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⇕ Best Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42 to read ⦴ Book Author William Dalrymple ⧍

⇕ Best Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42 to read ⦴ Book Author William Dalrymple ⧍ ⇕ Best Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42 to read ⦴ Book Author William Dalrymple ⧍ Excerpted from the hardcover edition.1No Easy Place to RuleThe year 1809 opened auspiciously for Shah Shuja ul Mulk It was now March, the very beginning of that brief Afghan spring, and the pulse was slowly returning to the veins of the icy landscape long clotted with drifts of waist high snow Now the small, sweet smelling Istalif irises were pushing their way through the frozen ground, the frosted rime on the trunks of the deodars was running to snowmelt, and the Ghilzai nomads were unlatching their fat tailed sheep from the winter pens, breaking down their goat hair tents and readying the flocks for the first of the spring migrations to the new grass of the high pastures It was just then, at that moment of thaw and sap, that Shah Shuja received two pieces of good newssomething of a rarity in his troubled reign.1The first concerned the recovery of some lost family property The largest diamond in the world, the Koh i Nur, or Mountain of Light, had been missing for than a decade, but such was the turbulence of the times that no attempt had been made to find it Shah Zaman, Shujas elder brother and predecessor on the throne of Afghanistan, was said to have hidden the gem shortly before being captured and blinded by his enemies A huge Indian ruby known as the Fakhraj, the familys other most precious gem, had also disappeared at the same time.So Shah Shuja summoned his blind brother and questioned him on the whereabouts of their fathers most famous jewels was it really true that he knew where they were hidden Shah Zaman revealed that nine years earlier he had hidden the Fakhraj under a rock in a stream near the Khyber Pass, shortly before being taken prisoner Later, he had slipped the Koh i Nur into a crack in the wall of the fortress cell where he was first seized and bound A court historian later recorded, Shah Shuja immediately dispatched a few of his most trustworthy men to find these two gems and advised them that they should leave no stone unturned in their efforts They found the Koh i Nur with a Shinwari sheikh who in his ignorance was using it as a paperweight for his official papers As for the Fakhraj, they found it with a Talib, a student, who had uncovered it when he went to a stream to wash his clothes They impounded both gems and brought them back in the kings service.2The second piece of news, about the arrival of an embassy from a previously hostile neighbour, was potentially of practical use to the Shah At the age of only twenty four, Shuja was now in the seventh year of his reign By temperament a reader and a thinker, interested in poetry and scholarship than in warfare or campaigning, it was his fate to have inherited, while still an adolescent, the far flung Durrani Empire That empire, founded by his grandfather Ahmad Shah Abdali, had been built out of the collapse of three other Asian empires the Uzbeks to the north, the Mughals to the south and to the west the Safavids of Persia It had originally extended from Nishapur in modern Iran through Afghanistan, Baluchistan, the Punjab and Sindh to Kashmir and the threshold of Mughal Delhi But now, only thirty years after his grandfathers death, the Durrani Empire was itself already well on its way to disintegration.There was, in fact, nothing very surprising about this Considering its very ancient history, Afghanistanor Khurasan, as the Afghans have called the lands of this region for the two last millenniahad had but a few hours of political or administrative unity.3 Far often it had been the places in betweenthe fractured and disputed stretch of mountains, floodplains and deserts separating its orderly neighbours At other times its provinces formed the warring extremities of rival, clashing empires Only very rarely did its parts happen to come together to attain any sort of coherent state in its own right.Everything had always conspired against its rise the geography and topography and especially the great stony skeleton of the Hindu Kush, the black rubble of its scalloped and riven slopes standing out against the ice etched, snow topped ranges which divided up the country like the bones of a massive rocky ribcage.Then there were the different tribal, ethnic and linguistic fissures fragmenting Afghan society the rivalry between the Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras and the Durrani and Ghilzai Pashtuns the schism between Sunni and Shia the endemic factionalism within clans and tribes, and especially the blood feuds within closely related lineages These blood feuds rolled malevolently down from generation to generation, symbols of the impotence of state run systems of justice In many places blood feuds became almost a national pastimethe Afghan equivalent of county cricket in the English shiresand the killings they engendered were often on