[KINDLE] ❤ The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia ➜ Peter Hopkirk – Saudionline.co.uk

The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia summary The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia, series The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia, book The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia, pdf The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia, The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia 382f0d254a Hopkirk S Spellbinding Account Of The Great Imperial Struggle For Supremacy In Central Asia Has Been Hailed As Essential Reading With That Era S Legacy Playing Itself Out Today The Great Game Between Victorian Britain Tsarist Russia Was Fought Across Desolate Terrain From The Caucasus To China, Over The Lonely Passes Of The Parmirs Karakorams, In The Blazing Kerman Helmund Deserts, Thru The Caravan Towns Of The Old Silk Road Both Powers Scrambling To Control Access To The Riches Of India The East When Play First Began, The Frontiers Of Russia British India Lay Miles Apart By The End, This Distance Had Shrunk To Miles At Some Points Now, In The Vacuum Left By The Disintegration Of The USSR, There S 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 Treachery Thru The Actual Experiences Of Its Colorful Characters Based On Meticulous Scholarship On The Spot Research, This Is The History At The Core Of Today S Geopolitics


10 thoughts on “The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia

  1. says:

    It s a fabulous eastern action adventure full of the brave and resourceful 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 read A compelling narrative with fantastic material, I don t know why easterns aren t popular.


  2. says:

    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 read It is very rare 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 Asia.I found myself reading late into the 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 read 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 quote 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 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 all.The 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 and resourceful 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 ranges or of the Kerman and Helmund deserts nor of some of the fierce and warlike tribes that lived in these areas After reading this book I yearn for information about this region and I intend to buy the rest of Peter Hopkirk s books I would rate this book one of the better ones I have read covering this subject period.


  3. says:

    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, read 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 rage every time the damned Russians conquer another piece of Asia that rightfully 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 reflecting 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 Hopkirk constantly bemoans the Russian advance, he doesn t have much to say about Britian s imperial expansion in India the conquest 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 quick read, but truly disappointing.


  4. says:

    An excellent book charting the 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 hazardous region on behalf of their respective governments Slowly the region was absorbed by the imperial powers, with many a disastrous mishap on the way In particular, Afghanistan remained an intractable buffer between the two imperial giants A must for anyone who, like me, wants a concise history of imperial interference in this area.


  5. says:

    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 you read 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, rip roarin style that you find in colonial adventure stories late Victorian colonial adventure Basically, it s fun to read, in the way that Gunga Din is fun to watch Plus, it incorporates classic spy novel style as well The history he s trying to relate is in no way compromised by this writing style In fact, by using this style he takes an important tack that makes the book really sing By using that Victorian colonial adventure style, he gets you in the heads of the Brits and Russinas who were, in that day, reading all of this rip and run super adventure stuff It s really hard to understand the mentality of British soldiers in the late 19th Century, or even in WWI without recognizing that all of those guys grew up reading colonial adventure stories, which were very much like the Wild West novels of that day Think mid 40sWB cartoons if you re an American of a certain age They 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, he read them too , China and Central Asia Anyway, I admire the ability of an author to pull the reader back in to the minds of their protagonists and their contemporaries Plus, this style makes the book read like a cheap titillating novel This is one fast read considering the breadth of the work.A bit about the content of the book might be useful after all of my bombination on style The Great Game relates 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 race 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 regions 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 re reading of the fate of Arthur Conolly repeatedly, 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 Queen Victoria who wore out his welcome Conolly and Stoddart, whose plight had been all but forgotten in the wake of the Kabul catastrophe, were, he reported, both dead It had happened , he said, back in June, when Britain s reputation as a power to be feared in Central Asia was at rock bottom Furious at receiving no reply to his personal letter to Queen Victoria, and no longer worried by any fear of retribution, 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 square 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 renounce Christianity and embrace Islam Aware that Stoddart s forcible conversion had not saved him from imprisonment and death Conolly, a devout Christian, replied Colonel Stoddart has been a Musselman for three years and you have killed him I will not become one, and I am ready to die He then stretched out his neck for the executioner and a moment later his head rolled in the dust with that of his friend The 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 radar 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 libertines.Also, super relevant 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 region There s a lot of unknown knowledge in this area and it s pretty fun to read about it before it s been totally containerized.Highly recommended for people who are trying to figure out why and how the US is in Afghanistan the why how of the Soviet invasion in 1980, the upcoming Great Game in Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, Turkistan, Uzbekistan.


