In the Graveyard of Empires

Jones, Seth G. In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan. Read by William Hughes. New York: Blackstone Audio, 2010

Jones starts In the Graveyard of Empires going back to Alexander the Great’s march into Afghanistan. This is to put Afghanistan’s tumultuous history into perspective. Readers shouldn’t be worried a historical quagmire because Jones moves through the early bloodshed pretty quickly. Around the time of the Soviet invasion he slows the tempo down and goes into more detail. One of the things I appreciated about Jones’s writing is that he manages to stay pretty objective, hardly inserting himself into the analysis, despite his personal ties to the region. He stays true to the subtitle, “America’s War in Afghanistan” of which he had no military part. He served as advisor to the commanding general of the U.S. Special Ops Forces. His work is heavily supplemented by countless interviews and extensive research. You can read more of his profile on the RAND corporation website.
For me, the hardest section to read was not about the attacks on September 11th, 2001, but rather when international aide workers came under attack in 2003 and 2004. Five Medecins Sans Frontieres workers were kidnapped and executed. These are a group of people who dare to deliver aid where few others are willing to go.

Reason read: travel sites list July as the best time to go to Afghanistan. No offense, but is there really a good time to go to Afghanistan in this day and age?

Author fact: As mentioned earlier, Jones has a profile on the RAND site and is listed as the director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center.

Book Audio trivia: this is the first audio book I have listened to where the narrator doesn’t have some kind of accent.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empires (nonfiction)” (p 5). Sound familiar?

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