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Central Asia

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  1. 24.2 hrs • 9/1/2015 • Unabridged

    From an acclaimed historian comes this definitive biography of the great conqueror Genghis Khan. Mongol leader Genghis Khan was by far the greatest conqueror the world has ever known. His empire stretched from the Pacific Ocean to central Europe, including all of China, the Middle East, and Russia. So how did an illiterate nomad rise to such colossal power and subdue most of the known world, eclipsing Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon? Credited by some with paving the way for the Renaissance, condemned by others for being the most heinous murderer in history, who was Genghis Khan? His actual name was Temujin, and the story of his success is that of the Mongol people: a loose collection of fractious tribes who tended livestock, considered bathing taboo, and possessed an unparalleled genius for horseback warfare. United under Genghis, a strategist of astonishing cunning and versatility, they could dominate any sedentary society they chose. Combining fast-paced accounts of battles with rich cultural background and the latest scholarship, Frank McLynn brings vividly to life the strange world of the Mongols, describes Temujin’s rise from boyhood outcast to becoming Genghis Khan, and provides the most accurate and absorbing account yet of one of the most powerful men ever to have lived.

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    Genghis Khan by Frank McLynn

    Genghis Khan

    24.2 hrs • 9/1/15 • Unabridged
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  2. 14.4 hrs • 11/5/2013 • Unabridged

    A character-driven history that describes the bizarrely ill-suited alliance between America and Pakistan, written by a uniquely insightful participant: Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US The relationship between America and Pakistan is based on mutual incomprehension, and always has been. Pakistan—to American eyes—has gone from being a stabilizing friend to an essential military ally to a seedbed of terror. America—to Pakistani eyes—has been a guarantee of security, a coldly distant scold, an enthusiastic military supplier and ally, and now a threat to national security and a source of humiliation. In their sixty-five year relationship, one country has become a global superpower, the other perilously close to a failed state—perhaps one of the most dangerous places in the world. Husain Haqqani has a unique insight into Pakistan, his homeland, and America, where he was the Pakistani ambassador and is now a professor at Boston University. His life has mapped the relationship of Pakistan and America, and he has found himself often close to the heart of it—sometimes in very confrontational circumstances, even under house arrest—which has allowed him to write the story of the two countries’ turbulent affair, here memorably laid bare.

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    Magnificent Delusions by Husain Haqqani

    Magnificent Delusions

    14.4 hrs • 11/5/13 • Unabridged
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    14.7 hrs • 11/27/2012 • Unabridged

    Today, most Westerners still see the war in Afghanistan as a contest between democracy and Islamist fanaticism. That war is real, but it sits atop an older struggle between Kabul and the countryside, between order and chaos, between a modernist impulse to join the world and the pull of an older Afghanistan—a tribal universe of village republics permeated by Islam. Now, Tamim Ansary draws on his Afghan background, Muslim roots, and Western and Afghan sources to explain history from the inside out and illuminate the long, internal struggle that the outside world has never fully understood. It is the story of a nation struggling to take form, a nation undermined by its own demons while, every forty to sixty years, a great power crashes in and disrupts whatever progress has been made. Told in conversational, storytelling style and focusing on key events and personalities, Games without Rules provides revelatory insight into a country at the center of political debate.

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    Games without Rules by Tamim Ansary

    Games without Rules

    14.7 hrs • 11/27/12 • Unabridged
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  4. 6.3 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war—a rare achievement for any Afghan woman—Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban. Former ABC Newsreporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon spent years on the ground reporting Kamila's story, and the result is an unusually intimate and unsanitized look at the daily lives of women in Afghanistan. These women are not victims; they are the glue that holds families together; they are the backbone and the heart of their nation. Afghanistan's future remains uncertain as debates over withdrawal timelines dominate the news. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana moves beyond the headlines to transport you to an Afghanistan you have never seen before. This is a story of war, but it is also a story of sisterhood and resilience in the face of despair. Kamila Sidiqi's journey will inspire you, but it will also change the way you think about one of the most important political and humanitarian issues of our time.

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    The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

    6.3 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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  5. 10.0 hrs • 1/20/2009 • Unabridged

    The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a grueling debacle that has striking lessons for American foreign policy today. In The Great Gamble, Gregory Feifer examines the war from the perspective of the soldiers on the ground. During the last years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union sent some of its most elite troops to unfamiliar lands in Central Asia to fight a vaguely defined enemy, which eventually defeated their superior number with unconventional tactics. Although the Soviet leadership initially saw the invasion as a victory, many Russian soldiers came to view the war as a demoralizing and devastating defeat, the consequences of which had a substantial impact on the Soviet Union and its collapse.  Feifer’s extensive research includes fascinating interviews with participants from both sides of the conflict. In gripping detail, he vividly depicts the invasion of a volatile country that no power has ever successfully conquered. Parallels between the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are impossible to ignore: Both conflicts were waged amid vague ideological rhetoric about freedom. Both were roundly condemned by the outside world for trying to impose their favored forms of government on countries with very different ways of life. And both seem destined to end on uncertain terms. The Great Gamble tells an unforgettable story full of drama, action, and political intrigue whose relevance in our own time is greater than ever.

