Describes the nineteenth-century struggle between Britain and Russia for control of Central Asia
Describes the nineteenth-century struggle between Britain and Russia for control of Central Asia
Two authors' passion for India and the Great Game
From the romantic conflicts of the Victorian Great Game to the war-torn history of the region in recent decades, Tournament of Shadows traces the struggle for control of Central Asia and Tibet from the 1830s to the present. The original Great Game, the clandestine struggle between Russia and Britain for mastery of Central Asia, has long been regarded as one of the greatest geopolitical conflicts in history. Many believed that control of the vast Eurasian heartland was the key to world dominion. The original Great Game ended with the Russian Revolution, but the geopolitical struggles in Central Asia continue to the present day. In this updated edition, the authors reflect on Central Asia's history since the end of the Russo-Afghan war, and particularly in the wake of 9/11.
'Let us turn our faces towards Asia', exhorted Lenin when the long-awaited revolution in Europe failed to materialize. 'The East will help us conquer the West.' Peter Hopkirk's book tells for the first time the story of the Bolshevik attempt to set the East ablaze with the heady new gospel of Marxism. Lenin's dream was to liberate the whole of Asia, but his starting point was British India. A shadowy undeclared war followed. Among the players in this new Great Game were British spies, Communist revolutionaries, Muslim visionaries and Chinese warlords - as well as a White Russian baron who roasted his Bolshevik captives alive. Here is an extraordinary tale of intrigue and treachery, barbarism and civil war, whose violent repercussions continue to be felt in Central Asia today.
Fitztroy Maclean was one of the real-life inspirations for super-spy James Bond. After adventures in Soviet Russia before the war, Maclean fought with the SAS in North Africa in 1942. There he specialised in hair-raising commando raids behind enemy lines, including the daring and outrageous kidnapping of the German Consul in Axis-controlled Iraq. Maclean's extraordinary adventures in the Western Desert and later fighting alongside Tito's partisans in Yugoslavia are blistering reading and show what it took to be a British hero who broke the mould . . .
'The Great Game' was the struggle between Russia and Britain for imperial influence over southern and central Asia, immortalized by Rudyard Kipling in his novel Kim. For the British, the threat to India's frontiers compelled them to dispatch diplomats, or more clandestine agents, to survey, map and monitor the approaches to the Indian subcontinent. Anxieties about Russian ambitions in central Asia were magnified by the discovery of military plans and the arrival of 'shooting parties' and 'scientific explorers' on the mountains adjacent to India's northern border. The British faced major problems compounded by the unresolved status of Afghanistan, the interception of agents, and the division of opinion in British military and political circles about the real or imagined nature of the Russian threat to India. The situation was further complicated by the instability of the Indian border area, a region through which British and Indian troops would need to operate in wartime, but which was inhabited by bellicose tribesmen who fought the imposition of British rule every step of the way. Spying for Empire gives a fascinating insight into how the British intelligence network worked in the 1800s. It also examines how the intractability of Afghanistan plagued imperial defense planners, and how the threat of conflict with Russia colored Britain's dealings with the peoples of south-west Asia.
The Silk Road, which linked imperial Rome and distant China, was once the greatest thoroughfare on earth. Along it travelled precious cargoes of silk, gold, and ivory, as well as revolutionary new ideas. Its oasis towns blossomed into thriving centres of Buddhist art and learning. In time it began to decline. The traffic slowed, the merchants left, and finally its towns vanished beneath the desert sands to be forgotten for a thousand years. But legends grew up of lost cities filled with treasurees and guarded by demons. In the early years of the 20th century, foreign explorers began to investigate these legends, and very soon an international race began for the art treasures of the Silk Road. Huge wall paintings, sculptures, and priceless manuscripts were carried away, literally by the ton, and are today scattered through the museums of a dozen countries. Peter Hopkirk tells the story of the intrepid men who, at great personal risk, led these long-range archaeological raids, incurring the undying wrath of the Chinese.
Under the banner of a Holy War, masterminded in Berlin and unleashed from Constantinople, the Germans and the Turks set out in 1914 to foment violent revolutionary uprisings against the British in India and the Russians in Central Asia. It was a new and more sinister version of the old Great Game, with world domination as its ultimate aim. Here, told in epic detail and for the first time, is the true story behind John Buchan's classic wartime thriller Greenmantle, recounted through the adventures and misadventures of the secret agents and others who took part in it. It is an ominously topical tale today in view of the continuing turmoil in this volatile region where the Great Game has never really ceased.
A vast region stretching roughly from the Volga River to Manchuria and the northern Chinese borderlands, Central Asia has been called the "pivot of history," a land where nomadic invaders and Silk Road traders changed the destinies of states that ringed its borders, including pre-modern Europe, the Middle East, and China. In Central Asia in World History, Peter B. Golden provides an engaging account of this important region, ranging from prehistory to the present, focusing largely on the unique melting pot of cultures that this region has produced over millennia. Golden describes the traders who braved the heat and cold along caravan routes to link East Asia and Europe; the Mongol Empire of Chinggis Khan and his successors, the largest contiguous land empire in history; the invention of gunpowder, which allowed the great sedentary empires to overcome the horse-based nomads; the power struggles of Russia and China, and later Russia and Britain, for control of the area. Finally, he discusses the region today, a key area that neighbors such geopolitical hot spots as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China.
