“Fascinating….A highly readable history of the conflict.” —New York Times Book Review
In The Great Gamble, a groundbreaking account of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, former NPR Moscow correspondent Gregory Feifer vividly depicts the war that contributed greatly to the demise of the USSR, and that offers striking lessons for the 21st century, as well. Told from the perspective of the Russians who fought it, The Great Gamble offers valuable insight into the history of Afghanistan’s troubled government and the rise of the Mujahideen and Al-Qaeda. In the words of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Feifer has done truly extraordinary research… For all its heft, [The Great Gamble] is an effortless read—an unusual and gratifying combination.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The below is a review of the audiobook, not the hardcopy.
This is an overview of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as told by a Russian journalist, Gregory Fiefer. Mr. Fiefer's tale encompasses both low level activities such as actual experiences of combat troops as well as high level decisions made by senior decision makers. Examples of high level decisions include Brezhnev's decision (along with the Politburo of the time). Fiefer points out how many high level military officials, along with complacent officials in the field, conspired to present the Politburo (and especially Brezhnev) with a very rosy view regarding the benefits of an invasion (thus prompting a decision to invade) along with biased reports of the early stages of the war showing how "well" it was going. This pretty much locked the Soviet Union into pursuing the war for many years.
In this reviewer's opinion, however, many of the high level decisions regarding the war seem to be based more on...
I enjoyed reading the Soviet view of the war. The trials and errors, the brotherhood, and in some cases the lack of it. An interesting part was the goings on in the Soviet Union at the time. It sheds some light on things. Mostly easy to read, but it did lose me due to the depth of the detail of the Afgans. I found it difficult to keep track of the names, but that was just me, as I did not have a lot of interest in that. Another reader would likely get a lot out of it. If you like recent military history, this will do well.
In "The Great Gamble: The Soviet War in Afghanistan", former NPR Moscow correspondent Gregory Feifer covers the 1979-1989 Soviet-Afghan war, primarily from the Soviet side, although with some input from the Afghan side. In short, it shows how the Soviets got involved in a war it probably had no business being in, and how they discovered it was much easier getting into Afghanistan than it was to get out.
Feifer begins with a brief description and overview of Afghanistan, and how, over its long history, no country has ever conquered it. He then pieces together, as best he can, how the Soviet Union made the decision to invade Afghanistan (the principals did not leave any written record on how the decision was arrived at). Feifer then discusses the invasion and execution of the Afghan Prime Minister in detail. The ensuing fighting between the Soviets (and their Afghan allies) on the one side, and the various tribes and factions that made up the Mujahdeen on the other, take...
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