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    The Great Gamble

    10.0 hrs • 1/20/09 • Unabridged
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    8.4 hrs • 5/1/2008 • Unabridged

    For the US Navy’s elite team of SEALs, the mission seemed straightforward enough: take control of a towering, 10,240-foot mountain peak called Takur Ghar, a key post in their plan to smash Taliban al Qaeda in eastern Afghanistan. But the enemy was waiting, and when the Special Forces chopper was shredded by enemy fire, a red-haired SEAL named Neil Roberts was thrown from the aircraft. Roberts’ fellow SEALs were determined to bring him out—no matter what the cost. This harrowing true account captures in dramatic detail their seventeen-hour battle, fought against near-impossible odds, to save one of their own. This is a gripping you-are-there account based on stunning eyewitness testimony and painstaking research by journalist Malcolm MacPherson.

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    Roberts Ridge by Malcolm MacPherson

    Roberts Ridge

    8.4 hrs • 5/1/08 • Unabridged
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  7. 15.0 hrs • 10/1/2006 • Unabridged

    A National Public Radio reporter covering the last stand of the Taliban in their home base of Kandahar in Afghanistan’s southern borderland, Sarah Chayes became deeply immersed in the unfolding drama of the attempt to rebuild a broken nation at the crossroads of the world’s destiny. In 2002 she left reporting to help turn the country’s fortunes, accepting a job running a nonprofit founded by President Hamid Karzai’s brother. With remarkable access to leading players in the postwar government, Chayes witnessed a tragic story unfold—the perverse turn of events whereby the U.S. government and armed forces allowed and abetted the return to power of corrupt militia commanders to the country, as well as the reinfiltration of bands of Taliban forces supported by U.S. ally Pakistan. This is an eyeopening chronicle that highlights the often infuriating realities of a vital front in the war on terror, exposing deeper, fundamental problems with current U.S. strategy.

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    The Punishment of Virtue

    15.0 hrs • 10/1/06 • Unabridged
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  8. 20.4 hrs • 6/25/2005 • Unabridged

    Charlie Wilson’s War is the untold story of the last battle of the Cold War and how it fueled the rise of militant Islam. Charlie Wilson, a maverick congressman from east Texas, conspired with a rogue CIA operative to launch the biggest, meanest, and most successful covert operation in the Agency’s history. In the early 1980s, after a Houston socialite turned Wilson’s attention to the ragged Afghan freedom fighters who continued to fight the Soviet invaders despite overwhelming odds, the congressman became passionate about their cause and procured hundreds of millions of dollars to support the mujahideen. The arms were secretly procured and distributed with the help of an out-of-favor CIA operative, Gust Avrokotos, whose working-class Greek-American background made him an anomaly among the Ivy League world of American spies. Avrakotos handpicked a staff of CIA outcasts to run his operation and, with their help, continually stretched the Agency’s rules to the breaking point. Moving from the back rooms of the Capitol, to secret chambers at Langley, to arms-dealers conventions, to the Khyber Pass, Charlie Wilson’s War is a detailed and brilliantly reported account of the inside workings of the CIA.

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    Charlie Wilson’s War by George Crile

    Charlie Wilson’s War

    20.4 hrs • 6/25/05 • Unabridged
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  9. 14.6 hrs • 8/1/2002 • Unabridged

    For over 2,500 years, the forbidding territory of Afghanistan has served as a vital crossroads not only for armies but also for clashes between civilizations. As the United States engages in armed conflict with the Afghan regime, an understanding of the military history of that blood-soaked land has become essential to every American. Alexander the Great conquered Afghanistan on his way to India. Later, because of its strategic location with the Silk Road passing through it, Afghanistan was invaded by Arabs, Mongols, and Tartars. Great Britain tried—and failed—to add Afghanistan to its Indian empire, while Russia tried to expand into the same embattled land. Afghanistan once again fought and defeated a secular government in the face of rising Islamic resistance. Now, America faces a new enemy on this land that has become, over the centuries, the graveyard of empires past.

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    Afghanistan by Stephen Tanner

    Afghanistan

    14.6 hrs • 8/1/02 • Unabridged
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  10. 11.1 hrs • 3/1/2002 • Unabridged

    In this enormously insightful book, correspondent Ahmed Rashid brings the shadowy world of the Taliban, the world’s most extreme and radical Islamic organization, into sharp focus. He explains the Taliban’s rise to power; its impact on Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Central Asia; its role in oil and gas company decisions; and the effects of changing American attitudes toward the Taliban. He also describes the new face of Islamic fundamentalism and explains why Afghanistan has become the world center for international terrorism.

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    Taliban by Ahmed Rashid

    Taliban

    11.1 hrs • 3/1/02 • Unabridged
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