We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42 | [William Dalrymple]

Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42

From William Dalrymple - award-winning historian, journalist and travel writer - a masterly retelling of what was perhaps the West’s greatest imperial disaster in the East, and an important parable of neocolonial ambition, folly and hubris that has striking relevance to our own time.
Regular Price:$29.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

From William Dalrymple - award-winning historian, journalist and travel writer - a masterly retelling of what was perhaps the West’s greatest imperial disaster in the East, and an important parable of neocolonial ambition, folly and hubris that has striking relevance to our own time.

With access to newly discovered primary sources from archives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and India - including a series of previously untranslated Afghan epic poems and biographies - the author gives us the most immediate and comprehensive account yet of the spectacular first battle for Afghanistan: The British invasion of the remote kingdom in 1839. Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed helmets, and facing little resistance, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the mountain passes from India into Afghanistan in order to reestablish Shah Shuja ul-Mulk on the throne, and as their puppet. But after little more than two years, the Afghans rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country exploded into rebellion. This First Anglo-Afghan War ended with an entire army of what was then the most powerful military nation in the world ambushed and destroyed in snowbound mountain passes by simply equipped Afghan tribesmen. Only one British man made it through.

But Dalrymple takes us beyond the bare outline of this infamous battle, and with penetrating, balanced insight illuminates the uncanny similarities between the West’s first disastrous entanglement with Afghanistan and the situation today. He delineates the straightforward facts: Shah Shuja and President Hamid Karzai share the same tribal heritage; the Shah’s principal opponents were the Ghilzai tribe, who today make up the bulk of the Taliban’s foot soldiers; the same cities garrisoned by the British are today garrisoned by foreign troops, attacked from the same rings of hills and high passes from which the British faced attack. Dalryrmple also makes clear the byzantine complexity of Afghanistan’s age-old tribal rivalries, the stranglehold they have on the politics of the nation and the ways in which they ensnared both the British in the nineteenth century and NATO forces in the twenty-first. Informed by the author’s decades-long firsthand knowledge of Afghanistan, and superbly shaped by his hallmark gifts as a narrative historian and his singular eye for the evocation of place and culture, The Return of a King is both the definitive analysis of the First Anglo-Afghan War and a work of stunning topicality.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2013 William Dalrymple (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What the Critics Say

"An absorbing and beautifully written account of a doomed effort to control an apparently uncontrollably population." (Booklist)

"The author’s deep research provides a whole new take on almost every aspect of the story. Mr. Dalrymple is a skilled storyteller and fills important gaps, mining new sources.... Mr. Dalrymple’s writing is sly, charming and clever. His histories read like novels. [His] book delights and shocks." (The Wall Street Journal)

"The seductive artistry of Dalrymple’s narrative gift draws the reader into events that are sometimes almost unbearable, but his account is so perceptive and so warmly humane that one is never tempted to break away.... This book would be compulsive reading even if it were not a uniquely valuable history." (The Guardian)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (24 )
5 star
 (13)
4 star
 (10)
3 star
 (1)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Overall
4.6 (22 )
5 star
 (15)
4 star
 (5)
3 star
 (2)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.2 (22 )
5 star
 (7)
4 star
 (13)
3 star
 (2)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    richard 03-01-15
    richard 03-01-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    "Well written and informative read. "

    Well written and informative, should be mandatory reading for anyone deployed to Afghanistan.

    If only it had been written prior to NATO's current campaign, they might have thought twice about getting involved in what would be interpreted as a holy war by the locals.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-1 of 1 results
Sort by:
  • The Doctor
    8/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Feeble story, poorly read."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Better reading.


    What was most disappointing about William Dalrymple’s story?

    Feeble story, nothing compared to the other of his books.
    Disjointed sequences.
    Badly narrated with American nasal twang, telling a story of the Raj.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Neil Shah’s performances?

    No


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Return of a King?

    I could not bear to go through the audio-book in entirety, Sorry Mr Dalrymple.


    Any additional comments?

    None

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-1 of 1 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.