Author: Karl E. Meyer
Publisher: Basic Books
Release Date: 2009-03-17
From the romantic conflicts of the Victorian Great Game to the war-torn history of the region in recent decades, Tournament of Shadows traces the struggle for control of Central Asia and Tibet from the 1830s to the present. The original Great Game, the clandestine struggle between Russia and Britain for mastery of Central Asia, has long been regarded as one of the greatest geopolitical conflicts in history. Many believed that control of the vast Eurasian heartland was the key to world dominion. The original Great Game ended with the Russian Revolution, but the geopolitical struggles in Central Asia continue to the present day. In this updated edition, the authors reflect on Central Asia's history since the end of the Russo-Afghan war, and particularly in the wake of 9/11.
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 in Kipling's Kim. 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 book tells the story of the Great Game through the exploits of theyoung officers, both British and Russian, who risked their lives playing it. Disguised as holy men or native horsetraders, they mapped secret passes, gathered intelligence, and sought the allegiance of powerful khans. Some never returned.
Fitztroy Maclean was one of the real-life inspirations for super-spy James Bond. After adventures in Soviet Russia before the war, Maclean fought with the SAS in North Africa in 1942. There he specialised in hair-raising commando raids behind enemy lines, including the daring and outrageous kidnapping of the German Consul in Axis-controlled Iraq. Maclean's extraordinary adventures in the Western Desert and later fighting alongside Tito's partisans in Yugoslavia are blistering reading and show what it took to be a British hero who broke the mould . . .
Author: Peter Hopkirk
Publisher: John Murray
Release Date: 2012-02-16
'Let us turn our faces towards Asia', exhorted Lenin when the long-awaited revolution in Europe failed to materialize. 'The East will help us conquer the West.' Peter Hopkirk's book tells for the first time the story of the Bolshevik attempt to set the East ablaze with the heady new gospel of Marxism. Lenin's dream was to liberate the whole of Asia, but his starting point was British India. A shadowy undeclared war followed. Among the players in this new Great Game were British spies, Communist revolutionaries, Muslim visionaries and Chinese warlords - as well as a White Russian baron who roasted his Bolshevik captives alive. Here is an extraordinary tale of intrigue and treachery, barbarism and civil war, whose violent repercussions continue to be felt in Central Asia today.
Author: Jennifer Siegel
Release Date: 2002-09-06
By the early 1900s both Britain and Russia, suspicious of Imperial Germany, decided to stabilize their relations and replace their rivalry in Central Asia – the "Great Game" – with reapprochement. But as Jennifer Siegel here demonstrates, reality in the field told a different story. The momentum of imperial rivalry, spiced by oil and railway development, could not be arrested. By 1914 Britain and Russia were on the brink of war with each other to be saved only by the outbreak of World War I. This is a groundbreaking study based on hitherto unseen archives in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as original research in London.
Author: Paul Nazaroff
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
Release Date: 2002
Paul Nazaroff was the ringleader of a desperate plot to overthrow the Bolsheviks in Central Asia in 1918. Declared 'the most dangerous counter-revolutionary at large in the Tashkent region' thus began an extraordinary catalogue of adventures with hair-breadth 'scapes and survival against all odds. Forced to live the life of a hunted animal his escape led him right across Central Asia, over the Himalayas to the plains of Hindustan.
Author: Christopher Alexander
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
Release Date: 2010-07-01
The Silk Road conjures images of the exotic and the unknown. Most travellers simply pass along it. Brit Chris Alexander chose to live there. Ostensibly writing a guidebook, Alexander found life at the heart of the glittering madrassahs, mosques and minarets of the walled city of Khiva - a remote desert oasis in Uzbekistan - immensely alluring, and stayed. Immersing himself in the language and rich cultural traditions Alexander discovers a world torn between Marx and Mohammed - a place where veils and vodka, pork and polygamy freely mingle - against a backdrop of forgotten carpet designs, crumbling but magnificent Islamic architecture and scenes drawn straight from "The Arabian Nights". Accompanied by a large green parrot, a ginger cat and his adoptive Uzbek family, Alexander recounts his efforts to rediscover the lost art of traditional weaving and dyeing, and the process establishing a self-sufficient carpet workshop, employing local women and disabled people to train as apprentices. "A Carpet Ride to Khiva" sees Alexander being stripped naked at a former Soviet youth camp, crawling through silkworm droppings in an attempt to record their life-cycle, holed up in the British Museum discovering carpet designs dormant for half a millennia, tackling a carpet-thieving mayor, distinguishing natural dyes from sacks of opium in Northern Afghanistan, bluffing his way through an impromptu version of "My Heart Will Go On" for national Uzbek TV and seeking sanctuary as an anti-Western riot consumed the Kabul carpet bazaar. It is an unforgettable true travel story of a journey to the heart of the unknown and the unexpected friendship one man found there.
