Into the Land of Bones: Alexander the Great in Afghanistan

By Frank L. Holt | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
Introduction

I’ve only to pick up a newspaper and I seem to see ghosts
gliding between the lines.

Henrik Ibsen


THE CROSSHAIRS OF HISTORY

Afghanistan, the world’s inexhaustible wellspring of warlords and terrorists, cannot escape the crosshairs of history. In each of the last three centuries, superpowers have trained their sights on this tragic land, determined to impose upon it a new world order successively British, Soviet, and American.1 Such endeavors usually begin with confidence and end with catastrophe. First, with exuberant expectations, the British Empire gathered in 1838 a grand army to quell the unruly Afghans.2 The goal was simply to replace one ruler (Dost Muhammed) with another (the exiled Shah Shuja) more amenable to British interests. “There have been few military campaigns in British history,” writes Major General James Lunt, “which were more ineptly planned and

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Into the Land of Bones: Alexander the Great in Afghanistan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Joan Palevsky Imprint in Classical Literature ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xv
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Hunting the Enemy 23
  • Chapter Three - A Desperate Struggle 45
  • Chapter Four - The Hydra Heads of Bactria 66
  • Chapter Five - Love and War 85
  • Chapter Six - Dark Shadows 105
  • Chapter Seven - The Legacy 125
  • Chapter Eight - Conclusion 149
  • Appendix - Ancient Sources 165
  • Notes 173
  • Select Bibliography 213
  • Index 231
  • Hellenistic Culture and Society 243
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