Publishers Weekly, 2008-04-14 Long overshadowed by the Iraq War, the ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan and Central Asia finally receives a searching retrospective as Rashid (Taliban) surveys the region to reveal a thicket of ominous threats and lost opportunities--in Pakistan, a rickety dictatorship colludes with militants, and Afghanistan's weak government is besieged by warlords, an exploding drug economy and a powerful Taliban insurgency. The author blames the unwillingness of American policymakers to shoulder the burden of nation building. According to Rashid, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and subsequently refused to commit the forces and money needed to rebuild it; instead the U.S. government made corrupt alliances with warlords to impose a superficial calm, while continuing to ignore the Pakistani government's support of the Taliban and the other Islamic extremists who have virtually taken over Pakistan's western provinces. With his unparalleled access to sources--"I constantly berated [Afghan President] Karzai for his failure to understand the usefulness of political parties"--Rashid is an authoritative guide to the region's politics and his is an insightful, at times explosive, indictment of the U.S. government's hand in the region's degeneration. (June) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-09-29 "Iraq may turn out to be a mere side show compared with what is at stake with Pakistan and Afghanistan," says Rashid in his critical, timely and expansive book (the introduction alone takes up almost an entire disc). Arthur Morey walks a thin line: his overall success conveying the information in this weighty tome without sounding like a monotone college professor is a credit to his talent. Morey's voice is calm, authoritative and confident. His diction is perfect and his mannered delivery never loses steam. Nevertheless, even with an important book such as this, it is difficult to convey this quantity of factual information in a way that doesn't eventually begin to drone on. Morey fights the good fight and comes out ahead, barely. A Viking hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 14). (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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