In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Recent Publications
  • Laurentina Cizza, Maris Kramer, Nate Jacobs, Dan Wilkofsky, and Elise Zevitz


Games without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan, by Tamim Ansary. Philadelphia, PA: Public Affairs, 2012. 416 pages. $27.99. In Games Without Rules, Ansary tells the history of Afghanistan from an Afghan point of view. He sheds light on over two centuries of Afghan history, giving an account of the historical struggles undertaken by a fractious people across a landscape of rugged steppes and unforgiving deserts. He refutes the “graveyard of empires” paradigm, invoking the ancient Aryan, Moghul, Greek, and Arab invasions that shaped the indomitable Afghanistan of today. Ansary argues that the fatal error of the equally unsuccessful modern invaders lies in their inability to recognize the internal struggles of those with whom they intervened. In Games without Rules, Ansary draws on his Afghan roots to provide a historical narrative which perceives the British, Soviet, and American interventions as interruptions of the nation-building of a country that began to form around the same time as the United States, in a radically different way. (LC)
The Buddhas of Bamiyan, by Llewelyn Morgan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012. 256 pages. $19.95. In the Bamiyan Valley of central Afghanistan, a small, but industrious late 16th/early 17th century community of Buddhist monks carved twin monuments into a mountainside — two soaring figures of the spiritual leader Buddha — that would stand silent guard over the Silk Road for 1,400 years. But their long-standing presence in the Bamiyan Valley came to an abrupt end in March 2001, when Taliban forces, under Mullah Mohammed Omar, razed the monuments to the ground with dynamite. Author Llewelyn Morgan uses the monuments’ tragic and controversial demolition as a stepping-off point to a sweeping historical tour de force, tracing the legacy of the Buddhas from the time of their construction through Arab conquest, Mongol invasion, European imperialism, and the modern era. Firsthand accounts and descriptions drive Morgan’s work, such as that of 10th century Arab historian Al Nadim, who asserted that visitors who lacked the proper attention and comportment when approaching the monuments felt compelled to backtrack and retrace their approach with greater awe (p. 31). The Buddhas of Bamiyan is as much a barometer of current political and socio-economic challenges facing the region, as it is a narrative of historical and cultural value. (EZ)
City of Soldiers: A Year of Life, Death and Survival in Afghanistan, by Kate Fearon. Northhampton, MA: Interlink Books, 2012. 318 pages. $17.95. This memoir recounts the author’s experience as the Governor Advisor to the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010. Fearon recounts the stories and lives of the people living in Lashkar Gah, Persian for “city of soldiers.” In the words of the author, this memoir does not revolve around the political and military aspects of life in Afghanistan; rather, it aims to answer the question of “what it’s really like over there.” (LC)
Afghanistan: A Cultural History, by St. John Simpson. Northampton, MA: Interlink Books, 2012. 160 pages. $19.95. A wealth of [precious metals and other] natural resources and an extensive trade network spanning across the known world transformed Afghanistan, not only into one of the ancient world’s earliest crossroads, but into a pre-eminent civilization in its own right. Excavations revealed a culture of elaborate religious ritual and expert craftsmanship, vestiges of which its inhabitants took to the grave in the form of lapis lazuli beadwork, bronze weapons, jewelry and other metallurgy, and even stone pottery disguised to imitate its more expensive metal counterparts (p. 25). In this volume, St. John Simpson, assistant curator of the ancient Iran and Arabia exhibits at the British Museum, takes [End Page 154] readers on a tour of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage, from 2500 BCE up to the present day. Complete with color photographs, a full timeline, and additional reading recommendations, the book serves as a resource for students, non-specialists, and those who want to expand their knowledge of Afghanistan beyond the nightly news. (EZ)

Arab-Israeli Conflict

Language and Identity in the Israel-Palestine Conflict, by...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 154-164
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.