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Retreat from Kabul: The Catastrophic British Defeat in Afghanistan, 1842by Patrick Macrory
Synopses & Reviews
Using research from contemporary letters, dispatches, and journals, author
Patrick Macrory provides a gripping account of what is known as the First Afghan War.
The war was Britain's folly: at the height of its power in India, Britain sought to create stability in the subcontinent—and prevent Russian and Persian encroachments—by removing a colorful and popular leader from the Afghan throne and replacing him with the unpopular, though legitimate, king.
The experiment ended with a British resident in Kabul butchered by an angry mob, a British envoy shot by an Afghan leader during a discussion—his dismembered corpse hung in the Kabul bazaar—and the ill-fated retreat of the British, which resulted in the death of 16,000 people.
Retreat From Kabul is the compelling and gruesome story of how the world's greatest military power learned a bloody and previously unimagined lesson by underestimating the Afghan' iron resistance to foreign invasion and intrigue. It is a tale of heroism in the face of unspeakable brutality, of diplomatic folly, of great sacrifice, and of terrible tragedy. It is an entrancing look at what happens when cultures collide.
Using letters and journals, McRory recreated a gripping account of the "First Afghan War," which ended when the British fled in defeat, at the cost of 16,000 lives, slaughtered by Afghans in one week. In 1842 Britain still controlled India, and sought to prevent the encroachment of Russians or Persians by installing a collaborating king on the Afghan throne. The British authorities were murdered, angry mobs rode through Kabul, forcing 16,000 British soldiers and ex-patriots to flee (including many women and children). Only one survived the ninety mile trek to a safe garrison. This is a devastating tale of how the world's greatest military power learned unimaginable lessons about the iron resistance of Afghanistan to foreign occupants. It has a faint echo of familiarity and timelessness, in a world that is once again familiar with the determination of Afghan autonomy. Unavailable for several years, this is now the only edition available of RETREAT FROM KABUL.
About the Author
Sir Patrick Macrory was educated in England at Cheltenham College and Trinity College, Oxford. Among his best-selling military histories is Lady Sale: The First Afghan War, which he edited. He was knighted for his chairmanship of the Commission on Local Government in Northern Ireland. He died in 1993.
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