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Hard to access, terrible maps and not enough of them
on 30 March 2016
One hesitates to offer criticisms of a book with so many extracts from ultra favourable reviews printed inside its covers but I have do have some to offer. The maps are unacceptably poor little sketchy things quite unsuited to relate to descriptions of what happened to the British/Indian expedition.
While it is good to read descriptions of what led up to the ill-fated invasion, starting that story more than forty years before is it a bit like describing the Dunkirk evacuation with the Boer War as the starting point?
Reference to Afghan sources is an excellent move rather than relying on solely British and Indian texts but this book is hardly likely to popularise the subject. Good working knowledge of both the Persian Empire and culture and Russia's wider Asian policy priorities in the 19th Century are needed to put the Afghan portion into context. Don't want to see the book dumbed down but think of the readers who might become interested in the subject if it was less dense and described events in a wider context (knowledge of the workings of the British East India company is not exactly widespread these days either).