a spectacular scale Under the guise of reconciliation, one of Shah Shujas chiefs invited some sixty of his feuding cousins to dine with him, wrote one observer, having previously laid bags of gunpowder under the apartment During the meal, having gone out on some pretext, he blew them all up A country like this could be governed only with skill, strategy and a full treasure chest.So when at the beginning of 1809 messengers arrived from the Punjab bearing news of an East India Company Embassy heading north from Delhi seeking an urgent alliance with him, Shah Shuja had good reason to be pleased In the past the Company had been a major problem for the Durranis, for its well disciplined sepoy armies had made impossible the lucrative raids down onto the plains of Hindustan which for centuries had been a principal source of Afghan income Now it seemed that the Company wished to woo the Afghans the Shahs newswriters wrote to him that the Embassy had already crossed the Indus, en route to his winter capital of Peshawar This not only offered some respite from the usual round of sieges, arrests and punitive expeditions, it potentially provided Shuja with a powerful allysomething he badly needed There had never been a British Embassy to Afghanistan before, and the two peoples were almost unknown to each other, so the Embassy had the additional benefit of novelty We appointed servants of the royal court known for their refinement and good manners to go to meet them, wrote Shah Shuja in his memoirs, and ordered them to take charge of hospitality, and to treat them judiciously, with caution and politeness.4Reports reaching Shah Shuja indicated that the British were coming laden with gifts elephants with golden howdahs, a palanquin with a high parasol, gold inlaid guns and ingenious pistols with six chambers, never seen before expensive clocks, binoculars, fine mirrors capable of reflecting the world as it is diamond studded lamps, porcelain vases and utensils with gold embedded work from Rome and China tree shaped candelabra, and other such beautiful and expensive gifts whose brilliance the imagination falls short in describing.5 Years later Shuja remembered one present that particularly delighted him a large box producing noises like voices, strange sounds in a range of timbres, harmonies and melodies, most pleasing to the ear.6 The Embassy had brought Afghanistan its first organ.Shah Shujas autobiography is silent as to whether he suspected these British bearing gifts But by the time he came to write it in late middle age, he was well aware that the alliance he was about to negotiate would change the course of his own life, and that of Afghanistan, for ever.The real reason behind the despatch of this first British Embassy to Afghanistan lay far from both India and the passes of the Hindu Kush Its origins had nothing to do with Shah Shuja, the Durrani Empire or even the intricate princely politics of Hindustan Instead its causes could be traced to north eastern Prussia, and a raft floating in the middle of the River Neman.Here, eighteen months earlier, Napoleon, at the very peak of his power, had met the Russian Emperor, Alexander II, to negotiate a peace treaty The meeting followed the Russian defeat at the Battle of Friedland on 14 June 1807, when Napoleons artillery had left 25,000 Russians dead on the battlefield It was a severe loss, but the Russians had been able to withdraw to their frontier in good order Now the two armies faced each other across the meandering oxbows of the Neman, with the Russian forces reinforced by two new divisions, and a further 200,000 militiamen waiting nearby on the shores of the Baltic.The stalemate was broken when the Russians were informed that Napoleon wished not only for peace, but for an alliance On 7 July, on a raft surmounted by a white classical pavilion emblazoned with a large monogrammed N, the two emperors met in person to negotiate a treaty later known as the Peace of Tilsit.7Most of the clauses in the treaty concerned the question of war and peacenot for nothing was the first volume of Tolstoys great novel named Before Tilsit Much of the discussion concerned the fate of French occupied Europe, especially the future of Prussia whose king, excluded from the meeting, paced anxiously up and down the river bank waiting to discover if he would still have a kingdom after the conclave concluded But amid all the public articles of the treaty, Napoleon included several secret clauses that were not disclosed at the time These laid the foundations for a joint Franco Russian attack on what Napoleon saw as the source of Britains wealth This, of course, was his enemys richest possession, India.The seizure of India as a means of impoverishing Britain and breaking its growing economic power had been a long standing obsession of Napoleons, as of several previous French strategists Almost exactly nine years earlier, on 1 July 1798, Napoleon had landed his troops at Alexandria and struck inland for Cairo Through Egypt we shall invade India, he wrote We shall re establish the old route through Suez From Cairo he sent a letter to Tipu Sultan of Mysore, answering the