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Afghanistan - A New History by Martin Ewans. Describes the country and its peoples, the perennial struggles between the monarchy and the tribes, and the emergence of the Taliban.
Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan by Ludwig W. Adamec. A concise reference work, with entries on major historical events, important places, leading personalities of the past and present, and significant aspects of Afghanistan's culture, religion, and economy.
The Greek Kingdom of Bactria: From Alexander to Eurcratides the Great by H. Sidky. Vividly reconstructs the history of Greek Bactria, a warlike kingdom that existed 22 centuries ago in what is now northern Afghanistan, from fragmentary sources.
Thundering Zeus: The Making of Hellenistic Bactria by Frank L. Holt. Explores the remarkable rise of a Greek-ruled kingdom in ancient Bactria (modern Afghanistan) during the third century B.C., setting its history into the larger context of Hellenistic studies.
Lost World of the Golden King: In Search of Ancient Afghanistan by Frank L. Holt. Covers two centuries of Bactria's history, from its colonization by remnants of Alexander the Great's army to the kingdom's collapse.
State and Tribe in Nineteenth-Century Afghanistan: The Reign of Amir Dost Muhammad Khan, 1826-1863 by Christine Noelle. Seeks to shift debate from Afghanistan as a bone of contention between Russia and Britain to the circumstances within the country during the early Muhammadzai era.
The Man Who Would Be King: The First American in Afghanistan by Ben Macintyre. The true story of Josiah Harlan, the first American ever to enter Afghanistan, who forged his own kingdom, only to be ejected from Afghanistan a few months later by the invading British.
Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42 by William Dalrymple. In 1839, the British invaded Afghanistan to reestablish Shah Shuja ul-Mulk on the throne. This First Anglo-Afghan War ended with the destruction of an entire British army.
The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk. About the 19th century competition between Great Britain and Russia for power in central Asia, including Afghanistan. The narrative moves at breakneck pace, yet even as as the author paints his colorful characters -- tribal chieftains, generals, spies, Queen Victoria herself -- he provides a clear overview. (Review © Amazon.com)
Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Empire in Central Asia by Karl Ernest Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac. Updates and significantly expands earlier studies of imperial rivalry in the region. (Review © Amazon.com)
The "Ancient Supremacy": Bukhara, Afghanistan and the Battle for Balkh, 1731-1901 by Jonathan L. Lee. A chronological account of the struggle between the Afghan Amirs of Kabul and the Manghit Dynasty of Bukhara for Balkh province. Structured around the history of Maimana's Mingid dynasty (Maimana or Meymaneh, an Afghan town, was capital of an Uzbek khanate).
The Lost Kingdom: Memoir of an Afghan Prince by Prince Ali Seraj of Afghanistan. The author, a nephew of King Amanullah I, tells the inside story of four decades of history, from the Cold War era to the Soviet takeover that forced him to escape from his homeland in disguise.
Afghan Diary: Zahir Shah to Taliban by Jyotindra Nath Dixit. India's former Foreign Secretary writes about his diplomatic assignment in Afghanistan from 1981 to 1985. The prologue discusses what forced former king Zahir Shah out.
A Historical Atlas of Afghanistan by Amy Romano. Maps and text chronicle the history of Afghanistan from the Aryan invasion in 1500 B.C. to the rise of the Taliban. For children ages 9 to 12.
Brave With Beauty: A Story of Afghanistan by Maxine Rose Schur, illustrated by Patricia Dewitt-Grush and Robin Dewitt. The story of Queen Goharshad, a powerful 15th century monarch, who was also a poet and architect. For children ages 7 to 9.