Going beyond the stereotypes of Kalashnikov-wielding Afghan mujahideen and black-turbaned Taliban fundamentalists, Larry Goodson explains in this concise analysis of the Afghan war what has really been happening in Afghanistan in the last twenty years.Beginning with the reasons behind Afghanistan�s inability to forge a strong state -- its myriad cleavages along ethnic, religious, social, and geographical fault lines -- Goodson then examines the devastating course of the war itself. He charts its utter destruction of the country, from the deaths of more than 2 million Afghans and the dispersal of some six million others as refugees to the complete collapse of its economy, which today has been replaced by monoagriculture in opium poppies and heroin production. The Taliban, some of whose leaders Goodson interviewed as recently as 1997, have controlled roughly 80 percent of the country but themselves have shown increasing discord along ethnic and political lines.
Edward Teach Blackbeard-is one of the legends of the so-called golden age of piracy. There have been so many accounts of his short, bloody career that it is hard to see him and his times in a clear historical light. This new study looks for the man behind the legend, and it gives a vivid insight into the nature of piracy and the naval operations that were launched against it.The narrative focuses on the roles played by the Governor of Virginia Alexander Spotswood who masterminded the pursuit of Blackbeard, and Lieutenant Robert Maynard of HMS Pearl who led the pursuit and finally cornered Teach and his crew and, after a vicious fight, saw him killed.In vivid detail, it reveals how the hunt for Blackbeard was orchestrated, how he was tracked down, and the parts played in the drama by the larger-than-life leading characters in this extraordinary story. This freshly researched study of the pursuit of the notorious pirate and his crew—and of the final fight in which Blackbeard lost his life—makes compelling reading.
This satirical short novel displays a side of Cooper unfamiliar to many modern readers. It is told from the point of view of an actual handkerchief: its origins in a French flax field, how it was passed around New York City society in the 1830s, and its eventual return to its maker. In this story, Cooper makes a point of ridiculing Victorian materialism—which places value on consumption, not production.
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