latters pleas for help against the English You have already been informed of my arrival on the borders of the Red Sea, with an invincible army, full of the desire of releasing you from the iron yoke of England May the Almighty increase your power, and destroy your enemies 8At the Battle of the Nile on 1 August, however, Admiral Nelson sank almost the entire French fleet, wrecking Napoleons initial plan to use Egypt as a secure base from which to attack India This forced him to change his strategy but he never veered from his aim of weakening Britain by seizing what he believed to be the source of its economic power, much as Latin America with its Inca and Aztec gold had once been that of Spain.So Napoleon now hatched plans to attack India through Persia and Afghanistan A treaty with the Persian Ambassador had already been concluded Should it be the intention of HM the Emperor of the French to send an army by land to attack the English possessions in India, it stated, HM the Emperor of Persia, as his good and faithful ally, will grant him passage.At Tilsit, the secret clauses spelled out the plan in full Napoleon would emulate Alexander the Great and march 50,000 French troops of the Grande Arme across Persia to invade India, while Russia would head south through Afghanistan General Gardane was despatched to Persia to liaise with the Shah and find out which ports could provide anchorage, water and supplies for 20,000 men, and to draw up maps of possible invasion routes Meanwhile, General Caulaincourt, Napoleons Ambassador to St Petersburg, was instructed to take the idea forward with the Russians The fanciful it sounds, wrote the Emperor, the the attempt to do it and what can France and Russia not do would frighten the English striking terror into English India, spreading confusion in London and, to be sure, forty thousand Frenchmen to whom Persia will have granted passage by way of Constantinople, joining forty thousand Russians who arrive by way of the Caucasus, would be enough to terrify Asia, and make its conquest.9But the British were not caught unawares The secret service had hidden one of their informers, a disillusioned Russian aristocrat, beneath the barge, his ankles dangling in the river Braving the cold, he was able to hear every word and sent an immediate express, containing the outlines of the plan, to London It took British intelligence only a further six weeks to obtain the exact wording of the secret clauses, and these were promptly forwarded to India With them went instructions for the Governor General, Lord Minto, to warn all the countries lying between India and Persia of the dangers in which they stood, and to negotiate alliances with them to oppose any French or Franco Russian expedition against India The different embassies were also instructed to collect strategic information and intelligence, so filling in the blank spaces on British maps of these regions Meanwhile, reinforcements would be held in readiness in England for despatch to India should there be signs of an expedition being ready to sail from the French ports.10Lord Minto did not regard Napoleons plan as fanciful A French invasion of India through Persia was not beyond the scope of that energy and perseverance which distinguish the present ruler of France, he wrote as he finalised plans to counter the very active French diplomacy in Persia, which is seeking with great diligence the means of extending its intrigues to the Durbars of Hindustan.11In the end Minto opted for four separate embassies, each of which would be sent with lavish presents in order to warn and win over the powers that stood in the way of Napoleons armies One was sent to Teheran in an effort to impress upon Fatteh Ali Shah Qajar of Persia the perfidiousness of his new French ally Another was despatched to Lahore to make an alliance with Ranjit Singh and the Sikhs A third was despatched to the Amirs of Sindh The job of wooing Shah Shuja and his Afghans fell to a rising young star in the Companys service, Mountstuart Elphinstone.Elphinstone was a Lowland Scot, who in his youth had been a notable Francophile He had grown up alongside French prisoners of war in Edinburgh Castle, of which his father was governor, and there he had learned their revolutionary songs and had grown his curly golden hair down his back in the Jacobin style to show his sympathy with their ideals.12 Sent off to India at the unusually young age of fourteen to keep him out of trouble, he had learned good Persian, Sanskrit and Hindustani, and soon turned into an ambitious diplomat and a voracious historian and scholar.Praise for William Dalrymples Return of a KingBrilliant The fullest and most powerful description of the Wests first encounter with Afghan society The New York Times Book ReviewMagnificent Dalrymples histories read like novels This latest book delights and shocks The Wall Street JournalMasterful Dalrymple makes an important contribution by including recently discovered Afghan accounts of the war The Washington Post At once deeply researched and beautifully paced, Return of a King should win every prize for which its eligible BookforumWith skill and