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The Afghan Campaign [Paperback]

Steven Pressfield
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
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Book Description

28 Jan 2008

Alexander the Great's campaign in the Afghan kingdoms began in the summer of 330BC. It lasted for three brutal years and proved the most bloody and ruthless he and his army ever fought...

Among the ranks of Macedonian infantry is Matthias. The youngest of three brothers, he is eager to prove himself, but as he joins the frontline, he comes to realise that warfare has changed. The Macedonians face a new kind of enemy, and must learn to fight a new kind of war. Experiencing fear, euphoria, horror and shame, Matthias and his comrades undergo a rite of passage as they, soldiers of a Western force whose code is secular and humanist, confront a proud Eastern warrior people who possess a fervent willingness to die for their cause. Just to survive, Alexander's men must shake off the trappings of 'civilization' and adopt the same unorthodox and barbaric tactics as their foe - but at what cost?

Set against the harsh, unrelenting Afghan landscape, this thrilling novel reveals a profound understanding of the hopes and fears of men in battle and has important things to say about the nature of wars past...and present.

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The Afghan Campaign + Tides Of War + Gates Of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; paperback / softback edition (28 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553817973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553817973
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.6 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven Pressfield is a bestselling historical novelist whose books include the classic Gates of Fire, Alexander: The Virtues of War The Afghan Campaign and Killing Rommel. He lives in Los Angeles.

His official website is

Product Description


"Pressfield's talent is awesome...The Afghan Campaign is an extraordinary work, an instant classic" (DAVID GEMMELL)

"An impressive scholar and gifted storyteller...the finest military writer alive" (STEPHEN COONTS)

"No one writes better historical fiction than Steven Pressfield" (VINCE FLYNN)

Book Description

The bloody, brutal, brilliant new novel of men at war from the master of the genre.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Virtues of War? 10 Jan 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is the second time Pressfield has touched on the career of Alexader the Great. The previous book, 'Alexander: The Virtues of War' was designed partly to defend Alexander against some of the more sensational imaginings of other writers, eg about his Oedipal tendencies. 'The Afghan Campaign' provides in the end a more satisfying vision because the consequences of Alexander's bent for attempting the impossible are seen from below, through the eyes of a rank-and-file Macedonian soldier; and the focus is on a campaign that essentially could not be won - any more than anyone else has been able to 'win' in Afghanistan since. Pressfield''s trademark descriptions of the harshness of warfare are here as usual, and there is a more detailed and touching story of heterosexual relations than usual at the novel's centre. However, for many the main fascination will be the many, accurate, and surely deliberate parallels with the issues faced (and errors made) by the Western coalition fighting in Afghanistan today.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This is a good historical account of the most brutal campaign in Alexanders war to subdue and bring into the fold all the lands that were once apart of the Persian empire. The war in Afghanistan brought a new type of warfare to Alexander The Greats conquering armies, a guerilla war that was to that date unmatched in the brutality which was shown to both civilians and enemy combatants. The warriors of Alexander had to not only face male warriors in battle but also female and in some cases children who would gain the trust of the Macedonian warriors only to have them poison their food or slit their throats in the night, this as one can imagine brings a no mercy policy to any Afghan who shows any sign of insurrection.

This story tells of the adventures of two Macedonian youths who seek fame and glory in Alexanders army, Matthias and his friend Lucas. They leave there farms to join with the new recruits heading off to the Afghan front, right from the very beginning they are surprised at how different things are to how they thought they might be. They arrive at the base camp with nothing other than the clothes they are wearing only to find that they have to buy or scavenge their armour and weapons from the dead after a battle. They soon discover that the glory of war is just a myth, the only thing that matters are your friends and survival, they also discovered that this new type of war will be like one that has never been fought before, the brutality they witness and commit leaves them wishing they were back home on there farms. The only thing that keeps them sane is their friendship with each other and their fellow warriors around them, they know that they can only count on each other.

