whether you are interested in warfare, travel, or incites into the greater capacities of the human spirit Kara Kush is the book for you. This story is truely told from an insiders point of view.
4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Grand Ideas Fall Short 7 Mar 2002
By "werdhertz2" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When i got hold of this book (1987 Fontana edition) i had rather higher then average expectation`s. Who better to write a book about Soviet-occupied Afghanistan then an Afghan themselves? Half way through i decided that this book could have been so much better then it was. I can honestly say this book has a large amount of Anti-Russian feeling to it. I can understand why, considering the thing`s they`ve done there but Shah goes as far as to say that all Russian`s batter and beat their wives and consider it 'the right thing to do'. Almost every Russian in this book (and there are quite a few) are either described as psychotic lunatics (One smile`s in glee as he torture`s someone and rape`s her daughter) or so stupid you`d think they`d not even know how to operate the Kalishnikov`s they were assigned to use. The way Shah jump`s through the book giving new character`s almost every chapter, you can`t get to feel as if you have any connection or feeling`s for them and hence come`s across feeling more like a text book with a fictious story in a real life setting then a real story. Although it does have some good, like the description`s of Kabul and refugee`s escaping and such, i am forced to give this book an 'Average' rateing at best.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 3 Mar 2003
By Bruce L. Dodson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A pretty good read. Interessting details about the war with Russia, many of which I am sure are true. Gave me a better understanding of the Afgan people. The write goes a little "Tom Clancy" at times, but it's a good book and I think, for the most part, based on truth.
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