Under the banner of a Holy War, masterminded in Berlin and unleashed from Constantinople, the Germans and the Turks set out in 1914 to foment violent revolutionary uprisings against the British in India and the Russians in Central Asia. It was a new and more sinister version of the old Great Game, with world domination as its ultimate aim. German hawks dreamed of driving the British out of India and creating a vast new Teutonic empire in the East, using their Turkish ally as a springboard. At the same time Turkey's leaders aimed to free the Muslim peoples of Central Asia from the Tsarist yoke - and rule them themselves as part of a new Ottoman empire. The shadowy and often bloody struggle which followed was fought out between the intelligence services of King, Kaiser, Sultan and Tsar. It was to spill over into Persia, Afghanistan, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and be felt as far afield as the United States and China. It was around this colossal conspiracy that John Buchan wove his immortal spy story Greenmantle. Here, told in epic detail and for the first time, is the extraordinary story of the Turco-German jihad of the First World War, recounted through the adventures and misadventures of the secret agents and others who took part in it. Pieced together fromthe secret intelligence reports of the day and the long-forgotten memoirs of the participants, Peter Hopkirk's latest narrative is an enthralling sequel to his best-selling The Great Game, and his three earlier works set in Central Asia. It is also highly topical in view of recent events in this volatile region where the Great Game has never really ceased. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism and fears of a resurgent Russia and Germany add greatly to its significance.
The Silk Road conjures images of the exotic and the unknown. Most travellers simply pass along it. Brit Chris Alexander chose to live there. Ostensibly writing a guidebook, Alexander found life at the heart of the glittering madrassahs, mosques and minarets of the walled city of Khiva - a remote desert oasis in Uzbekistan - immensely alluring, and stayed. Immersing himself in the language and rich cultural traditions Alexander discovers a world torn between Marx and Mohammed - a place where veils and vodka, pork and polygamy freely mingle - against a backdrop of forgotten carpet designs, crumbling but magnificent Islamic architecture and scenes drawn straight from "The Arabian Nights". Accompanied by a large green parrot, a ginger cat and his adoptive Uzbek family, Alexander recounts his efforts to rediscover the lost art of traditional weaving and dyeing, and the process establishing a self-sufficient carpet workshop, employing local women and disabled people to train as apprentices. "A Carpet Ride to Khiva" sees Alexander being stripped naked at a former Soviet youth camp, crawling through silkworm droppings in an attempt to record their life-cycle, holed up in the British Museum discovering carpet designs dormant for half a millennia, tackling a carpet-thieving mayor, distinguishing natural dyes from sacks of opium in Northern Afghanistan, bluffing his way through an impromptu version of "My Heart Will Go On" for national Uzbek TV and seeking sanctuary as an anti-Western riot consumed the Kabul carpet bazaar. It is an unforgettable true travel story of a journey to the heart of the unknown and the unexpected friendship one man found there.
In this sweeping and richly illustrated history, S. Frederick Starr tells the fascinating but largely unknown story of Central Asia's medieval enlightenment through the eventful lives and astonishing accomplishments of its greatest minds--remarkable figures who built a bridge to the modern world. Because nearly all of these figures wrote in Arabic, they were long assumed to have been Arabs. In fact, they were from Central Asia--drawn from the Persianate and Turkic peoples of a region that today extends from Kazakhstan southward through Afghanistan, and from the easternmost province of Iran through Xinjiang, China. Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth's diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world's greatest poetry. One scholar, working in Afghanistan, even predicted the existence of North and South America--five centuries before Columbus. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas down to the scientific revolution, and had a similarly deep impact in India and much of Asia. Lost Enlightenment chronicles this forgotten age of achievement, seeks to explain its rise, and explores the competing theories about the cause of its eventual demise. Informed by the latest scholarship yet written in a lively and accessible style, this is a book that will surprise general readers and specialists alike. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.
Travels Into Bokhara. Being the account of a journey from India to Cabool, Tartary and Persia. Also, narrative of a voyage on the Indus, from the sea to Lahore. Volume I-II.
A comprehensive introduction to "one of the world's best kept secrets." Fringed by the two great rivers of Central Asia, the Oxus and the Jaxartes, Tajikistan can boast not only of breathtaking mountain scenery, but also of 3,000 years of history. The land where Alexander the Great fought desperately against the Scythian nomads, his most formidable adversaries, Tajikistan is an ancient cradle of Persian culture. Originally, it was the home of the Sogdians, the famous trading peoples of the Silk Road; eventually this country was at the heart of the 19th century 'Great Game', a place of contention for the adventurers and spies of Britain and Imperial Russia. Now recovering from the misfortunes of the 20th century--the travails of Soviet rule and several years of civil war--it is able to offer visitors not only its legacies of cultural and ethnic diversity, but also unparalleled opportunities for adventure. 100 color photos, 13 maps & diagrams.
Is the United States, in its fight against terror and pursuit of Osama Bin Laden, recklessly creating conditions in Central Asia to produce the next Bin Laden? Matthew Crosston studies this controversial argument in his political analysis of US foreign policy on Central Asia. He looks specifically at the 'no-man's land nexus' connecting Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and the heart of Central Asian Islamic radicalism - the Fergana Valley. This book breaks new ground by examining in unflinching detail the unwitting role US foreign policy plays in fomenting that 'hot zone' and extremism, producing a new generation of Islamic radicals. University courses that deal with US foreign policy, international security, terrorism and/or Eurasian politics will want to make this book required reading.