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A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Artemy M. Kalinovsky

ISBN 10: 0674058666 / ISBN 13: 9780674058668
Published by Harvard University Press
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Title: A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from ...

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition: New

About this title


The conflict in Afghanistan looms large in the collective consciousness of Americans. What has the United States achieved, and how will it withdraw without sacrificing those gains? The Soviet Union confronted these same questions in the 1980s, and Artemy Kalinovsky's history of the USSR's nine-year struggle to extricate itself from Afghanistan and bring its troops home provides a sobering perspective on exit options in the region. What makes Kalinovsky's intense account both timely and important is its focus not on motives for initiating the conflict but on the factors that prevented the Soviet leadership from ending a demoralizing war. Why did the USSR linger for so long, given that key elites recognized the blunder of the mission shortly after the initial deployment? Newly available archival material, supplemented by interviews with major actors, allows Kalinovsky to reconstruct the fierce debates among Soviet diplomats, KGB officials, the Red Army, and top Politburo figures. The fear that withdrawal would diminish the USSR's status as leader of the Third World is palpable in these disagreements, as are the competing interests of Afghan factions and the Soviet Union's superpower rival in the West. This book challenges many widely held views about the actual costs of the conflict to the Soviet leadership, and its findings illuminate the Cold War context of a military engagement that went very wrong, for much too long.


An original and important book that advances our knowledge of the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR.
--William C. Taubman, author of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era

A very impressive book on a timely topic. Kalinovsky tells the most complete story to date of Soviet decision-making about the Afghan war. He also challenges many widely held views about the actual costs to the Soviet leadership of the war and shows how Washington and Islamabad threw up obstacles that lengthened the conflict. Americans have been reluctant to look to the Soviet experience for potential lessons about Afghanistan, but this lucidly written book could be a most useful and thought-provoking primer.
--Robert Crews, author of For Prophet and Tsar: Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia

Kalinovsky has provided the only comprehensive and up-to-date discussion of the process leading to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. This clearly written book will be useful not only to historians, but to anyone who wants to understand the ongoing developments in Afghanistan and the issues surrounding Western disengagement.
--Antonio Giustozzi, author of Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field

A brilliant account of Soviet intervention and withdrawal from Afghanistan. Its relevance to the current experience of the U.S. is evident, but the value of this powerfully written work lies in its incisive analysis of military intervention as a mode of foreign policy and the abyss into which it led the Soviet Union. A Long Goodbye is essential reading that suggests valuable lessons for the last superpower standing.
--Marilyn B. Young, author of The Vietnam Wars 1945-1990

A well-written, nuanced account of the withdrawal of Soviet military forces from Afghanistan. Kalinovsky is particularly skillful in analyzing Soviet policymakers' calculations and in capturing the complexity of the Soviet-Afghan war. His attention to the post-withdrawal period brings in a crucial element of the story that has been omitted from almost all previous accounts.
--Mark Kramer, Director, Cold War Studies Program, Harvard University

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