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To Afghanistan & Back Paperback – 1 Jan 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: NBM Publishing Company; Revised edition edition (1 Jan. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561633593
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561633593
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 1.3 x 15.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,706,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tigerrtje on 19 May 2003
Format: Hardcover
Searching for non-mainstream info on the war in Central Asia, I stumbled upon Ted Rall's work. Rall is a well-known American political cartoonist.

This book presented me with a journalistic format that was new to me: rather detached "comics" and highly personal travelogues. Just like the form, Rall's info is equally "refreshing". It works.
He describes a war that we have not seen on Western tv or read about in the papers. Moreover, his personal analysis of the reasons and consequences is quite different from the ones I had heard so far. Meaning they are worth thinking about. And this book is a good start to become a bit familiar with Afghanistan's history and Western interests there.
If you like this one, you might want to try "Pity the nation" by Robert Fisk about the Middle-East as well.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Great book that could have been better 23 Oct. 2003
By Munawar Ali - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I liked this book alot. But, the truth is that Ted could have made this book much much better, simply by organizing it better. First things first, while it possibly looked interesting to the editors, I found it disjointing how the book was a little bit book, then a little bit comic then a little bit book again.

Creative? yes, Functional? No. I'd stick the whole editorial "book" as a second chapter or as an Appendix. They're interesting on their own, but not when I'm in the middle of a quick moving comic. Besides which, the "book" part went over the same events in the comic.

Also, I had to kick myself when I found that 20 pages into the comic, the comic finishes. Oh man, I needed at least 60 pages to get some satisfaction...what are you going to do, the dude came home.

Lastly, some of his "facts" weren't facts, or I'm an idiot reading all the wrong sources. I dont think Ted does it on purpose, but he does state stuff that I haven't found true....ie. "French reporter gang raped by the Taliban"

All in all, I enjoyed it, definatly worth the time he put into it.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
W's first dirty war 8 Mar. 2006
By Donald Rorabaugh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you think that Iraq was a diversion from the just war against the evil ones in Afghanistan, think again. Ted went there and reported things in 2003 that are just now (2006) making it into the media in this country.

If you can't figure out why the guys in the white hats can't seem to beat the guys in the black hats, this will help. Otherwise, keep watching General Pace tell you that by every objective measure the War On Terror is going very, very well.

This is a fascinating book full of truth you won't find anywhere else.
21 of 29 people found the following review helpful
a must-read 18 April 2003
By David Group - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In little more than a hundred pages, Rall dissects and analyzes the recent war on terrorism in Afghanistan and shows why it may never be won. Eye-opening, frightening, and dispiriting. I do have some minor quibbles with it, though-- there is some repetition between the graphic novel and the written portion, and his characterization of the Afghanis themselves is sometomes contradictory. Still, this is essential reading. I've always hated the phrase, "If you read only one book this year, make it this one," but in this case, it holds true.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
To Hell and Back 28 May 2005
By Gen Res - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In this book, Rall chronicles his trip to Afghanistan that starts shortly after the U.S. begins bombing it. Rall has pretty in-depth knowledge of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and other neighboring countries, their customs, languages and other things.

Afghanistan is basically like any other country - rapists in the middle of the street, 15 year olds standing on roof tops with guns, bombs dropping from the sky, horribly hot or cold weather, panhandlers, kill anyone you feel like there is no law, Middle Ages lifestyle.. you know the normal :) (as you can tell i'm being sarcastic about Afghanistan being normal)

Actually I was really surprised about how Afghanistan was described. Our media, which I followed non-stop from October 2001 and on, described everything very differently. "Everything is wonderful" or "Great progress is being made" they said. I don't understand how some journalists can actually go to Afghanistan, see what is going on and still not do critical reporting.

Rall's experiences ranged from: possibly being killed, to not knowing who to trust. In Afghanistan - Taliban fighters getting a shave and turn into Northern Alliance members. Pornography, alcohol and opium are rampant. It is chaos and a mess. People are walking around and they step on a land mine and they are blown to smithereens. If you want to get anywhere you have to pay starving and dirt poor Afghans a ton of money for help and transportation. A British BBC reporter's skin gets ripped!! From some maniac Taliban members.

After all this death and despair, you may be wondering what solution Rall comes up with. Well it is neither the left or right solution - it is basically to leave Afghanistan and let them take care of themselves. After the Soviet invasion, Northern Alliance feuds, Taliban and U.S. bombings, maybe Rall has a good point.

Even after his near death experiences, horrible rashes and other problems, Rall says in the beginning of his book: my friends said don't go to Afghanistan and I answered by saying "there are millions of people who live there everyday, i'm only going to be there for a couple of weeks. Please think about them when you read this book."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Maddening, erratic, preachy, shrill, horrifying, hypnotic, brilliant. 12 Jun. 2013
By Symmetry Breaker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ted Rall is one of the last of a dying breed: a journalist/political cartoonist who does not just repost corporate or government press clippings. Sane people 'go along to get along', and in this tough job market we must expect that someone willing to get blacklisted by the big media outlets in the name of truth should be a little, well, driven (or perhaps, even, crazy). Too bad. If you want smooth and polite oligarch-approved pablum go elsewhere, if you want the real story go here. Rall goes to Afghanistan, and instead of being embedded with the regular military he lives in ordinary peoples' houses out in the villages (on second thought forget the 'perhaps': he IS crazy). What results is a bit jumbled, I would have liked a longer book with more details. The cartoon maps didn't do it for me: I could have used some better maps and pictures so I had a better idea of where all this was happening. But still. A powerful and compelling look not just into the stupidest and most corrupt thing that the United States has ever done (and that includes Disco), but a look into a very different society: it's where the West used to be about 600 years ago. And if we don't start giving people like Rall more respect, it's where we are going back - and the return journey won't take a fraction of that time.
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