deep humanity, Dalrymple seeks contemporary lessons in Britains disastrous nineteenth century invasion The New York Times Book Review Editors Choice A serious work of history that expands our understanding of the war of 1839 42 by drawing on sources found in Russia, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, many never before translated into English Newsday Arguably the most important work in Dalrymple s impressive oeuvre If context is important, reading Dalrymple is paramount The Sunday Guardian London A masterful history And as the latest occupying force in Afghanistan negotiates its exit, this chronicle seems all too relevant now The Economist In Return of a King, Dalrymple has done again what he did magnificently for two other telling episodes of British imperial history in White Mughals 2002 and The Last Mughal 2006 Dalrymple has a narrative gift The Huffington Post A thrilling, amusing and educational three track tour de force, relevant to today and even the immediate future Pittsburgh Post Gazette Definitive Return of a King is not just a riveting account of one imperial disaster on the roof of the world it teaches unforgettable lessons about the perils of neocolonial adventures everywhere Literary Review A major contribution to the historiography of south west Asia and of the British empire Return of a King will come to be seen as the definitive account of the first and most disastrous western attempt to invade Afghanistan New Statesman Complex and remarkable As taut and richly embroidered as a great novel This book is a masterpiece of nuanced writing and research, and a thrilling account of a watershed Victorian conflict The Sunday Telegraph London Dalrymple is a master storyteller, whose special gift lies in the use of indigenous sources, so often neglected by imperial chroniclers Almost every page of Dalrymples splendid narrative echoes with latter day reverberations The Sunday Times London Few writers could go wrong with a story populated with so many villains, rogues, poltroons, swashbucklers, spies, assassins and heroes But none would make a better job of it than William Dalrymple in this thrilling, magnificently evocative Return of a King Mail on Sunday London Marvelous Brilliant, exact language There is much in Dalrymples superb book that has contemporary resonance Sunday Herald 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 This is clear eyed, non judgmental, sober history, beautifully told The Observer London Sensationally good Dalrymple writes the kind of history that few historians can match The Scotsman An absorbing and beautifully written account of a doomed effort to control an apparently uncontrollably population A saga that makes for marvelous storytelling, filled with heroes, knaves, incompetent fools, and savage, bloodthirsty warriors It has been told often before but perhaps never so well as by Dalrymple Booklist starred Return On Investment ROI Definition Investopedia Return on is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or compare number different investments Ford Models Founded in by its namesakes, Eileen and Jerry Ford, FORD Models pioneered new kind global industry based beauty Starting out their New York City home, established company brand that launched defined modeling as agency renowned for innovating model management, America s Most Biblically Hostile U S President 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are largest fastest growing employee owned supermarket chain United States successful because we committed making shopping pleasure at our stores while striving be premier quality food retailer world This site provides wide range information Arizona Corporation Commission Utilities Division Our responsibility regulate utilities Arizona set rates just, fair, reasonable all stakeholders Of Kings masculine men The film fountain old school red pill truths wrapped up hilarious comedic package Two luxury retreats, Centreville, Md Oyster Bay, NY where Russian diplomats have gone decades play tennis, sail swim, were shut down ObamaWilliam Dalrymple William FRSL, FRGS, FRAS born Hamilton March Scottish historian writer, art curator, well prominent broadcaster critic The Last Mughal Fall Dynasty Delhi, FREE shipping qualifying offers In evocative study fall Empire beginning Raj, award winning uses previously undiscovered sources investigate pivotal moment last emperor East India Company original 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resources Svbtle Svbtle A blogging platform designed think sign writing reading network ground work same way brain does It helps curate ideas includes everything develop publish thoughts Hutchins, T Hutchinson, Per Hillsborough HUTCHINS, WilliamPer Adamant, list convicts disembarked Adamant forwarded Parramatta distribution Reel p Louis XIV France and, Great Britain, Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42

 

    • Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42
    • 2.2
    • 126
    • Format Kindle
    • 560 pages
    • 0307948536
    • William Dalrymple
    • Anglais
    • 19 October 2017

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