UK Praise for William Dalrymple's "Return of a King"
"A masterful history . . . And as the latest occupying force in Afghanistan negotiates its exit, this chronicle seems all too relevant now. . . . The signal achievement of this work is that it makes a nearly two-century-old war seem disturbingly fresh. It makes for grim reading. Like the current adventure in Afghanistan, this first one was undone by the unsustainable cost of occupation, waning political and public interest, and the need to divert resources. . . . Mr. Dalrymple's book is a timely reminder of the way that wars can begin with promise but end in disgrace."
"[The Afghan] saga has been recounted many times, but never that I can recall as well as by Dalrymple. He is a master storyteller, whose special gift lies in the use of indigenous sources, so often neglected by imperial chroniclers. . . . Almost every page of Dalrymple's splendid narrative echoes with latter-day reverberations."
--Max Hastings, "The Times "(London)
"["Return of a King"] shows all the elements we have come to expect from Dalrymple: the clear, fluid prose, the ability to give complex historical events shape, story and meaning, the use of new local sources to allow the voices of the people . . . to be heard alongside the much-better documented accounts of the invaders, the deep knowledge and affection for the magnificently rich culture of the Mughals and their various copiers and a lack of patience with tiresome orientalist visions of the 'proud Pashtun' or 'noble Afghan.' This is clear-eyed, non-judgmental, sober history, beautifully told."
--Jason Burke, "The Observer"
"Dalrymple, in his sparkling new history of the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-42), draws striking parallels between that 19th century conflict and NATO's current Afghan imbroglio. . . . More is the pity that Dalrymple's book--the first serious study of the war for almost 50 years, and the only history in Englishshow more