Peter Hopkirk Û 3 free eadDly peripatetically successful in all exploration and espionage sorties a BIG PLAYA in the Game when he wears out the welcome of the Emir of Bukhara or was it ueen Victoria who wore out his welcomeConolly and Stoddart whose plight had been all but forgotten in the wake of the Kabul catastrophe were he Fraktale und Finanzen reported both dead It had happened he said back in June when Britain seputation as a power to be feared in Central Asia was at Report on Radiation and the Quantum-Theory, 1914 (Classic Reprint) rock bottom Furious ateceiving no Clay-Pot Cookbook reply to his personal letter to ueen Victoria and no longer worried by any fear ofetribution the Emir of Bokhara had ordered the two Englishmen then enjoying a brief spell of freedom to be seized and thrown back in prison A few days later they had been taken from there with their hands bound and led into the great suare before the Ark or citadel where stood the Emir s palace What followed next the Persian swore he had learned from the Executioner s own lips First while a silent crowd looked on the two British officers were made to dig their own graves Then they were ordered to kneel down and prepare for death Colonel Stoddart after loudly denouncing the tyranny of the Emir was the first to be beheaded Next the executioner turned to Conolly and informed him that the Emir had offered to spare his life if he would enounce Christianity and embrace Islam Aware that Stoddart s forcible conversion had not saved him from imprisonment and death Conolly a devout Christian eplied Colonel Stoddart has been a Musselman for three years and you have killed him I will not become one and I am eady to die He then stretched out his neck for the executioner and a moment later his head olled in the dust with that of his friendThe battle over Central Asia was fought primarily through spies And this is what makes it even thrilling All of this conflict was conducted by artists and inventors and intellectuals and con men far below the adar of the diplomats and politicians The men in charge were explorers spy masters and spies who had an incredible wealth of means before them They were map makers again cf Lawrence surveyors costume artists cross dressers hucksters and linguists Sometimes magicians witches and jewel connoisseurs and libertinesAlso super elevant for our time with the silent struggle for oil in Central Asia Every now and again one comes across an article about Central Asia but the coverage is hardly in proportion to the intensity of business political criminal and petro economical activity in that Wordcraft: The Art of Turning Little Words into Big Business region There s a lot of unknown knowledge in this area and it s pretty fun toead about it before it s been totally containerizedHighly ecommended for people who are trying to figure out why and how the US is in Afghanistan the whyhow of the Soviet invasion in 1980 the upcoming Great Game in Ira Afghanistan Georgia Turkistan Uzbekistan First things first it is an engaging ead with just the correct amount of detail and narrative punchCovering a time period Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century right from the 16th Century when the Russians slowly started expanding eastwards and came in conflict first with the Central Asian Khanates then with the British Raj in the 19th Century the book finishes with the Great Game s own end in the beginning of the 20th Century when Japan beat the Russian Empire Hopkirk does a decent job of covering such a massive time span without getting too technical and boring hiseadersHowever what took me aback was the language and propaganda Used Throughout The Book throughout the book is suitable for something written in the heady days of Imperialism in the 1870s and 1880s Queenie and Tom a Feline Romance rather than a book published in 1990 Consider for example when Hopkirk talks about the meeting between the British spydiplomatemissary Alexander Burnes later Sir Alexander and the Emir of Afghanistan Dost Mohammad Dost Mohammad being an Afghan prince was schooled in the art of intrigue and treacheryight from childhood This is shockingly irresponsible all the so because we know it was Alexander Burnes who was intriguing for the Raj in AfghanistanThe book is extremely lopsided using loaded terms such as Asiatic despot and Oriental tyrant with depressing egularity and presenting all Asian ulers ight from the Shah of Persia to the leader of the Sikhs to the Khans Emirs and chiefs of various kingdoms as corrupt venal and easily seduced by money trinkets and women handed out to them by clever and esourceful Europeans While this was true of many of them to simply state this without exploring the kind of military political and even cultural and eligious pressure that the Europeans could bring to bear is very misleading Even the epetitive stating of the fact that many of
