Into the Land of Bones: Alexander the Great in Afghanistan

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More filters. Sort order. A good read on a subject that to my knowledge is not covered that often. Speaking as someone who loves history but is not academically trained in the subject, I found it a bit dry in places, which is why I took more than a year to get through it!

The journey was worth the effort, however, which cannot be said about Alexander's invasion of Afghanistan Current policy makers should take a lesson from history and realize that this region is simply not co A good read on a subject that to my knowledge is not covered that often. Current policy makers should take a lesson from history and realize that this region is simply not conquerable. What was that quote about the definition of insanity? Something about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

Heavy sigh. I guess we are doomed to repeat our mistakes. My impression, and I dare say the author's, is that the people of this region will continue to scatter to the hills, and kick our and each other's collective butts when we start to get arrogant.

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Sad, tragic, but inevitable. Jan 18, Benjamin rated it liked it. I picked this book up in, of all places, Loreto, Baja California Sur, MX in the only store I've seen in Mexico totally devoted to books, and most of them were in English. Loreto is a small town on the shores of the Gulf of California that caters to tourists and has an American ex-pat community. Bones is a discourse on not only on Alexander's time in what was then known as Bactria, but also an extended essay on the difficulties of gaining information on this period.

In so doing, you learn a lot ab I picked this book up in, of all places, Loreto, Baja California Sur, MX in the only store I've seen in Mexico totally devoted to books, and most of them were in English. In so doing, you learn a lot about the roots of current Afghanistan problems: the closed tribal culture, a nationally counterproductive distrust of authority, the conflicts of tribal warfare, a sizable drug economy, and corruption in government.

One of the things I learned from this book is the important role numismatics played in relaying the history of this area. With Alexander's army came historians who wrote about Alexander and his campaigns. But the time before and after Alexander are largely bereft of illumination.

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If it were not for the durability of coinage, the existence of Afghanistan kingdoms may have never come to light. It is unfortunate that so many of the treasures that would have informed us about the events and personalities of that period have been plundered, mostly by the Afghans themselves. May 10, Daniel rated it really liked it Shelves: history. A short history of Alexander campaign into Bactria , modern day Afghanistan, as well as brief stint into the successor period as well.

This book does a good job of explaining the complexities of the campaigns and the difficulty of the local environment both natural and the human kind. It also manages to sneak in a good bit of coin history and its use in archeology as well in the final chapter which was surprisingly interesting even for someone like me who has little interest in the subject. My o A short history of Alexander campaign into Bactria , modern day Afghanistan, as well as brief stint into the successor period as well.

My only complaint with this other wise fine history is the author trying to compare "modern" campaigns to alexander's. I don't like having an author thrust his opinion on todays politics into there histories. The inferences to modern day campaigns our pretty obvious and doesn't require the author to point them out. I prefer to come to my own opinions on such things, but this is a minor gripe and the book is short enough that it never out stays its welcome.

Worth a read May 20, Christine rated it it was amazing.

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Extremely well researched and well written, "Into the Land of Bones" covers Alexander the Great's campaign in Bactria - modern day Afghanistan - as well as struggles during the Hellenistic period. The author also weaves in modern attempts of conquests, from British imperialists to USA's war on terror.

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Frank L Holt was able to examine ancient events through the modern prism without being anachronistic. A remarkable read, which also leaves profound sadness.

The Unconquerable Afghanistan

Why did Alexander the Great invade Afghanistan? He was leading a coalition of slightly-less-than-willing Greek states on a campaign of revenge against the King of Persia. Alexander's goal was nothing less than "regime change" 11 , with himself as the leader of the new regime. Under no circumstances could the alleged tyrant keep his throne. In what he called a new and dangerous world, Alexander warned his followers that these resourceful criminals would continue to exploit differences of religion, language, and culture to rouse attacks against innocent victims.

They must be confronted with overwhelming military force, and stopped; their leaders must answer -dead or alive- for their crimes. Not to act was to jeopardize the safety of Greece itself. Lots of bloodshed. As soon as he would pacify one tribe, another would revolt against him, and when he moved on to engage that one, the one he had just pacified would rebel. At the same time, 2 Alexander conscripted large numbers of the young men of the region and killed lots of others into his own army and took them with him when he moved on to invade India, attempted to remove the military force while holding hostages to ensure the locals' good behavior.

Finally, 3 Alexander married Roxanne, the daughter of a powerful Afghan "Bactrian" chieftan in what may have been an attempt to solidify the loyalty of at least part of the population of the region.

So what are the lessons from this? First, Americans should read this book particularly our policy makers, military minds, and lobbyists in conjunction with The Man Who Would Be King The First American in Afghanistan , which is at least a glimmer of hope that we might not be totally inept in the region. Second, assuming that we're not really willing to plant cities of millions of bellicose Americans throughout Afghanistan and deport millions of Afghans and scatter them across the US, all while marrying Obama to the daughter of a warlord druglord?

What should our new strategy be? I have no idea Export BibTeX. Into the land of bones : Alexander the Great in Afghanistan. Frank Lee. Alexander, the Great, B. Afghanistan -- History, Military. Related Titles. Series: Hellenistic culture and society ; 47;. Berkeley, Calif. ISBN : pbk. ISBN : MMS ID.

Into the Land of Bones

Get It. Virtual Browse. Explore Syndetics Unbound. Summary What George W. Bush called the "first war of the twenty-first century" actually began more than 2, years ago when Alexander the Great led his army into what is now a sprawling ruin in northern Afghanistan. Accounts of Alexander's invasion of ancient Bactria read eerily like news from our own day.

In this vivid, meticulously researched, and elegantly narrated book, Frank L. Holt follows Alexander's historical, archaeological, and numismatic legacy back and forth between ancient Bactria and modern Afghanistan. Recounting the plight of the most powerful leader of the time as he led the most sophisticated army of its day into the treacherous world of tribal warlords, Holt describes those grueling campaigns and the impact they had on Alexander, his generals, their troops, and the world. Into the Land of Bones also examines the conflict from the point of view of the local warlords who pushed the invading Greeks to the limits of their endurance--and sometimes beyond, into mania and mutiny.

The lively narrative situates the current war in Afghanistan in a broader historical perspective. Holt explains how the three modern superpowers that have invaded Afghanistan--Britain in the nineteenth century, the Soviets in the twentieth, and the United States in the twenty-first--are continuing the struggle that Alexander began centuries ago. That this legacy continues to play itself out today is a testament to the timeliness of Holt's fascinating and original account.

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