"Afghanistan has a total of 310 pages which are papers from writer 'Angelo Rasanayagam'. Since September 11th, 2001, Afghanistan has dominated the news, as it did for a long time during the Soviet occupation two decades ago, and long before, when, in the 19th and early 20th century, its mountain ranges formed the backdrop to the Great Game. In the Western imagination it is one of the most romantic, as well as harsh, beautiful and dangerous places on earth. Squeezed as it is between four empires – Russia, China, India and Persia – its tortured history provides and extraordinary glimpse into the patterns of world movements. Today Afghanistan sits at the pivotal point of a region where a new Great Game is taking shape for the War on Terror and control of the oil-rich steppes of Central Asia. Angelo Rasanayagam’s magisterial work – the fruit of personal experience as well as years of scholarship – is the first major history of modern Afghanistan. It traces the country’s development from the accession of Abdul Rahman Khan, the ‘Iron Amir’ in the 1889, right up to the demise of the Taliban under US bombing over the winter of 2001, and the search for a new state structure in 2002. Of vital importance for understanding the country’s current crisis, it will be essential reading for historians, policy makers, journalists, students, and all those interested in the state of the world today. “well-written, succinct, accessible, analytical, objective and balanced – this is one of the best introductions to the history of modern Afghanistan available to the general public.” Baqer Moin, Head of the Persian Service, BBC. “Excellent – a veritable textbook, and a reference source for anyone interested in Afghanistan” Dr. Thomas Withington, Jane’s Intelligence Review and King’s College, London. “Rasanayagam’s work connects a difficult past with a difficult present in order to extract necessary lessons for the future. He presents a complex history, which will be understood by the general reader, drawing attention to a large range of issues in the contemporary world.” Zahir Tanin, Producer for the Eurasian Region, BBC 2003-02-21 time of publication of the book, [-I.B.Tauris-]"