Review: The March to Kandahar

For all discussions relating to the First and Second Afghan Wars of 1839-42 and 1878-80.

Review: The March to Kandahar

Postby thequestingvole » 01 Feb 2016 01:43

The March to Kandahar: Roberts in Afghanistan by Rodney Atwood is handsome perfect bound paperback of about 200 pages. In it the author describes the part played by Lord Frederick Roberts (famous from Kiplings poem "Bobs") in the Second Afghan War of 1878-80. The book begins with a brief summary of of the First Afghan War, the Indian Mutiny and the internecine struggles of the Afghan court prior to the war and continues with an outline of events prior to Roberts arrival. Where the book really hits its stride is in giving a pen picture of Roberts contradictory but often admirable character and in describing the desperate nature of the fighting in Afghanistan. The result is an approachable history which is accessible to the layman. Atwood also grapples with the thorny problem summary executions which dogged Roberts Afghan expedition and the opprobrium those attracted in the British press.

I did not come away with a definite understanding of where the author stood on this point, though he seemed to state the case fairly for both sites.

The author style is light and readable, combining the clarity of non-fiction with a novelists eye for detail and character.

Lastly, the maps provided are clear and have sufficient detail to allow the reader to follow the narrative scattered as it is with unfamiliar names and geography. I found it easier to follow the written account of battles by sketching the main features of the map on paper as I read. It saved me constantly flicking back and forth.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend it to any newcomer to the subject.
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