the Central Asian chiefs had misguided sense of their own importance and no idea about Britain RussiaCentral Asian chiefs had a sense of their own importance and no idea about Britain Russia their Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes relative strengths smacks ofidicule after a while which is bizarre coming from a historian specializing in these subjectsIt appears that Hopkirk has swallowed the propaganda of that age whole He even goes so far as to explain away naked Russian imperialism and acism in Central Asia as some kind of payback for what the Mongols did in Russia some four centuries earlier What next the Scramble for Africa was evenge for the trauma suffered by the Europeans thanks to Hannibal Similarly the well documented murder ape and pillaging carried out by the British in the first Anglo Afghan War is simply stated as boisterous womanizing Every Russian advance is met with a shudder and Hopkirk trembles with age when news of what would now be termed human ights abuses is carried out by the Russian army in Central Asia But no mention is made of what the British themselves were engaging in India And the conuering of the Punjab and the Sindh by the British in the 1840s mainly as massive new opium farmland is dealt with in a few short sentences While Hopkirk studiously mentions the various majors captains and lieutenants on both the British and Russian sides who heroically laid down their l Peter Hopkirk s book The Great Game The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia is a great historical account and a very enjoyable book to ead It is very are nowadays to find a book that holds your attention throughout without finding one boring section this is one of those books In over 560 pages paperback edition Peter Hopkirk tells the amazing stories of a number of early British and Russian officers and men involved in the great imperial struggle for supremacy in Central AsiaI found myself eading late into Ses and deserts of Central Asia Those engaged in this shadowy struggle called it The Great Game a phrase immortalized in Kipling's Kim. In 1236 Mongol horsemen swept westward through Russia tying serfs to the Tartar yoke The Golden Horde would exact tribute until Ivan the Terrible defeated the khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan in the mid 1500 s opening the way for expansion east through Siberia Peter the Great turned his gaze south through the Caucasus and Caspian towards Persia yet was thwarted by Nader Shah in 1735 In 1757 the British began major territorial gains in India The aspirations and apprehensions of these ival European empires became the Great Game played out in Central Asia during the 1800 sIn the late 18th century the British were concerned with Catherine the Great s expansion into Crimea but distracted by the ise of Napoleon The Russian defeat of the French in 1812 helped to end one concern but created another Threat of a Russian attack on India via Turkey and Tehran obsessed the British and a cold war Russophobia took hold Tsar Alexander I sent envoys to Khiva present day Uzbekistan to make allies and secure forward positions British probed passes of Afghanistan seeking similar advantage in Bukhara a neighboring kingdom on the Silk RoadA Russian treaty with the Ottoman Empire to control the Dardenelles Straight stoked paranoia in the 1830 s British intrigue in Kabul precipitated the disastrous Anglo Afghan War of the 1840 s The 1850 s Crimean War strained Russian elations with Britain The 1860 s US civil war aised Russian interests in Central Asian cotton and Tashkent was taken Soon Samarkand fell Spies like Frederick Burnaby ode to Khiva in the 1870 s Britain controlled the Suez Canal in the 1880 s while Russia layed ails in Central Asia Russians invaded Afghanistan in the 1890 s as did the British in early 1900 s TibetAuthor Peter Hopkirk culls from many period accounts He tells the stories of adventurers spies secret agents and provocateurs Geographical survey was a priority as much was unknown about the Not Handsome Enough region Henry Pottinger in Muslim disuise explored from Baluchistan to Isfahan in 1810 He later played a leadingole in the Opium War Treaty of Nanking and founding of Hong Kong Alexander Burnes who made an overland econnaissance in 1831 traced the Indus River crossed the Khyber Pass to Kabul and became famous during his lifetime for the book Travels Into Bukhara Hopkirk was a late 20th century British writer perhaps best known for this work