Synopses & Reviews
Long heralded as a seminal work on the history of Afghanistan, this book traces the evolution of the modern Afghan state by studying the politics of reform and modernization that started in 1880 through World War II. In this reissue, Vartan Gregorian offers a new introduction that places the key themes of the book in the context of contemporary events, addressing questions of tribalism, nationalism, Islam, and modernization, as well as the legacies of the Cold War and the various exit strategies of occupying powers. The book remains as distinctive today as when it was first published. It is the only broad work on Afghan history that considers ethnicity as the defining influence over the course of the country's history, rather than religion. In light of today's ongoing struggle to develop a coherent national identity, the question of Afghan nationalism remains a particularly significant issue.
"Until Gregorian came, Afghanistan has in some ways been a country in search of a scholar. Such a scholar has now emerged in the person of Vartan Gregorian whose Armenian ancestry and education in first-class Middle Eastern and American institutions uniquely equip him for tackling the Afghan field."Middle East Journal
"In the past, all books about Afghanistan had to be measured alongside Elphinstone's 1815 classic. We now have another yardstick: Gregorian."American Political Science Review
"Vartan Gregorian has filled an enormous gap in our knowledge of the Middle East and has done it with exemplary diligence, intelligence, and verve. His book . . . divests . . . Afghan history of the aura of mystery that inevitably clings to the unfamiliar and exotic subjects." Iranian Studies
"In this study of the growth of modern government in Afghanistan, Vartan Gregorian has made a significant addition to the historical literature. It is not too much to say that the book marks the end of the beginning of serious scholarship in this field . . . The book is a tour de force in the mastering of virtually all that has been written on Afghan history."—Journal of Asian Studies
"An entertaining and reliable text. . . . [Gregorian] has written a definitive text on one period of Afghanistan's recent history."Library Journal
"Professor Gregorian has produced a major work of scholarship, which in one volume provides us with what may well be the definitive survey of the rise of modern Afghanistan . . . [F]or a work of its type, no finer scholarshipcombining a far-reaching and balanced perspective with detailed and careful scrutinycould have been asked for."Robert I. Crane, The American Historical Review
A reissue of SUP's seminal 1969 publication, including a new introduction that places the key themes of the book in the context of current events.
About the Author
Vartan Gregorian is the twelfth president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. Prior to this, he served as the president of Brown University and president of the New York Public Library. He is the author of The Road to Home: My Life and Times (2004) and Islam: A Mosaic, Not a Monolith (2004).