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Beyond the Khyber Pass : the road to British disaster in the First Afghan War

Author: John H Waller
Publisher: New York : Random House, ©1990.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Summary:
Chronicles the wars of the 19th century in India and Afghanistan resulting in the siege of Kabul and the deaths of 16,000 British soldiers and their families.
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Genre/Form: History
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Waller, John H.
Beyond the Khyber Pass.
New York : Random House, ©1990
(OCoLC)644994142
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: John H Waller
ISBN: 0394569342 9780394569345 0394459342 9780394459349
OCLC Number: 20593803
Description: xxxiii, 329 pages, [14] pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: Part I: Cossacks, kings and companymen. Alexander Burnes, imperial outrider ; Ranjit Singh, Lion of the Punjab ; Shah Shuja, restless exile ; Mohan Lal, loyal company servant ; Dost Mohammed, Emir of Afghanistan ; Bokhara ; Fath Ali Shah, Persia's king of kings ; A hero and a fugitive : a study in contrast ; Contest for Peshawar ; Politicians and bureaucrats ; Alexander Burnes, humble petitioner ; Imperial jousting in Kabul ; Eldred Pottinger, hero of Herat --
Part II: All the Queen's horses and all the Queen's men. To war ; March to Kabul ; Staff and distaff ; Fraying around the edges ; Turmoil in the Punjab, danger beyond the Hindu Kush ; Gathering clouds --
Part III: Disaster and retribution. Uprising ; Desperation ; Disintegration ; Treachery ; Retreat ; An army dies ; Captivity ; Finale.
Responsibility: John H. Waller.

Abstract:

Chronicles the wars of the 19th century in India and Afghanistan resulting in the siege of Kabul and the deaths of 16,000 British soldiers and their families.

"Beyond the Khyber Pass is a sweeping saga, chronicling the brutal wars and international intrigues of the nineteenth century in India and Afghanistan--the "Great Game" that culminated in the siege of Kabul and the deaths of 16,000 British soldiers, their families and camp followers. The story of British-Russian rivalry in central Asia as the nineteenth century began has all the ingredients of a fascinating narrative history: high-stake international politics, war, murder, espionage, palace plots, debauchery and a truly memorable massacre. The "players" of the game would be the envy of any novelist. There was Alexander "Bokhara" Burnes, the martyr of Kabul; Eldred Pottinger, hero of Herat; James Lewis, alias Charles Masson, deserter from the Indian Army who pretended to be an American. There was a mysterious Russian agent in Kabul, Ivan Vitkevich; and Count Simonich, who goaded the Persians to attack the Afghans. There was Ranjit Singh, the wise and one-eyed "Lion of the Punjab," who forged a nation out of a collection of feudal and feuding Sikh tribes--and successfully harbored the coveted Koh-i-noor diamond until he died. There Was Dost Muhammad, who defied, fought and eventually outscored the British in Afghanistan; and Shah Shuja, who schemed to regain his throne from exile in the Punjab and finally became king of Kabul with the help of the British, only to be murdered. There were two American freebooters, Josiah Harlan and Alexander Gardner, who may have been players of their own game, but they figured more prominently in events than is realized or admitted by most historians. The bloody climax of Beyond the Khyber Pass occurs in Kabul after the British and their garrison were overwhelmed on the plains outside the city. Supposedly the thousands of British and their families and camp followers would be allowed to march out, but as they did so during a brutal, freezing winter, they were set upon and nearly all of them massacred. Only a few escaped to tell the tragic and chilling story."--Jacket.

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