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An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict Hardcover – 18 Apr 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd; First Edition edition (18 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849043361
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849043366
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 3.7 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 169,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'...an extraordinary book ... An Intimate War is the work of a wise and patient scholar.' --James Meek, London Review of Books

'The first serious effort to make sense of the war in Helmand ... 'An Intimate War' is an uncompromising, deeply thought and important contribution.' --Tom Coghlan, The Times

'This is the best book ever written on Afghanistan. Martin writes what I have been feeling since the 1980s, but have not expressed in such a clear way. It is a remarkable work of political anthropology.' --Olivier Roy, Professor and Chair in Mediterranean Studies, European University Institute

Review

‘The first serious effort to make sense of the war in Helmand ... 'An Intimate War' is an uncompromising, deeply thought and important contribution.’ (Tom Coghlan, The Times)

‘An extraordinary book … ‘An Intimate War’ is the work of a wise and patient scholar.’ (James Meek, London Review of Books)

'Martin’s meticulous study, based on 150 interviews conducted over four years, and his own experience as a serving officer in Helmand, presents a view of the war that is radically different from the one the British public has been hearing ever since Tony Blair ordered British troops to deploy in Helmand in 2006. The picture that he paints is often jaw-dropping.' (Matt Carr, The Huffington Post)

‘Among the best books on the Afghan crisis I have come across… immensely detailed.’ (Robert Fox, Defence Editor of the Evening Standard, The World Today)

‘This is the best book ever written on Afghanistan. Martin writes what I have been feeling since the 1980s, but have not expressed in such a clear way. It is a remarkable work of political anthropology.’ (Olivier Roy, Professor and Chair in Mediterranean Studies, European University Institute)

‘A must-read for anyone interested in a detailed history of the British war in Helmand province or the counter-insurgency debate...provides useful insights in the social dynamics of the province before the start of the civil war.’ (International Affairs)

'Essential reading for any serious student of Britain's Fourth Afghan War. A deeply researched, clearly argued, reminder of how the West's road to Helmand was paved with good intentions, and that there, as elsewhere in Afghanistan, the West failed to understand the war it was fighting, causing them to coerce rather than to co-opt.’ (Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles KCMG LVO, UK Ambassador to Afghanistan 2007-9, and UK Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan 2009-10)

‘’An Intimate War’ is, quite simply, the book on Helmand. I sincerely wish it had been available to me when I was ISAF Commander in Afghanistan. Military, diplomatic and development professionals involved in Afghanistan - and elsewhere, for that matter - read this and take note.’ (General Sir David Richards GCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Gen; Commander of International Forces in Afghanistan, 2006-7 and UK Chief of the Defence Staff, 2010-13)

'The proverbial complexity of civil wars is typically discounted as irrelevant or misinterpreted through orientalising. Mike Martin begs to differ: in this rich and fascinating account of thirty-four years of war in the Afghan province of Helmand, he explains how and why the private and local logics of the conflict interact with, and often subvert, the public, national, and international narratives. He exposes the failure of Western bureaucratic institutions to grasp this reality and dissects both the causes and consequences of their failure. This outstanding book is a must-read for those interested in understanding contemporary conflict.' (Stathis Kalyvas, Arnold Wolfers Professor of Political Science, Yale University, and author of ‘The Logic of Violence in Civil War’)

‘This work lays the foundation for much future research, including similarly in-depth looks at the histories of, and counterinsurgencies in, other provinces in Afghanistan and Iraq. It also highlights the need for study into why institutions and militaries adopt mistaken initial premises, and more importantly why groups and individuals retain these flawed conceptions even as it becomes clear that they are failing to achieve their goals. Above all, Martin demonstrates the futility of trying to understand intrastate conflict, much less intervene in such conflicts, without grasping the implications of the local history, culture, politics and social dynamics.’ (Jessica Jensen, Journal of Military and Strategic Studies)

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