Synopses & Reviews
This harrowing account from the front lines of the Afghan civil war can stand comparison with such masterpieces as Michael Herr's Dispatches or George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia. Sometimes lyrical, sometimes harrowing, sometimes absurdly comic, NIGHT LETTERS gives an indelible human face to a conflict that few Americans have followed or understood. Rob Schultheis fell in love with Afghanistan in the 1970s, when it was a wild, unspoiled country that had barely changed in the past five hundred years. When this ancient land suddenly plunged into civil war between a Soviet-backed Communist government and implacable Muslim rebels, Schultheis found himself drawn to telling its heartbreaking story. Throughout the 1980s, he reported on the war from the front lines, risking his life time after time as he penetrated into the mountains of Afghanistan with the mujahedin insurgents. NIGHT LETTERS is an impressionistic first-person chronicle that conveys, with frightening immediacy, the nature of a war where men armed with bolt-action rifles squared off against tanks and helicopter gunships-weapons that could, and routinely did, reduce an ancient village to rubble in minutes. Yet the outgunned and outnumbered mujahedin never considered giving up the fight. Ultimately, they exhausted the Soviet occupiers. Not without reason was Afghanistan called "the Soviets' Vietnam."