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Publisher's Summary

The Great Game between Victorian Britain and Tsarist Russia was fought across desolate terrain from the Caucasus to China, over the lonely passes of the Parmirs and Karakorams, in the blazing Kerman and Helmund deserts, and through the caravan towns of the old Silk Road - both powers scrambling to control access to the riches of India and the East. When play first began, the frontiers of Russia and British India lay 2000 miles apart; by the end, this distance had shrunk to 20 miles at some points. Now, in the vacuum left by the disintegration of the Soviet Union, there is once again talk of Russian soldiers "dipping their toes in the Indian Ocean."

The Washington Post has said that "every story Peter Hopkirk touches is totally engrossing." In this gripping narrative he recounts a breathtaking tale of espionage and treachery through the actual experiences of its colorful characters. Based on meticulous scholarship and on-the-spot research, this is the history at the core of today's geopolitics.

©2006 The Estate of Peter Hopkirk (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

" The Great Game, as the Anglo-Russian struggle in Central Asia was called, unfolds in Hopkirk's intricate narrative as an incredible tale of high adventure and political intrigue, conveyed here through the exploits of Cossacks, Muslim guerrillas, courageous travelers, spies, mapmakers and soldiers." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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By FAR the best book on this topic on Audbile

Would you listen to The Great Game again? Why?

yes, I plan to. very good narration and not only that very well written. I have listened to or tried to listen to other books on this topic, "Games without rules" mainly...and it is just not as well written and narration is nowhere as good as this one.

Any additional comments?

try this one first and foremost If interested in British attempts on domination of Afghanistan

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Kay
  • Los Angeles
  • 09-14-17

Epic History

Truly astonishing examples of human courage and cruelty. Peter Hopkirk's writing brings the past vividly to life. The narration is top notch too.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A bit biased against Russia.

Great brain was the more of a bully in the great game. Nevertheless this book was very well written researched and narrated.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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great history of the british and Russian conflict

great history of the british and Russian conflict throughout central asia in the 19th century. entertaining and informative. helpful to have Google maps pulled up while listening as knowledge of the regions geography helps the listener better understand the challenges faced by the two militaries.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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history that reads like a novel

What did you love best about The Great Game?

The telling of the history in such an engaging way, by focusing on individuals and their roles

Who was your favorite character and why?

too many to mention. There's a succession of British explorers, tribal chieftains, Russians, all looking to win, basically, the game of thrones in central asia

What does Alex Wyndham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Wyndham was masterful in his telling. I felt like I was listening to an actual observer, somehow watching all from above. Voice, inflection, pauses & emphasis all perfect.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When 16,000 folks fled Kandahar for Jalalabad in winter. And only one, literally one, reached that fort.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ann
  • Virginia
  • 12-22-17

Desperately Needs a PDF Map of Region at the Time

Very interesting account of the history of Central Asia during the period of the struggle for influence and dominance by Great Britain and Russia, but almost impossible to visualize the many campaigns and treks without the help of a map! Been using Google Maps, but some of the landmark names have changed over the years, so it remains difficult to follow. Ideally there should be a few maps; both large and small scale, covering the regions of interest. Otherwise quite pleased with the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great stories!

narrator is great, the stories are great and really give you insight on what it was like to live and experience everything. not a lot of focus on the larger scale history so brush up on the context in other places if that's something you care about.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Intriguing subject but difficult to follow

Each of the many stories included in the book are suspenseful and fascinating. The trouble is that the stories seldom support the arc of the book's intended hi historical narrative.

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It reads like an amazing adventure story.

The characters are fantastic, but European and Central Asian and the interactions between them all was just fascinating. there's lots of physical heroism, though it gets a bit over the top in praise for the bravery of the Europeans. It's definitely British central, but the others are not caricatures. well written and well narrated.

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An extremely relevant look into a forgotten time

An extremely relevant look into a forgotten time in history. the author does a fantastic job of outlining both the individual exploits of those who played the game as well as developing a greater understanding of the geopolitical situation that existed between Russia and England during the period.