The Dark Defile: Britain's Catastrophic Invasion of Afghanistan, 1838-1842

The Dark Defile Britain s Catastrophic Invasion of Afghanistan Convinced in that Britain s invaluable empire in India was threatened by Russia Persia and Afghan tribes the British government ordered its Army of the Indus into Afghanistan to oust from powe

  • Title: The Dark Defile: Britain's Catastrophic Invasion of Afghanistan, 1838-1842
  • Author: Diana Preston
  • ISBN: 9780802779823
  • Page: 172
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Convinced in 1838 that Britain s invaluable empire in India was threatened by Russia, Persia, and Afghan tribes, the British government ordered its Army of the Indus into Afghanistan to oust from power the independent minded king, Dost Mohammed, and install in Kabul the unpopular puppet ruler Shah Shuja Expecting a quick campaign, the British found themselves trapped by uConvinced in 1838 that Britain s invaluable empire in India was threatened by Russia, Persia, and Afghan tribes, the British government ordered its Army of the Indus into Afghanistan to oust from power the independent minded king, Dost Mohammed, and install in Kabul the unpopular puppet ruler Shah Shuja Expecting a quick campaign, the British found themselves trapped by unforeseen circumstances eventually the tribes united and the seemingly omnipotent army was slaughtered in 1842 as it desperately retreated through the mountain passes from Kabul to Jalalabad Only one Briton survived uncaptured Diana Preston vividly recounts the drama of this First Afghan War, one of the opening salvos in the strategic rivalry between Britain and Russia for supremacy in Central Asia As insightful about geography as she is about political and military miscalculation, Preston draws on rarely documented letters and diaries to bring alive long lost characters Lord Auckland, the weak British governor general in India his impetuous aide William Macnaghten and the prescient adventurer envoy Alexander Burnes, whose sage advice was steadfastly ignored A model of compelling narrative history, The Dark Defile is a fascinating exploration of nineteenth century geopolitics, and a cautionary tale that resonates loudly today.

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      Published :2018-08-17T05:18:23+00:00

    1 thought on “The Dark Defile: Britain's Catastrophic Invasion of Afghanistan, 1838-1842”

    1. "The consequences of crossing the Indus once to settle a government in Afghanistan will be a perennial march into that country."--The Duke of Wellington, 1838 "There is nothing more to be dreaded or guarded against in our endeavor to re-establish the Afghan monarchy than the overweening confidence with which Europeans are too often accustomed to regard the excellence of their own institutions and the anxiety that they display to introduce them in new and untried soils."--Claude Wade, January 183 [...]

    2. "It is evident that Afghanistan must be ours or Russia's." Those are the words of British Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston in October 1838 as Britain is contemplating an invasion of Afghanistan to place a puppet king on the throne of that country, thus dashing Russian hopes to dominate Central Asia (and protect all roads leading to British India). As the blurb on the inside jacket of Diana Preston's brilliant, fast-paced new book succintly states:"Some 170 years ago, Britain sent a powerful arm [...]

    3. This is a well researched, well written general history of the First Afghan War, fought by the British in Afghanistan from 1838 to 1842. The savagery of the fighting is quite overwhelming and the utter stupidity of the British as they occupied a country they knew nothing about, for reasons that were overtaken by events even before the invasion began, led by political and military incompetents of the highest (lowest?) order, is almost too tragic to believe. I tend to be cautious about drawing any [...]

    4. This is an excellent book on the British first invasion of Afghanistan. Having read several books on the period, I did not find a lot of new material, but what I did find was a very well researched and written overview of the period, and the events leading to the British disaster. The author does a very fine job of providing context for many of the stories that I had read elsewhere, creating a cohesive narrative in a single volume. Recommended for anyone with an interest in the NorthWest Frontie [...]

    5. I started this book and then set it aside for a bit, but now that I've gotten back to it, I did like it. There are of course many parallels to be drawn with modern military actions in Afghanistan. In the end though, this book simply relates a tragic story of British imperialism gone terribly wrong, and doesn't offer conclusions or analysis to modern times. It's interesting but I guess I wanted a little more insight into the challenges of this country and people.

    6. The Brits didn't learn anything from the American Revolution and the world didn't learn anything from the Brit's invasion of Afghanistan. Since the world has failed to study Afghanistan we are repeating the same mistakes and suffering the same outcomes.

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