This is a good book from Pressfield, but if you're looking for another Gates Of Fire you may be disappointed, that being said this is a good book that is well worth reading. Anyone who likes tales of Alexander will like this!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great if you dont want loads of action 29 Aug 2007
Steven Pressfields books are very complex, this being no exception. As always in the first person from the account of a simple soldier in the time of Alexander the Greats campaign into Afganistan.
Lots of imformation on the campaign is given in this very gripping novel with great characters and a engrossing storyline. I was surprised that I enjoyed this book so much because I normally like lots of action and battles, this was actually a refreshing change from that. This book deserves to be read again and again.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to his amazing best 5 Feb 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read all of Pressfield's work and apart from Gates of Fire, and Last of the Amazons, I have to say, they have not lived up to the early promise of Gates of Fire. Alexander was a bit of a let down and Tides didn't live up to its billing.

The Afghan Campaign for me, reminded me what a really great author Mr. Pressfield is. I was hooked from the start right to the end and I think anyone should read this book and will feel better for having done so.

I hope his next works live up to this excellent book!

A must buy!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply stunning 20 July 2007
By Colin
The style and pace of Mr. Pressfield's novel is breathtaking. The historical detail and tactical explanations should be used to educate in schools. I am avid reader of historical work and this is the stuff of genious.
I congratulate the author. A timely reminder of the never ending fruitlessness of war for war sake. A must read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable read 28 Oct 2008
By Stalks
Over the last few months I have read several Steven Pressfield novels and I have to say that the Afghan Campaign has been one of my favourites. All the hype focuses on another Pressfield novel "Gates of Fire"(which is excellent) but this novel almost equals it.

Each Pressfield novel is written from a different perspective and in the Afghan Campaign the book is seen from a normal soldiers view. And perhaps this is why I enjoyed it so much. Its a far easier read than Pressfields "Tides of War" for example.

Just try it, I bet you'll like it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vivid but disappointing 6 Dec 2007
Alexander's campaign in the Upper Satrapies is a much forgotten part of his wars of conquest and I'm glad this book drew attention to it. Unlike many other historical authors, Pressfield is really good at highlighting the sides of a soldier's life that are much forgotten, particularly the issue of camp wives.

However, I disagree a lot with many of the historical and cultural assumptions he makes. For example, the premise of the story is that Matthias is part of relief unit. This is untrue as Alexander seems to have fallen out with Antipater (general in charge of Greece) around 330 BC and receives no new recruits afterwards. Also, the excessive filling in the blanks of the soldier's lifestyle with that of a modern one he researched while writing. I think this undermines what I think a good historical fiction novel should do and that is convince you of the mindset of past societies. Instead, it looks like he's forcing parallels between ancient and modern Afghanistan.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Was expecting a bit more
Given the reputation of the author I was expecting a little more here. This is a view of Alexander's attempt to subdue Afghanistan and seen from the perspective of an ordinary... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nick Brett
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic.
I am an ESOL teaching assistant and I can only say that if you want an insight into the Afghani mind this is obligatory. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Tony Hip
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as gates of fire
The premise of the book was good because it went beyond alexander the great and gave the personal story of a soldier in his army, however it did not deliver and i found it hard to... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Octavius 1
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant
I don't, normally. like books written in the first person but, in this case, it was absolutely the right choice. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Clive
1.0 out of 5 stars If you are looking for good historical fiction...try something else.
Here is the technique Steven Pressfield followed to write the book: He composed a text about the US invasion in Afganistan in 2003 and when he finished he made minor amendments... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Arlecchino
5.0 out of 5 stars Pressfield at the top of his art
This is one of Steven Pressfiled's very best books, perhaps even his best, although readers (including myself) generally prefer his more accessible "Gates of Fire". Read more
Published on 29 Jan 2012 by JPS
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
This is my first book by Pressfield, given to me on holiday by a mate, and after blitzing through it in a couple of days I've pretty impressed. Read more
Published on 22 Aug 2011 by Dancer
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute top story!
The Afghan Campaign is a captivating and interesting story about two boys who leave their Macedonian homeland to join Alexander the Great in his conquests on the eastern... Read more
Published on 19 Aug 2011 by Argyraspid
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
what can i say mr pressfield has delivered another great book the way he writes is fantastic it grabs hold of you and refuses to let go even after you finish reading the book your... Read more
Published on 26 July 2011 by barron10
3.0 out of 5 stars exceptional detail
i was impressed by the writing of this book in many ways. the idea of uasage of ancient names and items and then written beside them a modern day explanation. Read more
Published on 6 May 2009 by G. P. Kitchener
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