Soldiers of God CL

Roberet D. Kaplan, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $19.95 (258p) ISBN 978-0-395-52132-8
In this vivid, moody account of his travels with the ``holy warriors of Islam'' during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, freelance journalist Kaplan explains how the threadbare fighters of the Mujahidin Alliance (``a movement without rhetoric or ideology or even a supreme leader'') managed to defy and punish a fully equipped modern Soviet army from 1979 until its withdrawal 10 years later. He writes about individuals who represent varying attitudes toward the conflict: John Gunston, an adventurous British photographer and one of the rare Westerners on the scene ``not trying to prove himself''; the charismatic Ashnugar, guerrilla leader of a band of homeless boys; a Japanese businessman named Koshiro Tanaka who hoped to kill a Russian with his bare hands. Most exotic, and the central focus of the book, are the ferocious Pathan tribesmen, with their harsh and unforgiving culture, their profound disdain of women and their unambiguous code of honor ``free of subtleties and introspection and unaffected by the modern world.'' Photos. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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