He began as a journalist on isky assignments in Africa and the Mideast Widely traveled he was a collector of Victorian books on the subjects he covered All of his works were about Central and South Asia covering eclectic topics such as archaeology in Xinjiang Bolshevik subversion in India and Kipling s sources of inspiration for Kim The history is anglocentric but takes a Busy Park reasonable view towards other players The writing is unpretentious and clear if somewhat oversimplified and given to cliche at times Written in a style that is eminently appropriate for this story The Great Game is a good introductory book for understanding the struggle between Britain and Russia over Central Asia in the 19th C If you love Kim by Rudyard Kipling you will slobber over every page in this book And I have grown to LOVE Kim Took me a few decades but it s the shit Especially if youead it in a Comp Lit class analyzing the colonial discourse and the unforgivable cries of colonialism If that s you give Kim a chance Written by someone who grew up in Anglo India I think you ll find it extraordinarily insightful despite the presence of the ponderous and stylistically stilted British Empire But back to the style of the Great Game Peter Hopkirk is a very masterful writer for sure but for this story he manages to write the history in the totally anachronistic Beer Law: What Brewers Need to Know ripoarin style that you find in colonial adventure stories late Victorian colonial adventure Basically it s fun to ead in the way that Gunga Din is fun to watch Plus it incorporates classic spy novel
Style As WellThe History He S Tryingas wellThe history he s trying elate is in no way compromised by this writing style In fact by using this style he takes an important tack that makes the book The Confederate Privateers really sing By using that Victorian colonial adventure style he gets you in the heads of the Brits and Russinas who were in that dayeading all of this Big Bad Detective Agency rip andun super adventure stuff It s The Placer really hard to understand the mentality of British soldiers in the late 19th Century or even in WWI withoutecognizing that all of those guys grew up Otto Freundlich: Cosmic Communism reading colonial adventure stories which were very much like the Wild West novels of that day Think mid 40sWB cartoons if youe an American of a certain age They The Tattooist of Auschwitz (The Tattooist of Auschwitz, re so out of style now that it s hard for me to provide an example I keep thinking Karl May who was a German writer who wrote all kinds of thrilling Indian Jones type adventures set in locales that were exotic to a European the American Wild West India Africa Arabia cf Lawrence heead them too China and Central Asia Anyway I admire the ability of an author to pull the Profiles in Leadership: Historians on the Elusive Quality of Greatness reader back in to the minds of their protagonists and their contemporaries Plus this style makes the bookead like a cheap titillating novel This is one fast ead considering the breadth of the workA bit about the content of the book might be useful after all of my bombination on style The Great Game elates the history of the struggle between the British Empire and the Russian Empire over the strongholds of Central Asia Basically this was an imperialist struggle It wasn t a and the Russian Empire over the strongholds of Central Asia Basically this was an imperialist struggle It wasn t a for oil yet The Brits had a ton of colonies the jewel of which was the Raj As the Russians made attempts to grab parts of Central Asia the Brits freaked out over the safety of their sacred cow and engaged in a very entertaining deadly and technical spy game with the Russians to infiltrate and map these unknown a very entertaining deadly and technical spy game with the Russians to infiltrate and map these unknown and try to ingratiate themselves with the local leaders Hopkirk describes this struggle from its nascence in Alexander I s triumph over Napoleon to the decline of Russia after the Russo Japanese War While Russia was intent on expanding its empire into Central Asia Britain was trying very hard to keep India British so they were on full alert to any Russian incursions into Central Asia And they were keeping a third eye out for any kingdoms they could snatch up with promises of Victorian infrastructural progress You ll enjoy visualizing manifestations of Victorian progress the steam train the telegraph perhaps the Enfield Gun when you e eading of the fate of Arthur Conolly epeate. For nearly a century the two most powerful nations on earth Victorian Britain and Tsarist Russia fought a secret war in the lonely pas. .
