The Great Game (Anglais) Broché – 27 mars 2006
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Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
'There can be few more fascinating subjects, or few authors better qualified to write about it' (Fitzroy Maclean, Independent)
'Immensely readable and magisterially detached. A gripping and impressive narrative of adventure and war' (Financial Times)
'Hopkirk's brilliant and engrossing account remains the classic text on how to handle the various and often dangerous people who inhabit the region, fill of tips and warnings for the Game's current players.' (BBC History Magazine)
'Fans of political history and adventure are in for a treat as publishing house John Murray reissues its Peter Hopkirk series' (Siân Gibson, Geographical Magazine)
Présentation de l'éditeur
For nearly a century the two most powerful nations on earth, Victorian Britain and Tsarist Russia, fought a secret war in the lonely passes and deserts of Central Asia. Those engaged in this shadowy struggle called it 'The Great Game', a phrase immortalized by Kipling. When play first began the two rival empires lay nearly 2,000 miles apart. By the end, some Russian outposts were within 20 miles of India.
This classic book tells the story of the Great Game through the exploits of the young officers, both British and Russian, who risked their lives playing it. Disguised as holy men or native horse-traders, they mapped secret passes, gathered intelligence and sought the allegiance of powerful khans. Some never returned. The violent repercussions of the Great Game are still convulsing Central Asia today.
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Détails sur le produit
Commentaires en ligne
Meilleurs commentaires des clients
Spies walking round wilderness areas, risking their own life to gather intelligence, battles descirption are really interesting. Once inside, it was difficult to stop reading it ;-)
A coupe of maps with historical key cities are enclosed. Mays be some more showing precisely spies and troops movment would be welcomed.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Other reviewers have pointed out that it's also not an entirely unbiased telling, with a certain amount of positive flourish added to the British viewpoints rather than the Russian ones. I found the first half of the book to be fairly neutral, but it definitely drifted in tone by the end. The bias wasn't fatal but slightly distracting. Some allowances should probably be given due to the time period in which it was written, when access to Russian (or Soviet) historical source material might have been limited.
The portions of the history centered around Afghanistan's role in the Great Game were, I think, particularly interesting and valuable as they provide historical context to both Soviet and current era conflicts there that modern readers may find useful.
Overall, a book I would recommend to the interested but not one I would gush over...
Postscript: Something I should add (after reading reviews of "Tournament of Shadows", a similar history): The book would have been well served to make better use of maps; there are a couple of stylized "Tolkien-esque" maps included (which are virtually worthless in the Kindle edition), but especially for this topic (where many locations will only be familiar to experts, and where the evolution of boundaries over time was a critical factor), a full inclusion of maps into the narrative would have made a big difference.
Final nit, this was the first e-book I read in Kindle rather than iBooks format. Perhaps because of its age, there are a nontrivial number of OCR scanning errors which were not edited or corrected. Sloppy. Not enough to get in the way of understanding the content, but enough to be very irritating while reading.
The book is told from the British side in a relatively neutral tone, although the Russians tended to be duplicitous, denying everything like any good schoolboy does while being, in fact, guilty as charged; but there is also an instance of chivalry when Colonel Yanov, in true bourgeois style, is all apologies for deporting Younghusband from (alleged) Russian territory. To be fair to the Russians, the various rulers of the central Asian states were probably even more devious and untrustworthy.
It doesn't matter whether the story is told from the British or Russian side because it remains a fascinating tale of derring-do under frequently difficult circumstances. The British Empire seemed to have no end of highly talented officers who were quite happy to head off on missions from which there was a good chance they would not return.
Although the body of the book remains unchanged from its original year of publication (1990), there is a new foreword from 2006, which looks back to the failed Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and the Anglo-American assault on the country in 2001. The Great Game, it seems, isn't over.
This said, it is surely one of the best books I've ever read -- and I'm not British. The narrative is very, very addictive. Spionage missions, sieges, full-scale invasions, fierce protection of strongholds and forts, crossing of snow-covered mountains or endless deserts... all the ingredients of a good historic fiction book, written in such hair-raising, simple style, that one has to make an effort to remember that all this is not a fiction! (Some viewers have found the opposite, but I simply cannot understand why.)
As for the maps, the small number of them contained in the book is enough. "Enough" does not mean that half a dozed other maps, with a detailed terrain around key regions, would not be welcome (the region of Chitral, for example). They would, but one can easily follow the main events without them.
If you want a book without these biases and with an account from central asian Muslim nations perspective, I would not recommend this one. Myself, I will certainly read other books on this subject to fill in this gap. But if you want a book on the Great Game with such a vivid narrative that you cannot help sometimes being on the verge of a heart attack, go ahead and read it.