The Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan

Front Cover
A&C Black, 2013 - Afghanistan - 567 pages
7 Reviews
In the spring of 1839, the British invaded Afghanistan for the first time. Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed shakos, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the high mountain passes and re-established on the throne Shah Shuja ul-Mulk.On the way in, the British faced little resistance. But after two years of occupation, the Afghan people rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country exploded into violent rebellion. The First Anglo-Afghan War ended in Britain's greatest military humiliation of the nineteenth century: an entire army of the then most powerful nation in the world ambushed in retreat and utterly routed by poorly equipped tribesmen.Return of a King is the definitive analysis of the First Afghan War, told through the lives of unforgettable characters on all sides and using for the first time contemporary Afghan accounts of the conflict. Prize-winning and bestselling historian William Dalrymple's masterful retelling of Britain's greatest imperial disaster is a powerful and important parable of colonial ambition and cultural collision, folly and hubris, for our times.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - oparaxenos - LibraryThing

Before picking up this book, I had heard a lot about William Dalrymple, but I did not realise just how good an author he is. This is a book about an extremely interesting subject, but what is striking ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bhutton - LibraryThing

Superbly researched book that uses mostly contemporary sources in there own words the experiences of the first Afghan-British war. A detailed look at the people involved in this disaster from all sides. Read full review

Contents

No Easy Place to Rule
1
An Unsettled Mind
30
The Great Game Begins
74
The Mouth of Hell
144
The Flag of Holy
198
We Fail from Our Ignorance
255
All Order Is at an
294
The Wail of Bugles
355
The Death of a King
389
A War for No Wise Purpose
425
Authors Note
489
Notes
503
Bibliography
537
Glossary
552
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

William Dalrymple is the bestselling author of In Xanadu, City of Djinns, From the Holy Mountain, The Age of Kali, White Mughals, The Last Mughal and, most recently, Nine Lives. He has won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award, the French Prix d'Astrolabe, the Wolfson Prize for History, the Scottish Book of the Year Award, the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the Asia House Award for Asian Literature, the Vodafone Crossword Award for non-fiction, the Ryszard Kapuscinski Award for Literary Reportage, and has, prior to the shortlisting of Return of a King, been longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize three times. In 2012 he was appointed Whitney J. Oates Visiting Fellow in Humanities at Princeton University. He lives with his wife and three children on a farm outside Delhi.

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