He morning at times I couldn t put the book down Most of the time I had heard of the places and people involved but a lot of this story was new to me The narrative ead like a novel gripping but informative never boring and full of information breathing life into history in a way that is hard to find now a days This is a great book and I fully agree with the uote on the front cover of the book by Jan Morris Peter Hopkirk is truly the laureate of the Great Game If you ever wanted to learn something about this large and Der Bilderwächter remote area then this is the book to start with If you enjoy military history then this book has it if you enjoy historical accounts of exploration then this book has it if you just enjoy good history then this book has it allThe story of Britain and Russia carving out their Empires in India Afghanistan and the surrounding areas is truly fascinating and I was amazed at the brave andesourceful men who carved their name in history during this period Most people have heard of the Khyber Pass and places like Chitral however I had never heard of the Pamirs and Karakorams mountain anges or of the Kerman and Helmund deserts nor of some of the fierce and warlike tribes that lived in these areas After eading this book I yearn for information about this egion and I intend to buy the est of Peter Hopkirk s books I would Schätze Aus Dem Musée Picasso, Paris rate this book one of the better ones I haveead covering this subject period An excellent book charting the Letters to Rollins rivalry between the British and the Russians in Central Asia from Peter the Great until Russia s disastrous defeat by Japan in 1905 The epic tale is told through the adventures of the various soldiers explorers and thrill seekers who deployed to this vast unknown and hazardousegion on behalf of their Britain, Europe And The Third World respective governments Slowly theegion was absorbed by the imperial powers with many a disastrous mishap on Peter Hopkirk s excellent book The Great Game The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia Scotland Yard represents an extended tale It s a fabulous eastern action adventure full of the brave andesourceful British explorers and fighters confronting treacherous oriental despots as they maneuver to protect the jewel in the crown from another colonial power Hopkirk covers a vast swathe of history and territory from Russia s eastward expansion to Alaska to the Russo Japanese War He does warn you early on that his goal is to be impartial but you can t tell a bit as you ead A compelling narrative with fantastic material I don t know why easterns aren t popular This is a complete enough narrative history of the struggle between Russia and Britain for control of Central Asia So if you want the bare exciting outlines ead here but don t expect analysis or deep thought on the issue What we have here is a particularly Tory version of imperial history all the British spies and agents are brave ingenious inventive and decent all the Russians are mysterious brutal callous but always one step ahead of the good guys the Asians are as always in these things inscrutable savage unreliable and in need of civilization Every Russian advance was met with trepidation in Delhi and London and Hopkirk too trembles with Unverified: A Novel rage every time the damned Russians conuer another piece of Asia thatightfully belongs to Britain I was once accused by a professor of writing too much in the style and attitude of my subjects eighteenth century British administrators occasionally using and eflecting favourably their bigoted and elitist views without being aware of it Hopkirk too does this but I doubt it was done innocently A feature of Tory historiography of this sort is that the victories and defeats of empires a century and a half ago are keenly felt that this book was written during the Cold
War is painfully obvious from its attitude towards Russia and Russians Though Hopkirkis painfully obvious from its attitude towards Russia and Russians Though Hopkirk bemoans the Russian advance he doesn t have much to say about Britian s imperial expansion in India the conuest of the Punjab merits a few sentences and the occupation of Afghanistan twice is all heroic matyrdom and armchair generalship with a century of hindsight A uick ead but truly disappointing This is narrative history that can keep one enthralled from the first to the last page Cliches such as page turner apply No doubt the game itself can be discussed further new books published etc etc but who cares Hopkirk has written a book that had me looking at the maps UFO Crash at Roswell: The Genesis of a Modern Myth researching the characters marking the bibliography for further literature toead What can want A wonderful book I liked this a lot although I think the Peig: The Autobiography of Peig Sayers of the Great Blasket Island relevance to today has been overplayed a bit by some othereviewers it s better enjoyed as a stirring history than a political primerI knew a little about the Great Game before that 19th century wrangling over Central Asia between Britain and Russia but I hadn t appreciated before how motivated both sides were in Britain s case because they feared encroachment on their jewel of the Empire British India and in Russia s case because they were hell bent on expanding their influence as far as possible But the Löwen wecken real joy here is in the Boy s Own adventuring of some of the principal players ambitious explorer spies who headed off the map and into a world of mountain fortresses Himalayan snowstorms Russian ambushes gruelling sieges and daring gunfights At stake was a barely known network of independent city states whoseulers were befriended betrayed and played off one another by the two major powers in an attempt to win influence and ascendancy in the areaIt would take a hard hearted eader not to feel some pangs of awe and excitement at some of the derring do here however much you are made aware of the cynical political game playing behind it all Hopkirk tells his story engagingly if occasionally dropping into some speculative scene setting As he donned a long uilted coat and black lambskin hat the two men with him watched in silence how do you know There are narrative problems it covers a long period and the book is watched in silence how do you know There are narrative problems it covers a long period and the book is somewhat episodic with ather little of the political background filled in but on the whole the episodes are so extraordinary that it s hard to mind too muchI d be interested to see a update of some of this when it came out the Soviet Union was still in place and it would be good to know which previously hidden ecords on the Russian side have now become available Until then it s a great primer on a fascinating period of imperial histor. When play first began the two ival empires lay nearly 2000 miles apart By the end some Russian outposts were within 20 miles of Indi. ,