Saturday, December 8, 2012

Afghanistan: Tamim Ansary’s “Games without Rules"

Next on my list of audiobook listenings is Tamim Ansary’s “Games without Rules: The Often-Interrupted History of Afghanistan”. I recently met several men and women from Afghanistan, and wonder about their history. Most of my knowledge of the region comes from Kipling, to be honest. It will be interesting to hear another side of the area’s history.

My interest in the ‘other side’ goes way back. My love of original sources brought me to Islamic chronicles of the Crusades (Arabic historians saw things differently, of course, and were often surprisingly fair in their assessments). I then started reading Turkish chronicles to get the Ottoman version of things. The Mongols, Japanese oral histories of World War II… All interesting, even enlightening.

I enjoyed very much Ansary’s “Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes”. Ansary’s writing is very clear and even-handed, straightforward and thought-provoking. I may even search out “The Widow's Husband”, his historical novel set in 19th century Afghanistan. Ansary tells a good story, and it would be interesting to read the story of the British occupation from the Afghan side.

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