Rodric Braithwaite, Afgantsy, The Russians in Afghanistan, 1979–89, Profile Books, March 2011, Hardback, 448 pp.
In a timely and eye-opening book Rodric Braithwaite examines the Russian experience in that most recent war in Afghanistan (after Alexander’s conquests and the many British imperial wars and skirmishes). Largely basing his account on Russian sources and interviews he shows the war through the eyes of the Russians themselves – politicians, officers, soldiers, advisers, journalist, women.
As former ambassador to Moscow, Rodric Braithwaite brings unique insights to the Soviet war in Afghanistan. The story has been distorted not only by Cold War propaganda but also by the myths of the nineteenth century Great Game. It moves from the high politics of the Kremlin to the lonely Russian conscripts in isolated mountain outposts. The parallels with Afghanistan today speak for themselves.
‘A superb achievement of narrative history, sensitive writing and exciting fresh research’: so wrote Simon Sebag Montefiore about Rodric Braithwaite’s bestseller Moscow 1941. But those words, and many others of praise that were given it, could equally apply to his new book.