Author: Peter Hopkirk
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Release Date: 2001
Under the banner of a Holy War, masterminded in Berlin and unleashed from Constantinople, the Germans and the Turks set out in 1914 to foment violent revolutionary uprisings against the British in India and the Russians in Central Asia. It was a new and more sinister version of the old Great Game, with world domination as its ultimate aim. German hawks dreamed of driving the British out of India and creating a vast new Teutonic empire in the East, using their Turkish ally as a springboard. At the same time Turkey's leaders aimed to free the Muslim peoples of Central Asia from the Tsarist yoke - and rule them themselves as part of a new Ottoman empire. The shadowy and often bloody struggle which followed was fought out between the intelligence services of King, Kaiser, Sultan and Tsar. It was to spill over into Persia, Afghanistan, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and be felt as far afield as the United States and China. It was around this colossal conspiracy that John Buchan wove his immortal spy story Greenmantle. Here, told in epic detail and for the first time, is the extraordinary story of the Turco-German jihad of the First World War, recounted through the adventures and misadventures of the secret agents and others who took part in it. Pieced together fromthe secret intelligence reports of the day and the long-forgotten memoirs of the participants, Peter Hopkirk's latest narrative is an enthralling sequel to his best-selling The Great Game, and his three earlier works set in Central Asia. It is also highly topical in view of recent events in this volatile region where the Great Game has never really ceased. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism and fears of a resurgent Russia and Germany add greatly to its significance.
Author: Peter Hopkirk
Release Date: 2001
Genre: Discovery and exploration
Hidden behind the Himalayas and ruled over by a God-king, Tibet has always cast a powerful spell over travellers from the West. In this remarkable, and ultimately tragic narrative, Peter Hopkirk recounts the forcible opening up of this medieval land during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the extraordinary race between agents, soldiers, missionaries, mountaineers, explorers, and mystics from nine different countries to reach Lhasa, Tibet's sacred capital.His story concludes with the ultimate act of trespass - the Chinese invasion of 1950.
Author: Alexander Cooley
Release Date: 2012
Genre: Asia, Central
The struggle between Russia and Great Britain over Central Asia in the nineteenth century was the original "great game." But in the past quarter century, a new "great game" has emerged, pitting America against a newly aggressive Russia and a resource-hungry China, all struggling for influence over the same region, now one of the most volatile areas in the world: the long border region stretching from Iran through Pakistan to Kashmir. In Great Games, Local Rules, Alexander Cooley, one of America's most respected international relations scholars, explores the dynamics of the new competition for control of the region since 9/11. All three great powers have crafted strategies to increase their power in the area, which includes Afghanistan and the former Soviet republics of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. Each nation is pursuing important goals: basing rights for the US, access to natural resources for the Chinese, and increased political influence for the Russians. However, overlooked in all of the talk about this new great game is fact that the Central Asian governments have proven themselves critical agents in their own right, establishing local rules for external power involvement that serve to fend off foreign interest. As a result, despite a decade of intense interest from the United States, Russia, and China, Central Asia remains a collection of segmented states, and the external competition has merely reinforced the sovereign authority of the individual Central Asian governments. A careful and surprising analysis of how small states interact with great powers in a vital region, Great Games, Local Rules greatly advances our understanding of how global politics actually works in the contemporary era.
From a critically acclaimed author-a comprehensive history of the part of the world currently making headlines The former Soviet republics of Central Asia comprise a sprawling, politically pivotal, densely populated, and richly cultured area of the world that is nonetheless poorly represented in libraries and mainstream media. Since their political incorporation in Stalin's Soviet era, these countries have gone through a flash of political and economical evolution. But despite these rapid changes, the growth of oil wealth and U.S. jockeying, and the opening of the region to tourists and businessmen, the spirit of Central Asia has remained untouched at its core. In this comprehensive new treatment, renowned political writer and historian Dilip Hiro offers us a narrative that places the modern politics, peoples, and cultural background of this region firmly into the context of current international focus. Given the strategic location of Central Asia, its predominantly Muslim population, and its hydrocarbon and other valuable resources, it comes as no surprise that the five Central Asian republics are emerging in the twenty-first century as one of the most potentially influential-and coveted-patches of the globe.