  6. says:

    In 1236 Mongol hordes swept west 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 rival European empires became the Great Game , played out in Central Asia during the 1800 s.In the late 18th century, the British were concerned with Catherine the Great s expansion into Crimea, but distracted by the rise 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 Road.Author 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 region Henry Pottinger, in Muslim disquise, explored from Baluchistan to Isfahan in 1810 He later played a leading role in the Opium War, Treaty of Nanking, and founding of Hong Kong Alexander Burnes, made an overland reconnaissance in 1831, tracing the Indus River and crossing the Khyber Pass to Kabul He became famous during his lifetime for the book Travels Into Bukhara.A Russian treaty with the Ottoman Empire for control of 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 further strained Russian relations with Britain The 1860 s US civil war raised Russian interests in Central Asian cotton, and Tashkent was taken Soon Samarkand fell Spies like Frederick Burnaby rode to Khiva in the 1870 s Russia planned rails in Central Asia as the British seized the Suez Canal in the 1880 s Francis Younghusband would invade Tibet in the early 1900 s.Hopkirk was a late 20th century British writer, perhaps best known for this work He began as a journalist on risky assignments in Africa and the Mideast Widely traveled, he was a collector of Victorian books on the subjects he covered All of his books were on 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 balanced view towards other players The writing is unpretentious and clear, if somewhat oversimplified and at times given to cliche.


  7. says:

    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, researching the characters, marking the bibliography for further literature to read What can one want A wonderful book.


  8. says:

    First things first, it is an engaging read, with just the correct amount of detail and narrative punch.Covering a time period 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 his readers.However, what took me aback was the language and propaganda used throughout the book, which is suitable for something written in the heady days of Imperialism in the 1870s and 1880s, rather than a book published in 1990 Consider for example when Hopkirk talks about the meeting between the British spy diplomat emissary 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 treachery, right from childhood This is shockingly irresponsible, all the so, because we know it was Alexander Burnes who was intriguing for the Raj in Afghanistan.The book is extremely lopsided, using loaded terms such as Asiatic despot and Oriental tyrant with depressing regularity, and presenting all Asian rulers right 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 resourceful Europeans While this was true of many of them, to simply state this without exploring the kind of military, political and even cultural and religious pressure that the Europeans could bring to bear is very misleading Even the repetitive stating of the fact that many of the Central Asian chiefs had a misguided sense of their own importance and no idea about Britain, Russia and their relative strengths smacks of ridicule after a while, which is bizarre coming from a historian specializing in these subjects.It appears that Hopkirk has swallowed the propaganda, of that age, whole He even goes so far as to explain away naked Russian imperialism and racism 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 revenge for the trauma suffered by the Europeans thanks to Hannibal Similarly, the well documented murder, rape 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 rage when news of what would now be termed human rights 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 conquering 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 lives, there is a characteristic lack of any Asian names, and even the name of the contemporary Shahs is never mentioned while all the Tsars are Hopkirk tries to take neither the British or Russian side, but there is not a single note on what the Indians, Persians or other Asians thought or think about the Great Game, supposedly for whose benefit it was played.What is crippling in this book is that Hopkirk fails to see this period with a modern eye While it isn t necessary that all periods of history should be critically re looked at, Hopkirk does a serious misjudgment here, because this book serves as a salve to Western readers who still think that Europeans did a jolly good job with their Empires as is evident in this book s popularity, right here on Goodreads It also doesn t help that Peter Hopkirk unabashedly hero worships questionable characters such as Alexander Burnes who are directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths, rape and imprisonment of thousands.Bottomline Engaing read, if you can overcome the fact that Peter Hopkirk has distinctly one dimensional and outdated views.


  9. says:

    I liked this a lot, although I think the relevance to events today has been overplayed a bit by some other reviewers it s better enjoyed as a stirring history than a political primer.I 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 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 whose rulers were befriended, betrayed, and played off one another by the two major powers in an attempt to win influence and ascendancy in the area.It would take a hard hearted reader 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 quilted 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 necessarily somewhat episodic, with rather little of the political background filled in but on the whole, the episodes are so extraordinary that it s hard to mind too much.I 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 records on the Russian side have now become available Until then, it s a great primer on a fascinating period of imperial history.


  10. says:

    This book exposed me to a geopolitical legacy of my country that I would have otherwise never heard about.Yes that was the british administered Raj s Government of India but Geopolitical realities rarely change with the ethnicity of those in power.Especially liked the chapter The lion of Tashkent , I love it when Russians win.


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