A colorful account of the rise of Islamic radicals in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan's Experiences - Vol. 1


This first installment of a two-volume history tracks the ascent of Afghanistan as a hotbed for terrorism.

Beginning with the 1998 Taliban assault on the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, debut author Hadi explores the evolution of modern terrorism in Afghanistan. The book’s first half is dedicated to the Taliban, who represent the latest (and perhaps most troubling) in a long line of armed groups that have made peace impossible in the country, as well as a recap of the nation’s turbulent history of invasions. In the second half, Hadi launches into a sustained analysis of events since 1978, the year of the Soviet incursion and the beginning of Afghanistan’s ongoing period of nearly incessant conflict. The author breaks down the various players and phases of the long war up to the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud in September 2001, with particular attention paid to the way in which foreign powers tipped the scales for one faction or another. While the Taliban are excoriated for their many atrocities—Hadi hates the group even more than most people do—the author also identifies the actors who have helped create the instability in Afghanistan. He singles out the self-serving actions of the Soviet Union and the United States, as well as the terrorism-tolerant regimes of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Hadi writes in a dense, breathless prose that sometimes veers into awkward or unpredictable directions. The reader quickly gets used to his habit of making unsubstantiated claims like “Historians agree that no other country of comparable size and population to Afghanistan has seen so much action in the course of history.” Hadi is clearly deeply versed in his country’s recent events, and his conclusions as to how it reached its present state of volatility reside well within the mainstream view. Even so, at no point does the reader feel that this is an objective historical account. Hadi has decided who the villains of this chronicle are, and he shows no interest in masking his disdain for them.

A colorful account of the rise of Islamic radicals in Afghanistan.

Pub Date: March 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5246-0008-2

Page Count: 590

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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