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The Afghan Campaign Hardcover – 1 Feb 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (1 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385610645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385610643
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Thrilling historical novel evoking the madness, mayhem and sheer God-awfulness of Alexander the Great's campaign in Afghanistan - a timeless tale of men at war.

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Top Customer Reviews

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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By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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". Just like "Tides of War", this book is about the horrors of war. Unlike "Gates of Fire", there are no "heroes" here, just two simple Macedonian soldiers who struggle to survive against the odds, with the crossing of the Afghan mountains being particularly horrific. There is no undying glory or sense of a higher purpose either, as the whole campaign, probably Alexander's hardest of all, was fought with little to gain and against an ennemy that was impossible to really defeat.

This is where Pressfield is at his best when describing the feelings of the common soldiers dragged into a war that they do not understand and suffering and surviving an ordeal that seems largely unnecessary to begin with. Another strong point of his is the huge difference between the glorious and heroïc presentation of war, fighting for the "good cause", making a fortune through heroïc deeds and so one, and the grim and harsh realities where the newcomers are left on their own as they arrive, without even the basic equipment that they must scavenge and woth some of the veterans callously betting on how long they will survive (this piece comes in fact from the historical sources, if I remember correctly). However, this aspect, which is all about despair, perseverance and survival, is also the one that most readers have found difficult to warm up to. Most readers (myself included) want to read about heroïc deeds more than grim, despairing and harsh realities. In Gates of Fire, you had both. In the Afghan Campaign, only the latter remain.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 get stuck into the novel, perhaps because i was not as fascinated by alexander the great as i was by the spartans and the battle of thermopylae.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't, normally. like books written in the first person but, in this case, it was absolutely the right choice. You don't just follow Matthias as he moves from idealistic youth to become, finally, a grizzled veteran in Alexander's army, you ARE Matthias. Other reviews comment upon the very obvious similarlties between this story of the ancient world and modern day warfare in Afghanistan but, for me, that is almost incidental as, far more gripping is the inexorable slide from honour and glory into a morally bereft mire where 'winning' just means lasting through another day.

This manly tale of full scale war also contains huge doses of every emotion form love to tragedy and taking in filial devotion, parenthood, joy and despair along the way. In the end, the reader feels such empathy for Matthias that you too feel the utter inevitabilty of the final chapter.

This book doesn't 'grab you from the first page'; it slowly envelops you in silken claws until you realise that this story owns you and, until you follow Matthias to the conclusion of his story, you're hooked. Mr Pressfield has well earned his five stars.
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Format: Paperback
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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